NFL Hall of Fame gives former Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo love, but no yes votes

By Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange  |  April 5, 2017 at 4:43 PM
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Based on input from more than half the Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo should have a better chance of winning an Emmy in his new job with CBS television than he does getting a Gold Jacket.

For those just returning from interplanetary travel, the big sports news Tuesday was that, after making Romo available for workouts and discussions for all NFL teams Monday, the Cowboys released him. Almost simultaneously, CBS announced Romo will be their lead football analyst alongside Jim Nantz.

So, looking at this in terms of Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion, rookie quarterback Dak Prescott moved in as the Cowboys' starting quarterback last season and Romo moved out. Now Romo moves in as CBS TV's lead NFL analyst and Phil Simms moves somewhere yet to be determined.

But the topic here is Romo's chances of becoming a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Based on influence from what may be current political parlance, the operative word is nyet.

The very popular and likeable Romo played 14 seasons with Dallas after they signed him as an undrafted rookie out of Eastern Illinois in 2003. After serving as a backup, Romo replaced Drew Bledsoe as the starter for an Oct. 29 Sunday Night game against the Carolina Panthers and he led Dallas to a 35-14 victory.

Prescott took over last season after Romo endured numerous injuries and had three back surgeries. Romo leaves football with a record of 78-49 as a regular-season starter and 2-4 in the post-season, with both victories in wild-card games. His career stats show 4,335 passes, 2,829 completions (65.3 percent), 34,183 yards with 248 touchdown passes and 117 interceptions.

His likeability factor was over the top, even when confronted by the inevitability of losing his job to a rookie last season.

But the Hall of Fame is a tough team to make, as it should be.

In a survey by The Sports Xchange, Romo did not receive a single yes vote from 26 selectors -- including this one -- who responded when asked if Romo will be a Hall of Famer. He is not actually eligible for consideration for five years after retirement.

Three selectors were undecided and look forward to discussing Romo when he is eligible. Another three who voted no are interested in hearing the discussion in five years. Some votes and responses were on the record, others totally off the record.

"So many guys will end this era with better numbers and more significant January resumes," wrote Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Monday Morning Quarterback. "How many players from one position can make the Hall from one era? The five-year period takes the emotion and knee-jerk out of this, or it should."

Ira Miller of The sports Xchange was more direct, as usual.

"No!" he began. "Or, shall I say, he shouldn't be? Among the quarterbacks of the last decade, I couldn't put him ahead of (Tom) Brady, (Aaron) Rodgers, (Drew) Brees, Peyton (Manning), perhaps others. Then he gets into a wide group of pretty good quarterbacks who I would separate on how much better they made their team. Hall of very good, much of the time."

Vito Stellino, from Jacksonville, expanded on that.

"The only thing that would make me consider him is if he returns to football after flaming out at CBS (what are they thinking about making him the lead guy with no experience) and wins two Super Bowls," Stellino stated. "This is a guy who never won anything and passed for fewer yards than Steve DeBerg, Jim Everett, Matt Hasselbeck, (Donovan) McNabb, Boomer (Esiason). ... (Dave) Krieg!!! Kerry Collins and Vinny Testaverde.

"He will be remembered because he played for the Cowboys. It shows the enduring legacy of what (Tex) Schramm and (Tom) Landry built -- 20 winning seasons in a row and five Super Bowl appearances. The Cowboys are still living off the legacy they built."

Romo's association with the popular Cowboys was an oft-mentioned theme, as well as appreciation for the great guy he is and his admirable ascent to NFL stardom from being an undrafted rookie from a small school.

But not all selectors treated the situation with kid gloves.

Ron Borges, from Boston, doubles as a damned good football and boxing writer and is not averse to taking on a fight, or starting one.

"Not with my vote," Borges snapped when asked about Romo's chances of getting into the Hall of Fame. "He was 2-4 in playoffs. Big hat, no cattle. Eli Manning, two-time SB MVP isn't a HOFer, so why is this guy?"

Thanks Ron, but the Eli debate isn't on the fight card -- yet.

--Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, is in his sixth decade covering football and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

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