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Romo Has a Record-Breaking Day, but Not in a Good Way

No Tebowing in Dallas, but if there were Romoing, it would look something like this.

Tony Romo set a record for passing attempts on Sunday against the Giants and came close to setting a few more. However, nobody will want to remember these numbers. The stat line was as follows:

  • 62 attempts (team record)
  • 36 completions (2nd highest total in team history)
  • 437 yards (3rd highest total in team history)
  • 4 interceptions (tied for the second highest total in team history)
  • 22,907 career yards (now the second highest total in team history, surpassing Roger Staubach)

It stands to reason that the Cowboys have not fared well when quarterbacks have thrown multiple interceptions. However, in the history of the Cowboys, days with big passing yards have also been bad.  Consider these statistics:


Only three Dallas quarterbacks have had at least 50 passing attempts in a game. This includes Romo, Troy Aikman, and Vinny Testaverde. The Cowboys’ record in those games: 1-7. Here’s a look:

Rk Player Age Date Opp Result Att ?
1 Tony Romo 32-190 2012-10-28 NYG L 24-29 62
2 Troy Aikman* 32-005 1998-11-26 MIN L 36-46 57
3 Tony Romo 29-229 2009-12-06 NYG L 24-31 55
4 Troy Aikman* 31-023 1997-12-14 CIN L 24-31 53
5 Troy Aikman* 30-318 1997-10-05 NYG L 17-20 52
6 Tony Romo 30-151 2010-09-19 CHI L 20-27 51
7 Tony Romo 27-170 2007-10-08 BUF W 25-24 50
8 Vinny Testaverde 40-304 2004-09-12 MIN L 17-35 50
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/29/2012.


Romo is the only Cowboys quarterback with at least 36 completions in a single game. He holds the team record with 41, set in 2009 against the Giants. The result in both games? Losses, of course.

This is the fifth time that Romo has completed at least 34 passes. His record in those games is 1-4. Aikman completed 34 passes twice and lost both games. Jon Kitna completed 34 passes in 2010, and the Cowboys lost.


Romo, Aikman, and Don Meredith are each on the list of QBs with 400 yards passing in a game. Their combined record: 1-4.

Rk Player Age Date Tm Opp Result Yds ?
1 Don Meredith 25-214 1963-11-10 DAL SFO L 24-31 460
2 Troy Aikman* 32-005 1998-11-26 DAL MIN L 36-46 455
3 Tony Romo 32-190 2012-10-28 DAL NYG L 24-29 437
4 Tony Romo 30-172 2010-10-10 DAL TEN L 27-34 406
5 Don Meredith 28-217 1966-11-13 DAL WAS W 31-30 406
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/29/2012.


Not surprisingly, the Cowboys have a terrible record when QBs have thrown at least four interceptions. Romo has now done it three times and has a 1-2 record in those games.  The Cowboys’ historic record when QBs have thrown at least four picks is 5-19.

Danny White had the most games with at least four picks with six. Strangely, though, he had a 4-2 career record in those six games.

Staubach’s Numbers

No surprise that Romo surpassed Staubach in passing yardage.

The comparisons end there. Period.

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The Worst Backup in the History of the Dallas Cowboys?

On October 13, I optimistically suggested that the Cowboys could have good fortune with Brad Johnson coming off the bench. That was dumb.  We’ve since been treated to quarterback play worse than what we had endured for much of this decade prior to the arrival of Tony Romo.

The Dallas Observer’s blog ran a piece today listing the worst quarterbacks in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. Here are the results from that story:

10. Tony Banks
Heralded as Troy Aikman’s successor in ’01, was beat out by Quincy Carter and cut in training camp

9. Ryan Leaf
Ugly ’01 stint included one TD, three picks and a 57.7 rating

8. Reggie Collier
Spot duty in ’86 resulted in two interceptions and a 55.8 rating

7. Drew Henson
Former Michigan star was harmless in short Dallas gig, throwing only one TD and one interception

6. Kevin Sweeney
’87 scab hero faltered in ’88 with 42-percent completions, five interceptions and 40.2 rating

5. Anthony Wright
’00 cameo littered with no TDs, three interceptions and a 31.7 rating

4. Clint Stoerner
Threw four picks in the second half of an ’01 loss at the Giants

3. John Roach
Filled in for Don Meredith in ’64 with one TD, six interceptions and a 31.1 rating

2. Babe Laufenberg
Backed up Aikman in ’90 with one TD, six interceptions and a woeful 16.9 rating.

1. Brad Johnson
Sunday’s repulsive performance, equipped with a 27.3 rating, set a new standard for Dallas dysfunction.

I personally disagree that some of these QBs should be on a list such as this.

* Banks never really played for the Cowboys, so I don’t see how anyone could add him to the list. There are quite a few busts who played for Dallas in training camp.

* Leaf only played because of injuries to Quincy Carter. The same is true of Wright and Stoerner. None of them were good quarterbacks by any stretch of the imagination, but they were really third-stringers (or in the case of Leaf, a player the Cowboys hoped could be rehabilitated and were willing to pay a small price to give him a shot).

* Collier was a third-stringer who saw action after Danny White broke his wrist in 1986.

* Sweeney only saw action in 1988 because the team was so bad and fans thought he showed some magic when given the chance in the scab games in 1987 and the preseason in 1988.

I would prefer to focus on those quarterbacks who backed up established starters on the Cowboys. So I would add the following two players:

Wade Wilson

Wilson was only 36 when he became Troy Aikman’s backup in 1995. He only had to start one game, but he hardly struck fear into opposing defenses. In three years as a backup, he threw one touchdown and four interceptions, earning a passer rating of 63.9.

Jerry Rhome

Rhome is better known now as a quarterbacks coach than for his pro football career. There wasn’t much to remember about his playing days. In four seasons with Dallas, he started three games, going 1-2 as a starter. He threw a total of one touchdown pass for the Cowboys along with three interceptions and finished with a 60.7 passer rating. There is no reason to wonder why Craig Morton emerged as the primary backup.

Gary Hogeboom

Hogeboom seldom played before being thrown into the starting role in 1984 in one of Tom Landry’s worst moves (at least in the 1980s). Hogeboom won half of his starts, but he could only manage a 65.4 career passer rating with the Cowboys (thanks to 13 touchdowns and 23 interceptions).

For good measure, let’s also throw in the names of Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson.

So who was the worst? Let’s have a poll.

Worst Backup Quarterback in Team History

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My vote: Laufenberg

Babe Laufenberg

The original can’t-complete-a-pass-to-save-my-life-or-my-team backup was Laufenberg, who came off the bench in 1990 when the Cowboys needed one win to secure a playoff berth. His one start came against the 4-11 Falcons, who held the Cowboys to 151 total yards of offense in a 26-7 win over Dallas.