IRVING (AP) – The spoils of playing quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys are plentiful. It is an iconic sports position, one that has featured Hall of Famers Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. Do well and fame and fortune are sure to follow.
Tony Romo will tell you it’s an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence with legends such as Staubach and Aikman. And even though there is pressure being compared with players who combined to win five Super Bowls, Kyle Orton said the upside is far greater.
“When you follow those guys, it’s great,” said Orton, the Cowboys’ backup quarterback. “You’re always excited when you get to play the same position as some great players have played.
So it is pressure, or fun?
“A little of both, to be honest with you,” said Orton, who should know. He played two years in Denver, where quarterbacks are often reminded they are not John Elway. “But Tony’s such a high-level quarterback that he’s capable of living up to those expectations.”
Romo is poised to make significant movement in the Cowboys record book. He currently ranks fourth in Dallas history with 152 touchdown passes, but that is only one behind Staubach’s 153 and three behind the 155 by Danny White.
Romo could pass both players with four TDs against Seattle on Sunday. Aikman currently leads the team with 165 TD passes. The fewest Romo has had in any full season he played was 26. He had 31 last year. Right now, he’s only 13 behind.
Orton said that is not the type of achievement that any quarterback celebrates – at least during the season.
“Any quarterback worth their salt is focused on offensive goals, team goals and not really individual goals,” Orton said. “I’m sure he doesn’t even know that he’s close to them. All that stuff is stuff you look back on at the end of your career and think about how great it is. But while you’re doing it, you’re just trying to win games.”
While statistics aren’t the final determinant of greatness, they do indicate productiveness. Any Romo has been far more efficient than his predecessors.
Romo has played in only 84 games for Dallas while Aikman played in 165 and Staubach played in 131. White played in 166.
As he is constantly reminded in Dallas, however, Romo has only one playoff victory since winning the starting quarterback job six games into the 2006 season.
Aikman won three Super Bowls. Staubach won two. And unless Romo gets a title of his own, he likely will be thought of in much the same way as Danny White, who led Dallas to three consecutive NFC championship games. The Cowboys lost all three.
Aikman said during the offseason that Romo was a better quarterback than him. And Staubach said he didn’t understand it when Romo is criticized.
“Anytime you have some of the all-time greats of the game say anything good about you, it’s rewarding,” Romo said. “You look up to them and you know how talented they are, so the respect that I give them is at a 10 from 1 to 10. That’s always something that is a great feeling.”
When he eventually passes Staubach and Aikman and becomes the Cowboys’ all-time leader in TD passes, Romo will undoubtedly enjoy a great feeling. But not a super one.
“Every season when you don’t win a Super Bowl,” he said, “it’s not a good feeling.”
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