The headline tells you what you need to know, really, but give Toomer a chance to explain. Here's the entire quote. From a spot with Toomer on "Movin' the Chains," a fine football talk show on SiriusXM's NFL Radio.
"Tony Romo is probably, if you look at him statistically, the best quarterback in the NFC East. I mean, you look at Eli Manning and what he does in the fourth quarter, but you talk about consistency ‒ talk about 31 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. That guy can play."
"For me, if I wanted a guy that is going to throw less interceptions, more productive, higher completion percentage, I'm going to go with Tony Romo. At crunch time, he's not as good as Eli, but every other time, he's pretty darn good."
Well ... let's investigate. Is Toomer a nutjob, or is there something to this?
He specifically mentioned interceptions and completion percentage, so we'll start there (he also mentioned "productivity," but if you know the exact right way to measure a QB's productivity, congratulations, you've just settled 15 bajillion football arguments).
About those interceptions. Over the past three years, Eli has thrown 55 of them. Romo has thrown 26. However, Romo did miss 10 games in 2010 with injuries, so let's break it into interceptions per attempt. In the last three years, Eli's been picked off on 3.36 percent of his passes. Romo gets picked off on 2.02 percent. So Toomer's actually got some solid ground underneath him there.
Completion percentage: Over the last three years, Eli's is 62.00 percent. Romo's is 65.45 percent. Hmmm.
As for productivity, I don't know what exactly to look at. There's quarterback rating, I suppose. Also, TD-to-INT ratio, and my favorite, yards per attempt. For giggles, let's look at those.
Quarterback rating: Romo has a significant advantage, 99.14 to 90.45. Touchdown-to-interception ratio: Romo's got a sizable edge here, too, throwing 2.62 touchdowns for every interception, while Eli throws only 1.58 touchdown passes for every interception. On yards per attempt, Romo goes for 7.99 and Eli goes for 7.91.
So maybe Amani Toomer doesn't have smushed-up Twinkies for brains. At the very least, maybe this isn't a point that should be dismissed summarily, as if Toomer just said that the Senior LPGA Tour would be, within six months, America's most beloved sports league.
By all means, make your Eli arguments, though. There is another way that people might measure "productivity," and that's Super Bowl wins. Winning a Super Bowl is pretty productive, yes? Eli's done that twice. Romo hasn't gotten close.
The view Toomer expresses won't be a popular one, and Eli's definitely earned his chops. Eli's got the rings, though, and I've found that for most people that argue about sports, rings are the dominant argument. They trump almost everything else. It's not a view I subscribe to, but that's the way things tend to go.
But don't rake Toomer over the coals for this one. There are numbers that back up what he said, especially since he hedged with the bit about "crunch time," which allows him to ignore postseason play. And really, is it a bad thing if we have one talking head that'll take a viewpoint that's not the prevailing one? Is it OK if we have one guy who doesn't look at Super Bowls as the end-all, be-all for how to measure quarterbacks?
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