Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo yet again failed to come through in the clutch last evening in the team’s most important game of the 2012 season, with the Cowboys facing elimination from post-season consideration.
On the back of another first-class, clutch performance from rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III and surprise star running back Alfred Morris, the Washington Redskins pulled off the 28-18 victory, securing the final playoff spot in the NFC, and adding another blemish to a tarnished Romo resume.
Since 2006, Romo has failed to come through in the clutch in six of the teams seven elimination games– the only exception being a solid 2009 final game victory over the Philadelphia Eagles to earn a place in the playoffs.
As expected, media across the sports landscape have been very critical of Romo’s performance last evening. The “choke” factor in Romo’s game is all-to-evident anymore, regardless of where it arises from. He simply hasn’t gotten the job done when it matters most– the reasons behind this are varied and not so easily compartmentalized as they sometimes appear.
From what I can tell, Tony Romo’s late-game, elimination match-up struggles are a result of mental, rather than physical weakness– although the former certainly manifests from the latter.
If you watch Romo when the pressure of the game intensifies, he becomes too careful and begins aiming the ball rather than throwing– in trying not to make mistakes, he does just that– over and over again. It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Romo is accustomed to failure in situations of great importance, therefore that’s what happens.
Only so much can be done to remedy the physical side of this– and obviously, Romo isn’t alone in struggling. His offensive line did a horrendous job protecting him against a constant, and relentless rush from the Redskins defense on Sunday, but in turn, Romo did next-to-nothing to adapt to a circumstance that was obviously not going to change.
People who do this are considered mentally tough– they adapt when tough circumstances arise and turn things in their favor.
Tony Romo doesn’t seem to have this quality.
While I’m not going to sit here and say that therapy is the cure-all to society’s ills, I will say that the mental block which is obviously dominating Romo’s ability to perform in these situations is as evident as it’s ever been.
Why wouldn’t he try to work with a sports psychologist, given this?
You can’t tell me Jerry Jones wouldn’t open up the pocketbook to help out and see if a little help on the mental side could make the physical side rise to the occasion when it matters most for a quarterback that’s obviously not going anywhere soon.
Who knows, maybe it would help the “real” Tony Romo show his face.