Bill Parcells can't be criticized for promoting Tony Romo to the starting
quarterback job, but he can be criticized for waiting so long to make the move.
Parcells had it in his mind to play the mobile Romo (right) over the
lead-footed Drew Bledsoe as far back as August. The leaky Dallas offensive line
helped doom Bledsoe—28th in the league in quarterback rating after seven
weeks—but his decline has been evident for several seasons. Of the 21 NFL
quarterbacks who have thrown 1,000 passes since the start of the 2003 season,
only three ( Kyle Boller, Joey Harrington, Kerry Collins) have a lower rating
than Bledsoe's 77.0. Plus, Bledsoe has been sacked 151 times in that span,
second only to Houston's David Carr. Instead of breaking in Romo against
Houston's vanilla defense on Oct. 15, Parcells threw the fourth-year QB into a
desperate situation in the second half of a Monday-nighter against the Giants
the following week, with predictable results. Given Romo's impressive
bounce-back performance (24 of 36 for 270 yards and a TD) in Sunday's 35--14
win at Carolina, Dallas fans are justified in asking why they hadn't seen him
"I think if
we don't get [an agreement] in the next couple of months—which is extremely
unlikely—the NFL won't have a chance in Los Angeles for the next 20 years."
So said David Israel, one of the three state-appointed members of the Los
Angeles Coliseum Commission, after the NFL made no substantive progress at its
fall meetings toward its goal of returning to Los Angeles. "Generations of
kids will grow up here thinking of USC and UCLA when the subject of football
comes up," said Israel. "By 2020 this will be a soccer town." Two
issues are holding things up. One, the NFL wants a promise of state or
municipal money to help fund a $1 billion stadium project in downtown Los
Angeles or Anaheim. Two, there's no logical team to move to Southern
California. None of the plausible candidates—the Jaguars, Saints and
Vikings—are for sale, nor are they interested in moving right now, according to
insiders. And NFL owners don't want expansion, which would create an imbalance
in the eight four-team divisions and dilute their TV revenue.
1 The league's
best low-profile QB? Houston's Sage Rosenfels, who relieved a shaky David Carr
and threw three TD passes to nearly bring the Texans back from a 21--3 deficit
at Tennessee. Rosenfels has a great arm, is cocksure and looked as if he was
playing his 115th game as a starter—not his 15th as a scrub.
2 The most
maddening penalty being called this season is unnecessary roughness on pass
rushers for driving quarterbacks into the ground. What are the sackers supposed
to do, stop and ask permission before they tackle the quarterback?
3 I don't know
how Dennis Green is going to keep his job as Cardinals coach another month,
never mind the rest of this season, with his team of dead men walking.
Monday Morning Quarterback, every week at SI.com/football.