Commentary

NFL's most underappreciated QBs

Tony Romo leads list of four passers who don't get the recognition they deserve

Updated: October 8, 2011, 5:31 PM ET
By Trent Dilfer | ESPN Insider
Tony RomoAP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezThe perception that Tony Romo isn't a clutch QB simply isn't accurate.

We're in an era of quarterback-dominated play, and because of that some of the old maxims don't capture what we're seeing. For instance, there isn't a single class of elite quarterbacks that simply dominate statistically from week to week. We have a sense of who the best are, but we're seeing massive yardage totals put up everywhere. The 400-yard game is becoming what had been the 300-yard game. Last year, eight quarterbacks passed for over 3,900 yards; in 2009, 10 quarterbacks topped 4,000 yards. That number could climb in 2011.

But as we debate what statistically seems to be a growing level of elite arms, I want to point out top traits of the most underappreciated guys from a film standpoint. And what better place to start, given the happenings of recent weeks, than with the Cowboys' signal-caller ...

Tony Romo

Negative perception: Good, not great quarterback; melts down in clutch

Underappreciated for: If you want the scouting report on Romo, talk to other quarterbacks around the NFL. Fans can't appreciate the way other players marvel at Romo. They simply shake their head at his talent. Romo is a brilliant, anticipatory thrower. He throws nearly as fast as Kurt Warner, who I consider the fastest ever in terms of making throws off early anticipation of a read. On film, you'll see he consistently throws well before guys get into breaks in their routes. You have to get your head up with Romo, because the ball will be on you. Ask Jason Witten, who teams do everything to cover but still gets his because Romo can deliver so early.

Former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer is an analyst for a variety of ESPN programs including NFL Live, NFL PrimeTime and SportsCenter (Sunday and Monday nights during the NFL season). He also contributes to Monday Night Countdown, ESPN Radio programs, and ESPN's annual Super Bowl week and NFL Draft coverage.