New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been credited with 25 4th quarterback comebacks and 30 game-winning drives — two of them coming in the Super Bowl — while also setting an NFL record with 15 4th quarterback touchdown passes in 2011. Yet when NFL Network ranked the Top 10 Most Clutch Quarterbacks in the NFL, Manning was not among them.
6) Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: The sight of Romo's name on a list of clutch performers will make some Cowboys fans cringe, but the three-time Pro Bowler doesn't get enough credit for coming through in crucial situations. Romo is one of the most efficient fourth-quarter quarterbacks, completing 69.6 percent of his passes and compiling a 105.6 passer rating in the final period last season. Critics, of course, will point out some memorable interceptions with the game on the line, but the fact that he has orchestrated 11 fourth-quarter comebacks in the past three seasons suggests that he routinely comes through for the Cowboys when it matters. Now, I know these truths won't absolve Romo from the harsh criticism of some unrealistic football fans, but this should shed some light on why NFL evaluators hold the quarterback in high regard as a clutch playmaker.
Comparatively, Manning sits behind only Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (40) and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (31) on the active list of 4th quarter comebacks, but because the statistics aren't always very pretty, NFL Network chose to omit him from their list. Which is somewhat ironic when you consider that the very definition of "clutch" centers on result and not path, but we digress…
To even suggest that Romo is a more clutch 4th quarter quarterback than Manning is somewhat laughable. Might his quarterback rating be better? Absolutely. But when it comes to wins and losses — the only two things that matter — there are only two players in the league who have done it any better. And neither of them have done it on the big stage quite like Easy E has. In fact, Mr. Brady has twice been on the losing end of exactly that.
The entire Top 10 broke down as follows:
- 10) Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
- 9) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
- 8) Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
- 7) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
- 6) Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
- 5) Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
- 4) Tom Brady, New England Patriots
- 3) Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
- 2) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay packers
- 1) Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
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