This post has very little to do with the upcoming game. That said - for a few reasons - I think this is a worthy subject matter.
Over a Chili's (freaking love that place) chicken-bacon-ranch quesidilla this week, a co-worker and I debated Romo versus Ryan. He's from Texas. He's also an enormous homer. He made the unabashed assertion that Romo draws more unwarranted criticism than any player in the NFL. While I think that claim is a bit of a stretch, he also swore up and down that Ryan is the inferior player.
Of course - given that we could face Dallas in the playoffs - I felt the need to defend El Happy-Feeted Ice Man. Don't get me wrong, I'm fully cognizant of the fact that our playoff ticket isn't punched. In fact - to be clear - we're not making the playoffs! It's my prediction and I'm sticking to it. For serious. Now y'all can't accuse me of jinxing anything.
Join me after the jump and we'll break this down.
Romo is the 4th most efficient QB (DVOA is 37.1 percent better than league average) in the league this year, noticeably more efficient that Ryan, whose DVOA is 24.9 percent better than league average (7th in the league). They've thrown a similar amount of passes for a similar amount of yards. They also have a similar amount of touchdown passes and interceptions. Romo's completion percentage is 5 percent higher than Ryans.
Given all that, it's easy to give Romo the nod. But if you do, then maybe your analysis is superficial. Or is it? First of all, while our offensive line isn't perfect, our adjusted sack rate ranks 7th. Theirs ranks 10th. Adjusted sack rate doesn't account for some lost opportunities though. Times where Ryan was rushed, knocked down, et cetera. I'm not sure how you quantify that, though it does feel like it's happened a lot this year.
For kicks and wiggles, let's take a look back. Remember, DVOA is a statistic that measures efficiency in a defense-adjusted manner. Positive percentages are good. It means you're above average. So - for example - if your DVOA is 5 percent, then you're 5 percent more efficient that the league-average QB.
Check it out:
Romo - 20.6 percent (9th in the league) while only playing in six games
Ryan - 23.9 percent (7th in the league)
Romo - 32.3 percent (7th in the league)
Ryan - 16.7 percent (15th in the league)
Romo - 18.5 percent (10th in the league)
Ryan - 30.9 percent (4th in the league)
Romo - 25.5 percent (6th in the league)
Romo - 18.9 percent (5th in the league)
From 2003-2005 Romo did not attempt any passes, and as such, we'll ignore those years. So here's where things get murky. Let's be honest, Romo's had a top ten DVOA in every year he's attempted a pass, every year since he took the reins in Dallas). Not to shabby to say the least. But Matthew Thomas Ryan is pretty fly too. How do we distinguish them?
If we look at their career averages, Ryan has a lower interception percentage and higher win percentage. Romo's adjusted yards per attempt is higher, sack percentage is higher (meaning he's played behind more maligned offensive lines), TD percentage is higher, completion percentage is higher, and QB rating is higher.
Both QBs have struggled in the playoffs. Romo's 1-2 and Ryan - as we know - is winless in two attempts. Looking forward though, who would you rather have behind the wheel? Maybe I'm just a hopeless diehard. But with that said, I'm very comfortable with Ryan.
What say you?!