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NFL 2012 Preview: Is Tony Romo A Top 5 QB?

The first in a series of posts breaking down the most important and interesting questions about the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFL headed into the 2012 season.

It's always difficult to rank NFL quarterbacks because you have to weigh statistics, accomplishments and potential in order to find the right balance. There are approximately 2,000 plays in an season for each NFL team. Quarterbacks average around 500 passing attempts. Statistically, they are only responsible for one fourth of the plays, yet they are married to the overall performance of the team regardless of their surroundings.

Tony Romo has great statistics. 4,000+ yards, 30+ touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. He has countless clutch performances and miraculous plays that most other quarterbacks can't make. He doesn't have a good win/loss record in December and January, but the Cowboys consistently have a daunting schedule in December/January. He's also made several highly publicized mistakes late in games and has only generaled one playoff victory.

All that is to say Romo is better than most, but probably not in the elite category. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Bress sit atop the list. That's who I consider elite. Peyton Manning was, but is such a question mark with his injury. Ben Roethlisberger and Eli have the rings, so they are in the second tier with Peyton. Then I'd put Romo slightly ahead of Phillip Rivers and Cam Newton with a larger lead on Matt Stafford and Matt Ryan. Long story long, Romo's seventh.

For more season preview coverage, stay tuned to the SB Nation Dallas StoryStream while Blogging The Boys has 24/7 updates on America's Team.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.