Cowboys coachBill Parcells can't be criticized for promoting Tony Romo to the startingquarterback 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 thelead-footed Drew Bledsoe as far back as August. The leaky Dallas offensive linehelped doom Bledsoe—28th in the league in quarterback rating after sevenweeks—but his decline has been evident for several seasons. Of the 21 NFLquarterbacks who have thrown 1,000 passes since the start of the 2003 season,only three (Kyle Boller, Joey Harrington, Kerry Collins) have a lower ratingthan 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 againstHouston's vanilla defense on Oct. 15, Parcells threw the fourth-year QB into adesperate situation in the second half of a Monday-nighter against the Giantsthe following week, with predictable results. Given Romo's impressivebounce-back performance (24 of 36 for 270 yards and a TD) in Sunday's 35--14win at Carolina, Dallas fans are justified in asking why they hadn't seen himearlier.
"I think ifwe don't get [an agreement] in the next couple of months—which is extremelyunlikely—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 LosAngeles Coliseum Commission, after the NFL made no substantive progress at itsfall meetings toward its goal of returning to Los Angeles. "Generations ofkids will grow up here thinking of USC and UCLA when the subject of footballcomes up," said Israel. "By 2020 this will be a soccer town." Twoissues are holding things up. One, the NFL wants a promise of state ormunicipal money to help fund a $1 billion stadium project in downtown LosAngeles or Anaheim. Two, there's no logical team to move to SouthernCalifornia. None of the plausible candidates—the Jaguars, Saints andVikings—are for sale, nor are they interested in moving right now, according toinsiders. And NFL owners don't want expansion, which would create an imbalancein the eight four-team divisions and dilute their TV revenue.
1 The league'sbest low-profile QB? Houston's Sage Rosenfels, who relieved a shaky David Carrand threw three TD passes to nearly bring the Texans back from a 21--3 deficitat Tennessee. Rosenfels has a great arm, is cocksure and looked as if he wasplaying his 115th game as a starter—not his 15th as a scrub.
2 The mostmaddening penalty being called this season is unnecessary roughness on passrushers for driving quarterbacks into the ground. What are the sackers supposedto do, stop and ask permission before they tackle the quarterback?
3 I don't knowhow 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.
Peter King'sMonday Morning Quarterback, every week at SI.com/football.
CHRIS KEANE/REUTERS (ROMO)