By David Bradford, for A to Z Sports
Tony Romo’s transition from polarizing signal caller of “America’s Team” to the guy who got underrated broadcasting gem Phil Simms knocked off the air has me thinking a couple of things.
1) He should’ve chosen Fox over CBS. Why? Imagine him calling games with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. That’s two Cowboy quarterbacks in one booth. In addition, Fox owns the NFC. Who plays in the NFC? You guessed it… the Dallas Cowboys. Imagine all the passive aggressive shots aimed at Dak Prescott Romo would take. That’s beautiful television. As an added bonus, Skip Bayless works at Fox, so I could foresee some Romo guest appearances on Undisputed so they can have more than ten people watch their show.
2) The AFC South is now the Tennessee Titans’ division to lose.
Romo’s likely destination post-Cowboys was the Houston Texans – a team that won the AFC South last season despite fielding a quarterback with lobster claws for hands.
Even with Brock Lobster embarrassing himself every Sunday, the Texans won their fourth division crown in five seasons. With Romo – assuming his unprecedented level of fragility didn’t result in a broken bone after the blunt-forced trauma that is J.J. Watt’s ego – Houston wins the NFL’s worst division by a landslide. The Titans, Colts and Jaguars only option for success is a simultaneous tank so they can continue to beef up their respective rosters.
But apparently, Houston wasn’t interested in Romo’s services. Sure, they’ll hand over $18 million to literally the only quarterback who didn’t have an enjoyable episode on Jon Gruden’s QB Camp series, and they’ll take a chance on a quarterback whose last name doesn’t represent his being in any way, shape or form (Tom Savage).
But yeah, Romo isn’t worth it.
That works perfectly for the Titans, who are not only the AFC South’s most complete roster top-to-bottom, but feature the league’s behind-the-scenes MVP: General manager Jon Robinson.
In Nashville, Robinson – better known as J-Rob – is a superstar. If this were basketball, Robinson is averaging a triple-double. If this were baseball, Robinson is a Triple Crown machine. But anybody with a brain could’ve predicted this outcome. Robinson did spend more than a decade evaluating talent for the New England Patriots. In the process, Bill Belichick’s genius seeped into the strands of his DNA.
Robinson hit home run after home run in 2016. He flipped the No. 1 overall pick into All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin at No. 8. He accomplished this while duping the Los Angeles Rams into surrendering their first-round pick in 2017. That pick now sits pretty at No. 5, which pairs along nicely with Tennessee’s No. 18 overall pick after a 9-7 season.
That combination of first-round maneuverability lends itself to some J-Rob magic. At both slots, he can plug two of Tennessee’s primary holes: Wide receiver and cornerback.
Needless to say, no team in the AFC South is heading into 2017 in better shape than the Titans. Indianapolis has the division’s premier quarterback in Andrew Luck, but after Ryan Grigson committed a nuclear holocaust to the Colts’ roster, general manager Chris Ballard has his work cut out for him. Jacksonville currently rests in a permanent state of volcanic landfill thanks to Blake Bortles. Even though Bortles is the best value at quarterback in fantasy football because he is the king of garbage time, his mechanics are broken. And he sucks.
This leaves Houston. Matt Schaub almost pick-six’d the franchise into the twilight zone, and despite the Texans doing their best Cleveland Brown quarterback revolving door impression, Houston is somehow the AFC South’s version of the New England Patriots (that felt wrong to say).
But Tennessee is in the rear view mirror of the division race. Scratch that, they’re hitting Houston’s blind spot. The Texans’ days of entering January through the backdoor of a nine-win season are all but over.
The Titans have all the tools: A franchise-caliber quarterback, an impenetrable offensive line, valuable assets and as smart a front office as they come. In a division marred with teams either searching for their identity, decaying or plateauing, Tennessee is the only team trending upward. The AFC South is on a silver platter being delivered to Nashville as we speak.
And the best part about it?
Tony Romo will probably be calling a bunch of games for the two-tone blue for years to come.