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Can we please stop the idiotic talk about "December records?"

Tim's picture

It's that time of year again. The time when the laziest members of the football media trot out the "Romo's not at his best in December" tripe.

I get so tired of this. I even predicted after the team's strong finish in 2009 that we would again hear that the Romo has "never had a winning December." I've been reading it everyplace – and it just isn't true.

Let me break it down for you (again):

In 2007, the Cowboys first "December" game took place in November, as Dallas played Green Bay on Thursday, November 29th. For every other team in the league, that was a December game. If the arguments about how important December games are have any meaning at all, then it was a "December game" for Dallas, too. For Tony Romo, it was the biggest game of his career to that point. Dallas won, with Romo throwing for over 300 yards and 4 TDs to gain the upper hand for homefield advantage. With nothing at stake, the Cowboys mailed it in for the season finale that year. Back-ups played the second half against a Redskins team that actually needed a win to make the playoffs. If you count that loss as evidence of anything at all, you don't understand football. So, in December games that mattered in 2007, the Cowboys (& Romo) were 3-1. And the only reason 2009 was not a "winning December record" is that the season finale, a second consecutive shut-out against a division rival, was played in January.

Saying Romo's never had a winning December record is juts playing idiotic semantic games. He's had two of them.

Has Dallas had some bad Decembers? Sure. They missed the playoffs in 2008. A lot of things went wrong. But you can't just dismiss the fact that they played, in consecutive weeks, the #1, #2, #3 defenses in the NFL, including the eventual Super Bowl champions. Throw in the Giants, who ended up the #5 defense, and top seed in the NFC. And they did it without their #1 & #2 RBs or their starting LG. (Yes, Cory Proctor was a liability.) And with the QB coming off a broken bone in his throwing hand. You can't pretend that was a typical December.

Ultimately, I have to go with Romo on this one – it's a pretty small sample size. You can't draw any more conclusions about the team from their December record than you can about their November record, even though the numbers say they are quite different. In football, every game matters just as much as every other (at least in the regular season.)

I also recommend you take a look at the breakdown Cold Hard Football Facts put together breaking down Romo and Rivers in December games.

angileena567
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Hello there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects? Thanks a ton!

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fgoodwin
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Tim, fans can debate Romo's effectiveness in December, but Tom Landry established many years ago that winning after Thanksgiving was an important factor related to success in the playoffs.  Landry liked to win the opener (which his teams did more often than not) and finish strong in December, in order to get on a roll for the playoffs.
 
Did December success guarantee playoff success for Landry's teams?  No, but playing poorly in December certainly did not bode well and I think the post-Landry Cowboys have shown the wisdom of Landry's approach.

philyew3
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