Money for nothing

Kyle Riviere @kyleR_sports
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere

I seem to remember a time not so long ago when winning meant something. It was the end-all, undisputed factor used to measure a player or organization's worth and value.

In this era of Al Davis' "just win, baby" philosophy, winners went to the top of the Mount Olympus of football while the losers remained an afterthought. Only the winners could ever accompany the word "elite," and they justifiably reaped all the benefits.

I don't know when, but somewhere down the line, that rational was lost. It had to be. That's the only explanation for Jerry Jones' decision last week to give Cowbody quarterback Tony Romo a six-year extension worth a whopping $108 million.

And I'm not one of those haters that constantly cries foul when professional athletes cash in. They have a talent very few in the world have, and they're making what their market dictates. They help make the NFL a monster worth billions of dollars.

However, it is a head-scratcher when you see a guy like Romo--who has only one more playoff win than I have--bring home such a lavish bounty. It begs the question, "what is Jones rewarding him for?"

Usually, it's when players lead their teams to conference titles or Lombardi Trophies when we see the Benjamins rain down. Look no further than Joe Flacco.

After leading the Ravens to a Super Bowl title, to the victor went the spoils. Flacco's agent became the hardest-working man in the United States and got the Baltimore quarterback the biggest deal in the NFL.

I may not be in favor of Flacco making more than guys I see as his superiors such as: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. However, you can't say he didn't earn the raise.

Flacco has led the Ravens to the playoffs every year since becoming the starter his rookie season back in 2008. In that time, he has won nine playoff games--which culminated this season in a world championship and a Super Bowl MVP.

The total was a little over-inflated, but at least you can say he played his way into the astronomical pay-raise.

Romo, on the other hand, hasn't done a whole lot to justify the nine-digit extension. If you would like to compare him to Flacco, just let this number marinate. Flacco won more playoff games in his rookie year than Romo has won in his entire career.

In fact, the Cowboys have only made it to four playoff games behind the arm of No. 9. They are 1-3 in those games, and they have missed out on the postseason the last two years.

In Dallas' biggest game last season, they faced the Redskins with the implications cut and dry--the team that won would be in the playoffs. Facing a rookie quarterback in Robert Griffin III, Romo threw three interceptions as the Cowboys fell 28-18 and made the trip back to Big D to clean out their lockers.

Cowboys fans' patience is starting to wear thin, but Jerry Jones has never wavered. Last year, he had a great opportunity to go after two different quarterbacks.

He could have traded Romo away and gone hard after Peyton Manning. There's no way Peyton passes up the opportunity to play with all of that talent in that dome with Jerry Jones supplying the money.

Jones never even attempted to wrap his mind around it. But he still could have tried to possibly trade Romo to get higher in the draft to pick up RGIII. Once again, he decided to stick with his guy.

And now, he has shown his ultimate allegiance for Romo by giving him the $108 million and making him the highest paid Cowboy in the history of the franchise. It felt awkward just typing that.

Maybe Romo will prove me and the other haters wrong. Maybe he'll have a John Elway-like resurgence and finally get over the hump. We'll see, but that seems a little far-fetched.

It would be much more feasible if he had made it to some NFC Championship Games and just couldn't get it done, but Romo has yet to make it past the second round of the playoffs.

Well, I guess I shouldn't care. After all, it's not my money. It's Jerry Jones who has to pay him, and he firmly believes Romo will lead the Cowboys to their sixth Super Bowl title. Good luck with that, Jerry.