Tony Romo’s great game in Dallas’ season opener is no surprise

Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys before the 200...

Tony Romo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

The fact that Tony Romo had three touchdowns, 307 yards passing and a Passer Rating of 129.5 in the Cowboys 24-17 season-opening win over the New York Giants should not come as a surprise to NFL enthusiasts and Dallas fans. In his previous five season-opening games, Romo had a Passer Rating over 100 in four of those five games with a high of 140.6 in 2009.

From 1960-2011, there have been 142 times when a quarterback had a Passer Rating of 120 or more in his team’s first game of the season (minimum of 10 passes attempted to qualify). Teams won 121, lost 19, with two ties in those games (a .859 winning percentage).

Last season, four QBs had a Passer Rating of 120 or more in the NFL’s opening week. They were:

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo, 133.0 (vs. Kansas City)

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, 132.1 (vs. New Orleans)

Kevin Kolb, Arizona, 130.0 (vs. Carolina)

Tom Brady, New England, 121.6 (vs. Miami)

Following are the NFL quarterbacks who have had the most season-opening games with a Passer Rating of 120 or higher (1960-2011). With his 129.5 Passer Rating in last night’s contest, Romo became the 11th QB since 1960 to have three or more season-opening games with a 120 or higher Passer Rating.

Season-opening games with 120+ rating, quarterbacks

Four: Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Dan Fouts, Dan Marino

Three: Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, Len Dawson, Jay Fiedler, Chad Pennington, Fran Tarkenton, Tony Romo

Four quarterbacks had a perfect Passer Rating of 158.3 in their team’s first game of the year. The last time it happened was in 2005 when Ben Roethlisberger had a 158.3 Passer Rating in Pittsburgh’s season-opening game against the Tennessee Titans. Roethlisberger was 9-for-11 for 218 yards and two touchdowns in that game.

Here are the quarterbacks that have had the highest Passer Rating on the NFL’s opening weekend since 1960:

Passer Rating, Quarterback, Season

158.3: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (2005); Dick Shiner, Atlanta (1973); Daryle Lamonica, Oakland (1972); Len Dawson, Kansas City (1963)

157.6: Phil Simms, NY Giants (1984)

157.1: Dan Fouts, San Diego (1981)

156.6: Steve Bono, Seattle (1995)

153.3: Craig Morton, Dallas (1971)

152.1: John Brodie, San Francisco, 1965)

151.8: Don Meredith, Dallas (1968)

151.4: Eddie LeBaron, Dallas (1961)

151.1: Len Dawson, Kansas City (1966)

150.4: Dan Marino, Miami (1984)

Note: There have been five quarterbacks who had a Passer Rating of 0.0 in an opening game since 1960. They were: Al Dorow (in 1962 with Buffalo), Earl Morrall (in 1965 with the N.Y. Giants), James Harris (in 1975 with the L.A. Rams), Jim Plunkett (in 1977 with San Francisco) and Joe Ferguson (in 1978 with Buffalo). The last QB to have a Passer Rating under 20 in an opening game of the season was Carolina QB Jake Delhomme in 2009. Delhomme was picked off four times by the Philadelphia Eagles in the Panthers’ 38-10 loss. Delhomme’s Passer Rating for the game was 14.7.

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