Desperate people do desperate things and pushing the envelope to bring Tony Romo back to a 2-7 football team blew up on the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day when the veteran quarterback re-broke the clavicle that had kept him out of action for two months.
Despite the only true impartial arbiter in this world already passing down judgment on the specious decision (hindsight), the man ultimately responsible, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, took to his weekly soapbox to defend his franchise’s handing of a 36-year-old, who is breaking down physically right before your eyes.
“I don’t think push is the word for it,” Dr, Jones told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas after watching his franchise player break the clavicle for a third time in a blowout loss to unbeaten Carolina. “We felt the risk was worth the potential for having him be the impact he can be and really having a fairytale turnaround and doing something that was special.”
Everything in business is risk/reward but responsible leaders weigh the outcomes on both sides of the equation before jumping in.
For instance, back in 2013 Aaron Rodgers suffered the same injury and Green Bay was having similar issues without its franchise signal caller in that the Packers couldn’t win a football game without him.
And Green Bay also pushed the envelope with Rodgers’ recovery time but its reward was much greater — a Week 17 winner-take-all NFC North matchup with the Chicago Bears. Sure enough, Rodgers was rusty but led the Packers to a last-second win, although he wasn’t sharp enough to do much of anything in the postseason.
The Eagles lost Nick Foles in early-November last season to a broken clavicle and were also nearing the same risk/reward scenario until a late-season implosion under Mark Sanchez took the playoffs out of the equation and a difficult decision off the table.
The reward for the Cowboys here was negligible.Even in the dismal NFC East, after losing seven straight without Romo, Dallas would have likely had to run the table to reach the postseason and the siren’s song of a playoff home game. Meanwhile, if that hurdle was cleared and the Cowboys got the right team at the right time to advance, the heavyweights would have been waiting in the divisional round, making a further push extremely unlikely.
Now even if you want to stipulate that’s an acceptable outcome after a 2-7 start — something you certainly should — the odds of everything breaking that way with an aging QB, who has had back issues along with the clavicle problems, was comparable to you walking into the next convenience store you see and hitting the Powerball.
Loathe to say he was wrong, however, Jones doubled down on his poor decision-making by breaking out the cliches.
“You shouldn’t ever quit trying to do something extraordinary,” he said. “The dream was if Tony could have come in and been the catalyst and had the results we had the week before in Miami against a great team, a really great team – Carolina is so impressive – if we could have done that, it could have been the beginning of something special.”
A smarter man would have realized fate tabled “special” until ’16 at the earliest and any chance of that is now dwindling because Romo’s shelf life grows shorter by the day.
“I had a nightmare last night and I was hoping when I woke up this morning it was just that,” Jones said.
Cowboys fans are living through the same nightmare but exponentially worse because they understand the guy making the decisions for their favorite football team gets it wrong far too often.
— John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jfmcmullen — Also catch John this season on ESPN Southwest Florida every Monday at 3 PM ET; on ESPN Lexington every Thursday at 6:05 ET, and live every Tuesday from 2 to 6 PM ET at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City for the NFL Wraparound on ESPN South Jersey.
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