Tony Romo’s 2015 NFL season is officially over, thanks to an injury suffered on Thanksgiving night against the Carolina Panthers. And with it goes any chance the Dallas Cowboys may have had of making a postseason run.
But take heart, Cowboy Nation. Although things look bleak now, with a fall season filled with meaningless, Matt Cassell-led football ahead, Tony’s season-ending clavicle injury could actually be a blessing in disguise. Before you start wondering whether I’ve overdosed on a heaping of Thanksgiving stuffing, let’s take a look at the myriad of reasons why Romo getting knocked out is actually a good thing for the Dallas Cowboys and its fans.
For starters, Romo can now let himself fully heal. The injury, which he suffered yesterday late in the third quarter of Thursday’s 33-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers, was to the same clavicle Tony broke a mere eight weeks earlier showing that he clearly rushed back too soon. With this latest injury and no playoff berth in sight, Tony can ride the pine and let his 35-year-old frame heal properly this time around.
“Time is really your friend with these injuries,” injury analyst Stephanie Bell told ESPN before explaining that Romo should be fine come next year. “That bone is essentially remodeling itself six months to a year after injury. He just unfortunately took a hit on a bone that was still repairing itself to some degree. Going into next year, there shouldn’t be any concern.”
And don’t forget — an entire year off will also certainly help his other body parts as well. Tony was battling a bad back for most of the previous two years, relying on cortisone shots to keep him stable enough to play each week. A well-rested Romo in a watered down NFC East almost certainly will pay dividends come 2016.
Another move that will undoubtedly help in 2016 is the one Dallas is making straight up the draft board. The 3-8 Cowboys can officially start tanking to get to the top of the class. With a stellar offensive line in place and a rested star quarterback under contract for the next couple of years, the Cowboys can take advantage and start rebuilding their areas of need extremely fast. Or, as the Dallas Morning News points out, could even start grooming Tony’s successor.
“Would you draft a QB to learn under Romo while he finishes out his career? Romo is signed through the 2019 season, so this might be a season too soon. Dallas’ other needs of note: defensive back, running back and linebacker. [But] here are five notable top QB prospects via CBS Sports: Paxton Lynch, Memphis; Jared Goff, Cal; Connor Cook, Michigan State; Christian Hackenberg, Penn State; Carson Wentz, North Dakota State.”
Finally, Cowboy fans everywhere can take comfort in the knowledge that they don’t have to ponder “What If?” for the rest of the season. By Romo’s own admission after the game, his play hasn’t exactly been up to par since returning.
“Some of the poor decisions that were made were just uncharacteristic and very frustrating,” Romo said as reported by USA Today. “I’m disappointed in costing our team a good chance to stay in the game early. Then on top of it, who knows how long after that.”
But with the NFC East as watered down as it is and Chip Kelly’s experiment imploding in Philadelphia, it’s easy to see why Cowboys fans might still have clung to the desperate hope that even an uncharacteristically bad Tony Romo would be good enough to get the Cowboys eight wins and the division. Except the more likely scenario would have probably been a six or seven win season and a giant disappointment when December rolled into January.
Instead, fans can now start looking ahead rather than re-examine the seven games started by Matt Cassell and Brandon Wheedon in Tony Romo’s place, wondering if a play here or a throw there could have gotten them over the hump.
[Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]