Well, Tony Romo's back finally gave out on him after carrying a team of 53 grown men on his shoulders for 16 weeks.
So the Cowboys will play a week 17 game without their biggest difference-maker. Remember Sunday when he led a heroic 87-yard drive, throwing for 92 yards on the drive, all with a season-ending injury?
And you can scrap the 22 other game-winning drives of his career, too.
In steps Kyle Orton, the next able body, who has taken 22 snaps as a Cowboy. And, possibly, out steps Jason Garrett, because his job status is in question regardless of the injury status of no. 9. But Romo's bum back makes 8-8 which seemed probable with him under center almost eminent.
If that's the case, and Kyle Orton can't do to the Eagles what Josh McCown and Matt Flynn did to the Cowboys step in and win as a backup QB Garrett will be 24-24 as the head coach in Dallas.
19-2 against teams under .500, 5-22 against teams over .500.
By those numbers, Garrett's job status shouldn't hinge on one game no matter who is playing quarterback. Nonetheless, Romo's injury will throw a wrench in the works of firing the coach without much hesitation.
Yes, the 'Boys have been one game away from the playoffs twice already, and the odds are greater that they would make the postseason this season if Romo was able to play. Yada yada yada.
But even if they got there, what would it matter?
To be pessimistic, a playoff berth would really only be delaying the inevitable ending the season with a loss by one week. The 2013 Dallas Cowboys are not an especially talented team, and they aren't a very well-coached team.
So Garrett could be gone, and one can only hope Monte Kiffin is sent packing with him. But Garrett can't be the only one whose season should be questioned. Because the Cowboys are also a very injured team.
Now let me say this... I am not an expert on sports medicine. And there is a reason people get paid a lot of money to be the medical staff for professional sports organizations, and I don't.
But here's a quick list of injured Cowboys this season:
Anthony Spencer, DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee, Justin Durant, Ernie Sims, Devonte Holloman, Bruce Carter (essentially every human being who has attempted to play linebacker) Morris Claiborne, Miles Austin, Dwayne Harris, Lance Dunbar, and now Tony Romo, just to name a few.
Almost every single player on the original starting defense has shown up on at least one injury report this year.
That just doesn't seem right.
Today's professional sports climate revolves around one thing: money. And that's no fault of Jerry Jones's or any other single owner or GM in the country. It's just a fact of life, nowadays.
But with that focus on dollar signs comes the need to turn football into a product that can be sold to fans. And that product is most appealing if it involves the starting cast of players. People don't pay their way into AT&T Stadium to see backups.
Just like you don't pay 100 dollars for a seat at a Dave Matthews concert so you can see the opening act. Although Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes did a heck of a job opening for him in Dallas a couple years back.
I'm not in a position to make accusations. But maybe, just maybe, the trickle-down from owner and general manager Mr. Moneybags has created an imagined need to rush players back from injury, or to put players in situations with high injury risk.
Tony Romo had surgery last offseason, and got back in shape in time for the season. He had to, because the Cowboys are a much less appealing product with him not on the field...
Romo's been much more conservative this season, as our good buddy Jonathan Bales has pointed out on this site. He has done less scrambling (one TD outside of the pocket through his first 11 games), and hasn't thrown the ball deep as consistently (7.2 yards per attempt is the lowest of his career). He made several plays with his legs against Washington, and now his season is over.
We all would've loved to see Sean Lee back and making a huge impact against Chicago. So he was out there, and it was too soon. His season has pretty much been over since the bye week.
So are players rushed back from injury? If not, what's the cause of the plethora of banged-up Cowboys? I would genuinely like to know.
As usual, it's a Cowboys team with a lot of issues that are far more important that how Tony Romo plays late in games.
Play-calling. Injuries. Coaching. Ego management. The dysfunction starts at the top.
Tony's back injury could cost Jason Garrett his job, or it could be the excuse that keeps him around for another year. But either way, after the 2013 season, there is a lot more than one job that needs to be examined.
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