Monday Night Football in Dallas gave us the kind of entertainment that usually would take place at a pro wrestling event on prime time TV. It was to be Jerry’s big night as the owner of the surprising 6-1 Cowboys as they took on a struggling Redskin team who were down to a 3rd string QB. A big stage to show case his team and what a great GM he had been in the off season.
ESPN even provided viewers the “Jerry Cam” a live feed of Jerry watching his Cowboys and fielding questions about the team. More attention for an owner than is typically provided and when it comes to Jerry who loves him some publicity, it was like pouring gasoline on the fire.
Then suddenly their Cowboy quarterback Romo went down with an injury to his back which had attempted to be repaired in the off season. Romo was clearly in a great deal of pain as he headed to the locker room where ESPN followed creating a frenzy by providing live updates on Romo and his back. Camera shots of Romo in the locker room were also provided as ESPN attempted to milk as much drama of this situation as possible. It was like “hey ESPN, WWE just texted and said you guys are going over the top on this one.”
Then Romo slowly begins the walk back to the sideline. Will he come back to lead his team to victory with a back that barely even lets him throw a pass? Will the doctors even allow him to return? Jerry was on this moment like an engrossed wrestling manager who is trying to boost the ratings. No surprise that Jerry, like a pro wrestling manager attempting to impact the outcome of a contest, is the one who made it known to the coach that Romo could play, as Garrett explained. STORY
While Romo’s return made for compelling television, I was convinced Weeden offered the best chance to win and Romo was too injured to take that risk. This wasn’t scripted as Romo was not able to successfully return and miraculously lead them to a thrilling come from behind victory.
Five reasons why Romo should not have been allowed to return:
1. Romo was clearly not able to play any where near 100% after the injury. That made him unable to really help his team.
2. Even prior to his injury, Romo was playing poorly and having a bad game. Why would a hurt back improve any of that?
3. Weeden (the backup) had just led the offense to a TD on a scoring pass to TE Jason Witten. The offense had some momentum with Weeden as their QB at the time, as he led two scoring drives. I think he gave them the best chance to win at that moment considering all the circumstances.
4. Even if X-rays cleared Romo to return, it doesn’t make it the right decision for his long term health. By returning, Romo risked even more serious injury to his back. Romo is going to want to be able to get out in his yard and pass a football with his young son Hawkins, one day. There is a bigger picture than just considering if he is able to return to the game.
5. Romo had been sacked five times in the game. Why put him out there to get number six when he clearly couldn’t scramble well at all?
We don’t know if the game would have had a different ending had Weeden been left to play QB. But I didn’t need to know that to know putting Romo in at the time with an injured back, was the wrong move for more reasons than just trying to get to a 7-1 record.
It appears the Cowboys maniacal owner/GM Jerry Jones was the one behind getting Romo to return as it made for “must see TV.” And it was Jones who once said, “We have not gone (playoffs), yet we’re the most popular TV show there is on television. We lead all teams in TV ratings. We lead, 24 of the last top 25 shows were NFL games, and any time your Cowboys play they’re up there at the top and leading.”
Sometimes it shouldn’t just be about the ratings. It should be about trying to win the game and most importantly, doing what is in the best interest of the player’s health long term.