Dak did it! In front of a hostile crowd, against a Hall of Fame quarterback playing like a Hall of Fame quarterback, and underneath the overwhelming weight of overly optimistic Cowboys fans, the fourth-round rookie came in clutch.
Sure, he had some help from fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliot and the best offensive line in the league, but he got it done, nonetheless. The 22 of 32, 319 yard, 2-touchdown performance might be Dak Prescott’s best yet. So now, in most people’s eyes, the Cowboys are HIS team. Which means the future of franchise quarterback Tony Romo is uncertain.
So what’s next for Romo? Maybe he decides to call it career. Maybe he decides to open up a chain of North Dallas Restaurants. Romo’s Roma: Italian Bistro and Cuisine has a nice ring to it. Maybe he cashes in on that ‘Tony Romo Turnovers’ meme that floods the Internet every time he throws an interception, and enters the pastry industry. Maybe he embraces the ‘artsy fartsy’ side of him we saw in that DirecTV commercial, and goes on a paper maché rampage.
Conventional wisdom says the future is now in Dallas. That the Cowboys’ best move would be to trade their expensive backup quarterback (he’s scheduled to make a $24 million dent in the salary cap in 2017), in the offseason. The transaction could help the team stockpile draft picks, and clear cap space for future free agents.
However, if there’s one thing Cowboys fans know, it’s that conventional wisdom doesn’t always apply in Jerry Jones’ office.
Sunday’s 35-30 victory in Pittsburgh and the team’s 8-1 record haven’t been enough to sway Jones into permanently giving Prescott the keys to the castle. Though Jones says he’ll continue to ride the hot hand of Prescott (as long as it stays hot), he refuses to end the quarterback controversy that so many thought ended yesterday, the second Ezekiel Elliot ran up the middle for the go ahead touchdown.
To make matters worse, Romo will likely be trading in his clipboard and headset in for a set of football pads and a helmet, for their week 11 matchup against Baltimore. The ominous raincloud that is Tony Romo should be dissipating with every Prescott victory, but instead it’s growing.
This might be unfamiliar territory for Jones, but it is not to those who have closely followed the NFL.
In 2001 the New England Patriots starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe—fresh off of signing a 10-year contract, and six years removed from a Super Bowl appearance—was injured in the second week of the season.
Bledsoe’s backup, a seventh round draft pick entering his second season named Tom Brady, was thrust into the starting position. New England went on to win 14 of its next 17 games, including a victory over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, behind Brady. The Patriots have been his team ever since.
Funny enough, Brady was hurt and didn’t play in the 2001 AFC title game. Enter Bledsoe, who led the Pats to a 24-17 victory over the Steelers in his New England swan song.
Whether Romo, who also replaced Bledsoe when he took the starting job is Dallas 10 years ago, will have one last, Bledsoe-esque shining moment or not this season remains to be seen. If Prescott keeps this up; Romo will remain the starter. But one thing is for sure, at least for the 2016 season, Tony Romo remains very much in the Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback conversation.