Four years ago, Tony Romo suffered a back fracture in preseason, paving the way for rookie Dak Prescott to take the reins as the Cowboys starting quarterback. Prescott proceeded to lead the Cowboys to a 13-3 season in 2016 and hasn't missed a start since. That streak will end this coming week after Prescott suffered a devastating, season-ending ankle injury against the Giants.
Which brings me back to Romo. Wouldn't it be incredible if he came out of retirement, signed with the Cowboys and gave it one more run at a Super Bowl? Rob Gronkowski is doing that with the Buccaneers and even Romo's former teammate, Jason Witten, unretired and is now playing for the Raiders. Who says Romo can't do the same thing?
Of course, this is fantasy. Romo is paid handsomely by CBS to analyze games now; a much safer and less time-intensive job. He hasn't played in a game since New Year's Day 2017. Three years off isn't exactly ideal for a quarterback. Neither is playing at 40 years-old, especially considering the injury history of Romo. And yet...
The NFC East is wide-open this year. The Cowboys lead it with a 2-3 record. Andy Dalton is their new starting quarterback and certainly has proven capable of winning games in the past. Behind him, the Cowboys have rookie seventh-round pick Ben DiNucci. That's not the insurance policy you want for a guy like Dalton, who, like Romo, has missed long stretches of time with injury in the past.
If Romo has any interest in playing quarterback again, which he has steadfastly maintained he does not, he could play backup to Dalton for a few weeks, get back up to speed with everything and replace Dalton if he gets hurt or struggles. It won't take more than 8 wins to win the NFC East, so even if Dalton goes 1-3 the next four weeks, the Cowboys won't be out of the playoff race. Hell, they might still be leading the division at 3-6. Romo could put them over the top.
There is, I get it, the likely reality that Romo isn't interested in playing again, isn't in good enough shape to be ready even if he did want to play and the Cowboys don't want to sign him. But it would be the best story of the season if Romo left the booth for the field and led the Cowboys to the playoffs. It would be full circle from how his career ended and would provide the opportunity for him to finish things on his terms.
It's not going to happen, but a traffic-mongering sports writer can dream, can't he?