Should The Cowboys Play Tony Romo In A Potential Meaningless Game?

    Listen to an version of this article on Bumpers!

    If you look at your calendar you'll see that we are past . We are at such a point in time with the having only one loss to their 2016 name. That is utterly incredible.

    As is the case when you enter December with a lone blemish in the loss column… you start to think about things – legitimate things:

    • When will the Cowboys clinch the division? (December 11th in my estimation)
    • When will the Cowboys clinch a first-round bye? (We'll discuss in the coming weeks)
    • When will the Cowboys clinch home-field advantage? (stay tuned to Inside The Star)

    Typically when an NFL team is in the position the current Cowboys are, they have to consider these things. We're talking about if the Cowboys have clinched all that they can with time left before the . In other words… what if the Cowboys play a totally meaningless game in (or , you get the picture).

    In situations like that these teams normally rest their starters or give them minimal playing time so as to minimize the risk for . , , , and others likely won't play in these hypothetical games… but what about ?

    Should the Dallas Cowboys reach a point where they have clinched everything that they can (division, bye, home-field) then they should absolutely not play Tony Romo. Here's why.


    Would You Rather Have Tony Romo Or Mark Sanchez In The Playoffs?

    That's what this boils down to, ultimately.

    Say the Dallas Cowboys decide to play Tony Romo in a meaningless game… and that he gets hurt. Then say a few weeks later in the Championship game against the Seahawks that Dak Prescott gets hurt. Do you know who your knight in shining armor is in that moment? .

    The Cowboys have what is indisputably the best in the NFL with Tony Romo on the sidelines. Why would they jeopardize that? Let's not forget that Tony Romo, as much as we all love him, has been critically hurt in two of the last three regular season games that he's played (three out of six if you count the bits of 2016 ). Why would you jeopardize his health – which could be needed in the playoffs – for literally no gain?

    “The Cowboys Can Maximize Tony Romo's Trade Value By Him Playing Well”

    When you say that Romo shouldn't play a meaningless game, this is typically the response that you get. It is not practical or of sound reason.

    Could Tony Romo trot out during a meaningless game and play some of the finest football that we've ever seen, thus making whoever will want him this want him all the more? Sure. Anything can happen. But in your opinion is that likely? Would you even give it 50% chance of likelihood? Of course not, because you're someone who is practical and of sound reason.

    These are the possible results of Tony Romo playing in a meaningless game:

    1. He's awesome and improves his stock.
    2. He's not awesome and diminishes his trade stock.
    3. He gets hurt.

    Even if Option 1 was the result… how much is Tony Romo really going to improve his trade stock at this point? He's a very seasoned veteran, people know who he is. The best thing going for Tony Romo honestly might be that nobody has seen him play in over a year.

    Tony Romo's Mystery: Why It's A Good Thing

    The last time that Tony Romo took a regular season snap in the NFL was November 26th, 2015. That was a long time ago.

    If you fast forward to the offseason someone is going to have interest in him, we've already heard about the teams that supposedly do. The greatest thing Tony Romo has going for him right now is the element of surprise in that no one knows whether he can still do it at a high level anymore.

    Why is it a great thing? What if you're an NFL GM and, during a meaningless game, you find out Tony Romo can't do it anymore? It's an uncomfortable reality that we don't really want to come to terms with, but what if Tony Romo simply cannot get it done like he used to? This would explain why the team went with Dak Prescott, and playing Tony Romo for no reason flirts with a lot more negative repercussions than positive results.

    Tony Romo Or Mark Sanchez: That's What This Comes Down To

    We're back to where we started here and that's whether you would rather have Tony Romo or Mark Sanchez quarterbacking your Cowboys in the playoffs should Dak Prescott get hurt.

    Right now we believe that Tony Romo can still get it done at a high level, and dangling that potential lottery ticket over a flame of injury and accidents is not smart business. That's what this is all about – business. Playing Tony Romo in a completely meaningless game (which by the way would likely be IN Philadelphia) is going against the philosophy of preserving depth that this team has reaped the benefits from all season long.

    We all believe that Tony Romo still has a lot in the tank. This is exactly why if the Cowboys are in a meaningless game that they shouldn't risk him for the sake of maybe/possibly/hopefully improving his supposed trade stock. It's not smart business.

    Would you play Tony Romo in a completely meaningless game? Let us know! Comment below, Email me at, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

    RJ Ochoa
    RJ Ochoa
    I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!


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    Tommy (@TommyVictorySec)

    play @Romo to get rust off and increase trade value. the potential “risk” of injury should never be over riding factor


    Who is to say Romo does not go down in the playoffs? We still end up with Sanchez. Let him play to knock the rust off and get comfortable. A rusty QB coming in for playoffs is really dangerous.

    RJ Ochoa

    No one is saying that Romo won’t go down in the playoffs, but at least he’ll be available for them. Isn’t a rust Romo better than Sanchez? That’s the whole point.

    Mike Young

    My initial reaction is yes, play Romo who has been named backup. If the game is meaningless, then why risk injury to starter Prescott? Also, Romo gets snaps at “game speed” as preparation in case he’s needed. But on another level there is a case to be made for playing the starters even in a meaningless game. If we have a first round bye, then do the starters go three weeks without playing a game?

    RJ Ochoa

    I’m not advocating playing Dak over Romo in a potential meaningless game, I’m advocating keeping them both off the field and playing Sanchez. It goes without saying that getting Romo reps would be nice to have, but is it worth the risk that comes with trying to do that? That’s the question, and I don’t believe it is.

    Gary Barrett

    Whatever they decide they’d better not put him in w/o the rest of the starters. If it’s meaningless the starters won’t be playing and I wouldn’t put Romo in w/backups. Go Cowboys


    If they clinch home field throughout the playoffs, early, let’s say w/2 games left, then everyone knows the backup WILL play, regardless of the name on the back of the jersey. How much he’ll play is up to whatever criteria the coach goes by. If the wins continue I’m pretty certain we will see Tony out there, don’t think he’ll have the starting o-line but it’s going to get interesting. I think Tony is in the best shape he’s been since 2014, I think it’ll be exciting to see him at least one more time. Go Cowboys #Dak4MVP #Zeke4ROY

    RJ Ochoa

    This “regardless of the name on the back of the jersey” line isn’t how you run this type of situation. This isn’t some moment in high school football where you’re trying to be cliche and send a message. Romo isn’t a “name on the back of the jersey” type of guy- he’s a potential difference-maker. Because he is a potential ace card, you don’t risk him… especially to prove some “he’s a backup and the backups play” point.


    You sound more like a fan than a reporter which is fine with me. You sound nothing like a coach, to a “good” coach (Bill Bellichek comes to mind) the name on the jersey is completely and totally irrelevant. A backup is a backup is a backup and will be treated and utilized as such. Romo is the backup without benefit of real game action for a very long time. There is rust, when do you as a coach want to discover the rust and the extent of that rust? It’s not during the playoffs when the starter goes down. I’d suggest the view of the backup should concen a fan, teammate, coaches and owner to the extent of functionality instead of ambulatory. Romo has to get game action sometime before it matters, but Garrett has to know what he can still do. Is he tentative due to the psychology of injury, does he bail to early, can he regain effectiveness under fire? So many questions, so little time. You can wish Tony can go in and pick it up from 2014 but only delusion convinces you of it without evidence. As soon as Jerry Jones can talk or threaten Jason Garrett into playing Tony we’ll certainly see him prior to playoffs, regardless.
    Personally I’d like to see Tony start against the Giants for about a quarter and half, hoping he can build a quick lead. If so I’d bring Dak back for clock control utilizing the run and more designed qb runs. I’d have to try it if I was Garrett, I would be surprised if they haven’t considered something similar, it’d drive opposing coordinators and coaches nuts.
    #Dak4MVP #Zeke4ROY Go Cowboys

    RJ Ochoa

    The thing about this conversation is that neither one of us is a coach, a good coach, or Bill Belichick.

    If you want to micromanage this situation into simplicities with your “a backup is a backup is a backup and will be treated and utilized as such,” then that’s your decision; there are far larger stakes and considerations to be examined here.

    Is there a concern that Tony Romo has rust? Undeniably. This isn’t a situation with a perfect or flawless path of operation, we’re doing our best to maximize our odds of success.

    I have no wish, no desire, no inclination to see Tony Romo go pick it up from 2014 or to see the coaches flip-flop with him and Dak Prescott in New York against the Giants. My thought process is maximizing the chances of success in the games that matter, which would not be a meaningless game in Week 17 in Philadelphia.

    How would you feel with your “a backup is a backup is a backup and will be treated and utilized as such” mentality if you bring Tony Romo back in this game, he gets hurt, and then Dak got hurt in the NFC Championship Game? Would you be proud of playing the backup quarterback in the situation that called for it, or would you be wishing there had been a little bit more foresight… regardless if it was yours or Bill Belichick’s?


    I’ve been a coach for many years and think like one. I would play Romo without hesitation, if he gets hurt, he gets hurt. You have to play the game, you can’t predict injuries. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the Super Bowl and Dak gets hurt, Romo could go in and be hurt the very next play. No one can protect a player except by keeping him on the bench, actually he could be hurt on the sideline, stuff happens. #playtony #Dak4MVP #Zeke4ROY Go Cowboys

    RJ Ochoa

    That’s the other thing- if he’s going to play it’s likely going to be without Tyron, Dez, etc… that’s a horrible idea.