Tony Romo’s season should be over. The Cowboys’ star quarterback suffered a hairline fracture of his collarbone during the team’s Thanksgiving Day loss to Carolina, and with a timetable of six to eight weeks for his return, it would take a miracle for him to make it back for any of the team’s final five games.
Despite this, Dallas has no intention of placing Romo on the season-ending injured reserve just yet. Why? Well, because the team doesn’t want to end Romo’s season just in case it makes the postseason. No, seriously.
This is an ultra-optimistic way of handling Romo’s injury, and in a way it makes sense. Sure, Dallas is only 3-8 on the season, but the two teams at the top of its division – the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins – are both 5-6. The Cowboys are in a tie for last place in the NFC, so getting a wild card spot is almost certainly unattainable, but there is a very realistic scenario in which the team can win out and claim the NFC East. The thing that may help Dallas the most is that it has two games against Washington on the horizon, and if it is able to win both of those, that would be a huge boost to whatever slim playoff chances the team already possesses.
Having said all of that, it would still take a surge by the Cowboys and a collapse by the other three teams in the division for this decision to make sense. While the optimism from the Cowboys’ front office is admirable, there’s a good chance that it won’t end up mattering in a few weeks.