COMMENTARY | Okay, call me suspicious. But I can't help but wonder if the Philadelphia Eagles are getting played here as they prepare for Sunday night's showdown with the Dallas Cowboys for the National Football Conference East title.
However, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones refused to rule out Romo, saying he would continue getting treatment through the week.
Really? Herniated disc? Continue getting treatment? To paraphrase a famous professional wrestling expression, can you smell what the Cowboys are cooking?
Eagles, I have two words for you - Willis Reed.
Let me take you back to 1970 - Game 7 of the National Basketball Association Finals, New York Knicks vs. Los Angeles Lakers. Knicks' star center Willis Reed had torn a muscle in his right thigh in Game 5, but the Knicks survived in his stead to win that game. Then the Lakers rolled in Game 6 behind an unstoppable Wilt Chamberlain. It didn't look good for the Knicks entering Game 7 because it appeared impossible for Reed to return.
Then just moments before tipoff, Willis Reed came limping out of the locker room and Madison Square Garden erupted. Willis scored the first two baskets of the game and dragged his injured leg up and down the floor for most of the first quarter. The inspired Knicks took total control and the Lakers never threatened. Check it out on YouTube. It's one of the greatest of sports stories.
Hey Chip Kelly and company, are you hearing me clear enough? WILLIS REED!!!
Think this is a stretch? Let's look at the situation. The Eagles are coming off an impressive 54-11 throttling of the same Chicago Bears who bashed the Cowboys just three weeks ago, 45-28. These are the same Cowboys who blew a 26-3 halftime lead and lost a home game to the Green Bay Packers, 37-37, just two weeks ago. These are the same Cowboys who needed a Romo touchdown pass on a fourth-down-and-12 play to squeak by the 3-12 Washington Redskins last weekend.
These are the same Eagles who have won six of their last seven games behind the media's NFL darling of the year, quarterback Nick Foles, who has cranked out incredible passing numbers after even he doubted his ability to function successfully in a Chip Kelly-designed offense. These are the same Eagles who came out in Monday's early betting line as 2½-point favorites for Sunday's game in Dallas, where the Cowboys have lost two games this season by a total of four points. That was before the news about Romo's injury.
So you can see this epic showdown wasn't setting up very well for the Cowboys anyway. Now Romo appears to be unavailable. Dallas must turn to backup quarterback Kyle Orton, the same Kyle Orton who got pushed out of a job in Denver in 2011 by Tim Tebow of all people.
I mean, isn't it time for drastic measures? Can you imagine the reaction in AT&T Stadium on Sunday night if Tony Romo would come limping out of the locker room in uniform just before kickoff, ready to put it all on the line for his team and his city? Can you imagine the inspiration for this struggling team if Romo would manage to connect on a few passes and the Cowboys score on their first possession?
Willis Reed didn't have to play a lot (27 of 48 minutes). He just had to give it a go heroically. His teammates' adrenalin took care of the rest. Can Romo duplicate that kind of heroism?
I know what you're thinking. He wouldn't get such an opportunity in today's safety-conscious NFL, would he? League officials would never allow Romo to go out on the field if he was putting himself at any sort of risk, would they?
If it comes to that, maybe the Cowboys pull a reverse Willis Reed. They build him up all week and make it appear like he'll play. He comes out with his team like he normally does and then as the Cowboys line up for their first offensive play, there's no Romo.
Why should this be a concern? Eagles, I have two words for you - Adrian Peterson.
That one game the Eagles have lost in their last seven was on the road against the 4-10 Minnesota Vikings. Peterson, one of the NFL's premier running backs and by far the Vikings best player, tried all week to get past a foot injury in order to play. On game day, he couldn't go. So the Eagles came out flat and laid an inexplicable egg, giving up 48 points in a bad loss.
Need I say more?
Ted Williams lives in Emmaus, PA and is a lifetime Eagles follower. He spent 20 years in print journalism, winning state and national awards.
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