Last night, in the first quarter of the Cowboys’ preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, Tony Romo hurt his back while trying to slide after a scramble but instead kind of falling awkwardly and getting folded up by the Seahawks’ Cliff Avril. Cowboys fans freaked out. I guess it looked worse than it was, because Romo wanted to go back in but the team (smartly, somehow) wouldn’t let him. After relieving Romo, rookie QB Dak Prescott once again looked pretty solid.
I thought about it last night, and I thought about it some more this morning, and I suppose the best way to put my feelings about Romo getting injured is “delighted.” Because now — oh, yes — the dire wolf of chaos is knocking on our door. [fans self so intensely I briefly levitate] YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Let us, in fact, do this.
Would I describe myself as a Cowboys fan? No, not since, I don’t know, 1993? Somewhere around there. So you should read the rest of this knowing that I maybe don’t have the team’s best interests at heart.
You should also probably know that, these days, honestly, I don’t think I would even describe myself as a football fan. I don’t want to be a downer, but it’s getting increasingly difficult — if it is even possible — to separate the big hits and such from the long-term damage they inflict on the players.
But you know what I do love? Chaos. What do I love about it? [turns chair around, leans into your tape recorder] To begin with? Everything.
A quarterback controversy in Dallas — that, my friend, is the dictionary definition of chaos. (Actually, do me a favor and don’t look it up right now.) When something that is scarcely even newsworthy happens — like, say, Dez Bryant yelling at a reporter or whatever — ESPN covers it like an active shooter situation and Ed Werder gets all high and mighty and mustache-y while standing in a parking lot. Nothing really happens and still you get a legion of reporters and anchors and lots of scrolling nothing-new quotes and split screens and all that business. It is dumb as hell and it happens at least once or twice a season.
So can you imagine what would happen if something legitimately interesting occurred?
Imagine this scenario: Romo is not 100-percent for Week 1 but starts anyway. After just getting off a left-handed pass to Jason Witten, he gets hit in the back by Jason Pierre-Paul and is knocked out of the game. In comes Prescott, who goes 22 for 28, with two touchdowns in the air and another one rushing in a Cowboys victory.
On Wednesday, Romo declares himself healthy enough to start, but at his press conference, coach Jason Garrett refuses to name a starter for the next week’s game against the Redskins. On Friday, Garrett says he will hold out Romo “as a precautionary measure,” and Prescott will start.
He does so, and again looks pretty good, while Fox cameras cut to a stone-faced Romo about 45,000 times and the announce team analyzes his body language so much they miss a Prescott TD pass to Bryant. Fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott effusively praises Prescott after the game, calling him “my quarterback.”
Can you imagine the locust cloud of media that would descend on Dallas the following Monday? Frisco Mayor Maher Maso would have to almost declare a state of emergency because his streets are so overrun with reporters. And the sports talk shows! That’s all they’d talk about, some defending Romo, others big-upping Prescott, and then switching positions just for variety. ESPN would open a new facility here. Maybe Fox, too. Skip Bayless would lose his mind, or lose what he calls his mind. Stephen A. Smith would end up arguing with himself.
I’m so excited for this I find I can’t sit still or keep a thought in my head. I hope I get to see my old friend chaos and shake his hand. I hope Skip Bayless’ bulging forehead vein is as blue as it has been in my dreams.