The Dallas Cowboys' playoff hopes received a major blow on Monday. According to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, quarterback Tony Romo will miss the remainder of the season, including Week 17's mammoth winner-take-all matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, because of a back injury:
Naturally, Twitter exploded.
Shortly after Schefter broke the story, his ESPN colleague, Chris Mortensen, reported that Romo is suffering from a herniated disc in his back and will need surgery at some point:
However, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport quoted Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett when clarifying that the team has yet to shut down Romo for Week 17 and beyond:
CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora confirmed the previous reports, though, suggesting that Romo will likely miss Dallas' regular-season finale, opening the door for backup quarterback Kyle Orton to start under center:
Garrett addressed the media shortly after Schefter's report.
If Romo undergoes back surgery, he's likely to be out several months, per NFL on ESPN on Twitter:
ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon points out the harsh turn of events for Romo:
Once a consensus on Romo's status was reached, The Fake ESPN wasted little time in taking a shot at the injured signal-caller and another oft-criticized sports star:
Like many, Bleacher Report's Cian Fahey highlighted Romo's seemingly lose-lose predicament:
ESPN's Michael Smith was among the few who were praising Romo's toughness after the reports surfaced:
The NFL on FOX provides a rarely talked-about stat that shows just how solid Romo has been over the course of his 11-year career:
But according to SportsCenter on Twitter, the Cowboys will be up against the odds in Week 17 regardless of whether Romo or backup Kyle Orton starts under center:
ESPN sports business journalist Darren Rovell reports that Romo's status has made the Eagles mighty favorites to win in Week 17 and suggests the long-term implications of the quarterback's health:
The Cowboys (8-7) will host the Eagles (9-6) on Sunday Night Football in the final week of the regular season. The winner will win the NFC East division and secure a home playoff game in January.
Philadelphia hasn't won the division or reached the postseason since 2010, while Dallas has missed out on the playoffs in each of the past three seasons since last winning the NFC East in 2009.