What has seemed inevitable for much of the week has finally been confirmed—Tony Romo's season is over after he underwent back surgery on Friday morning.
Head coach Jason Garrett made the announcement to the media on Friday, which was then passed along by the official Twitter account of the Dallas Cowboys:
Garrett says Romo underwent back surgery and will be placed on IR— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) December 27, 2013
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com has more of Garrett's comments:
Jason Garrett: “We anticipate surgery solving the issue he had in the game last Sunday.” Won’t say if he’ll be ready by camp— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 27, 2013
Jason Garrett says while Romo has had two back surgeries, the two are “unrelated.” He’s comfortable he’ll come back 100 percent.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 27, 2013
And ESPN.com's Calvin Watkins has a bit more on the timing of the surgery and the timetable for Romo's return:
Doctors told Romo he needed the surgery sooner rather than later.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) December 27, 2013
Cowboys officials expect Romo to be ready for OTAs next spring.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) December 27, 2013
While the Cowboys tried to give the impression that Romo might be able to play against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night with the NFC East title and a playoff spot on the line, it was reported on December 24 by Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN that Romo is out for the season and needs surgery for a herniated disk.
Surely, Dallas delayed announcing the inevitable about Romo in the hopes that the Eagles would prepare for both the incumbent and his backup at quarterback, Kyle Orton. According to Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer, however, the Eagles have been preparing for Orton all week:
So it's officially K. Orton. Eagles have been preparing for him all week. Defensive staff has gone back and watched Orton on film.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) December 27, 2013
There's a bit of tragic irony in the fact that a week after Romo—playing injured—essentially saved the Cowboys season with a late-game comeback against divisional rival Washington, he won't be able to play against Philadelphia with a playoff berth on the line. This is the third straight year that the Cowboys have had a chance to win the division on the last game of the season.
The Cowboys previously lost to the New York Giants and Washington in those contests.
For Romo, his surgery on Friday ends another statistically successful but perhaps ultimately disappointing season.
He threw for 3,828 yards, 31 touchdowns, just 10 interceptions and completed 63.9 percent of his passes, but costly interceptions in close games versus the Green Bay Packers in Week 15 and Denver Broncos in Week 5 added to the narrative that Romo isn't clutch, however overdone.
The pressure regularly heaped on Romo's shoulders now falls to Orton against a tough Eagles team. Orton hasn't started a game for the Cowboys in his two seasons with the team.