Jerry Jones, owner of the red-hot Cowboys, unexpectedly hit it big with rookie Dak Prescott in the fourth round but still has an expected soft spot for deposed long-time starter Tony Romo.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily News in his midtown Manhattan hotel room Thursday afternoon, Jones made two predictions:
— There’s going to be a situation where Romo steps in and helps Dallas in its quest to get to Super Bowl LI in Houston.
— Even if Romo is the backup going into the offseason, Jones believes he will be able to talk him out of demanding a trade or his release so he can join a team where he could start.
If Romo gets into a meaningful regular season or playoff game in the next two months, it’s either because Prescott is injured or he is playing so poorly that Romo comes in to try and keep the season alive.
“I think Romo is going to get his opportunity,” Jones said. “I don’t want it to happen. But I think he may get his opportunity to get us a Super Bowl. While that’s a mixed bag when I think about it — that means you don’t have Dak out there — but it means, what a story, one for the ages, if he’d step in there and this year help us win a Super Bowl on the field with his skill. That can happen here. We’re not talking about a bus driver out there. We’re talking about a guy who can go out there and move our team.”
The Cowboys are 11-1 without Romo. Last year, they were 1-11 without him. Prescott has won 11 consecutive games, more than Hall of Famers Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, more than Romo, more than any quarterback in Cowboys history.
Dallas can clinch the NFC East on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium with a victory over the Giants, and naturally Jones is in football heaven: Prescott is playing great and Romo, once he was back in uniform on Nov. 20 after suffering a compression fracture in his back this summer, has accepted his backup role and this week has been playing Eli Manning on the scout team.
Jones is not sticking pins in a Prescott voodoo doll. He’s all-in on the rookie. But there is precedent for exactly what Jones was talking about Thursday.
Tom Brady took over after Drew Bledsoe suffered a sheared blood vessel in his chest late in the second game of the 2001 season against the Jets. He didn’t play again until Brady injured his ankle in the first half of the AFC Championship Game. Bledsoe was a big reason New England won that game. Brady returned for the Super Bowl and led a game-winning drive to beat the Rams.
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SOURCE: NY Daily News, Gary Myers