Tom Bogert, CBS Local Sports

A proud Tony Romo took to the podium to face the media and tell them, in his own words, his feelings on the season and how he’ll gladly hold Dak Prescott’s clipboard as the rookie has exponentially exceeded expectations, and has been handed the role of starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys indefinitely.

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With every win, the question was asked: will Jerry Jones really bench this guy when Romo is finally healthy?

Steadfast, Jones responded that he’d stick with his guy. Until, finally, he acquiesced to the admission that Prescott would be the starter. Prescott, for his credit, had never wavered from the stance that ‘this is Tony’s team, I’m just care taking until he’s fit again.’

Naturally, all eyes continued to mercilessly beam at Romo. He seemed to get as much camera time during the game as Prescott. The media has had an insatiable desire to hear from him– he even joked that ESPN’s Ed Werder has been texting him on the hour, every hour, like clock work.

Romo decided to read his prepared statement to the media rather than take questions. Like the consummate professional he is, Dallas’ seemingly cursed quarterback removed any scintilla of doubt that he might cause a distraction. If there’s to be a distraction, it’ll be generated by the media or fans.

Tony Romo Reads Statement Regarding QB Role

But when Romo was speaking, there was a somber aura permeating his words. It was just plain sad. He may well be the unluckiest quarterback of this generation; I’m unsure who else would even be in the running.

Finally, Dallas has a championship caliber team around him, only to be ripped away by a back injury in preseason. In years prior, the backups have let him down and handed him back a team without the chance to make the playoffs. This year, his backup was too good and it’ll leave Romo on the bench, without the chance to lead that well positioned team in the playoffs.

Watching all this unfold makes you think: what quarterbacks in the NFL would be immune to Prescott’s ascendance? Are there a handful of guys that’d get their job back, no matter what? More? Less?

There are a few elite arms in the league who’d stave off the youth revolt and push Prescott back to the bench, as well as other young, promising quarterbacks.

The Older Elites, ‘No Question About It’ Tier

Tom Brady

This is easy, we’ve already seen this show.

Jimmy Garoppolo looked fantastic in his first two starts (before being injured), but there were never any real questions who’d be starting in week five when the Patriots traveled to Cleveland.

Of course it was Brady, and of course he may be the only person in the world to have been 38 years old, take four weeks off work and not lose an iota of ability, timing or accrue any semblance of rust. He had 400 yards and 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.

You may be thinking ‘well, Browns” but, #AngryTomBrady may well be the scariest entity in the NFL right now, right next to Zeke Elliot running downfield.

Aaron Rodgers

Granted, he hasn’t been his usual self this year but if we’re all being judged on the Aaron Rodgers scale then none of us would measure up. It’s just a losing battle. He’s the paragon of arm ability in the NFL.

If Prescott had been starting for the Green Bay Packers this season in lieu of Rodgers, would they be any better than 4-5? No, because Rodgers isn’t afforded what may be the greatest offensive line of all time to be protected like they’re the NFL’s version of the secret service.

Ben Roethlisberger

The Roethlisberger case is tricky, it nearly mirrors Romo. Both are in their mid 30’s, have been synonymous with their franchises and cities and also haven’t always been around due to injuries. The chief difference between their injuries is that it seems Roethlisberger misses a game or two here and there as opposed to Romo typically missing large chunks of action.

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Roethlisberger wouldn’t be holding a clipboard when active because he’s two years younger than Romo and has a championship pedigree to fall back on. Irrespective of the fact if that’s actually an efficient way to judge quarterbacks, to assign full credit or blame for wins and loses despite the glut of uncontrollable factors, it’s the world we live in. And it buys you something.

The In Their Prime Stars

Cam Newton

It’s a specious endeavor, one I do far too much with many quarterbacks, but imagine Newton behind Dallas’ offensive line? It’d be glorious. It’d be unfair. It’d be fun. Too fun, in fact, that Roger Goodell would likely mandate that the Panthers would only be allowed four linemen rather than five.

Last year’s MVP is just 27 years old, he’s got a decade ahead of him at this level.


Russell Wilson

Wilson has been hampered by injuries some this year but still wouldn’t be usurped by Prescott. However, if Seattle could call on Prescott for a week, maybe that could have helped expedite Wilson’s recovery rather than him having to play through it most of the season.

He’s still not 100%, but he’s still not going anywhere.

Andrew Luck

Luck has long been the heir apparent to the NFL’s quarterback throne, though he hasn’t quite hit the lofty heights that he’s been billed for since Stanford, he still hasn’t hit his apotheosis yet.

In September he turned 27 and is more likely to age well compared to Wilson or Newton, due to the way they play.

Derek Carr

Carr was nearly in the next tier, but he’s played even better than Prescott this season and is a legitimate candidate for MVP.

To date, he has 2,505 yards plus 17 touchdowns with just 3 interceptions. He’s taken a leap and so have the Oakland Raiders (finally).

The ‘We Invested Too Much Into These Young Guys To Give Up Now’ Tier

Jameis Winston

Marcus Mariota

We’ll lump these two together as they went numbers one and two in the 2015 draft.

Both players had standard rookie seasons, filled with some mistakes but more than enough reasons for optimism. Both have moved forward this term, but showed more than enough last year to justify their status as potential franchise saviors.

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Carson Wentz just misses the cut because if he hadn’t played this season, there’d still be doubts about his pedigree.