Why is it that coaches and general managers continue to think having a body around is “good enough” as a backup? The concept that you have a starter who will always play because he’s never going to get hurt is just not valid in the NFL.

When Tony Romo went down with a fractured collarbone last night, Jon Kitna came in to run the team. However, he’s not practiced (Romo runs the first team), he’s not of the same temperament (he’s much older) and he’s not as mobile. How is this a substitute?

A substitute anywhere else in the universe is “something that’s pretty close you use instead of what’s required.” A substitute for the Cowboys is “somebody that doesn’t cost too much.” Oops.

Didn’t we go through this the last time Romo got hurt? We had another elderly QB who I’m sure is good at team leadership but wasn’t very effective on the field.

If you have one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, you can only afford to have a recycled QB on the bench if your starter is never going to be gone for any length of time. Otherwise, it’s like replacing a Mac with a PC – they’re both computers, but none of your programs work.

This season was pretty much done before last night, but I’m pretty sure it’s over now. Maybe this time (third time’s a charm), the Cowboys will get a backup that is similar, just not as good and not completely different.

Perhaps the problem is the term itself – “substitute” or “second-string” sounds like a lesser quantity. A better term would be “understudy” – someone who knows the role intimately and is ready to take over at a moment’s notice and perform almost as well as the principal without changing any of the parts. Unfortunately, we don’t have an understudy for Tony Romo.

One thought on “Substitutes”

  1. In the NFL today there is not enough quarterback talent to put a quality starter on every team let alone have backups that can truly run the team. Also with the salary cap structure, teams generally don’t put a ton of money in to the backup QB position as you are usually in trouble anyway if the backup has to play for any significant amount of time.

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