So we can all agree Tony Romo is injury prone at this point of his career, right? The Cowboys quarterback hasn't played a full season since 2012 and has less years with 16 games (4) than he does with less than 16 games (5) since becoming Dallas' full-time starter.
A 2010 collarbone injury limited Romo to just six games and in 2015 multiple collarbone injuries limited the 36-year-old to four games. He is not going to magically get healthier on the wrong side of 35.
And yet, Romo is incredibly optimistic about what happened last year, calling the duel collarbone injuries "an anomaly."
"I guess what I'm trying to say, basically, is I feel like last year was an anomaly," Romo told DallasCowboys.com. "If we're going to base it all on that, you have to come back and prove differently. But the fact that we went 4-12, whether I was playing or not -- we have to do better. I think part of that is me being healthy, I think part of that is guys getting better and improving."
See, there's the thing about an anomaly ... it doesn't happen twice in the span of a couple years. And it definitely doesn't happen twice in the span of two months. Romo suffered the initial collarbone injury against the Eagles in Week 2 (a win to put the Cowboys at 2-0) and then rushed back to try and help Dallas win a very putrid NFC East. He made it back for the Dolphins game (another Cowboys win, third of the season!) before getting knocked around by the Panthers on Thanksgiving and suffering the same injury.
And, yes, maybe he won't suffer the same injury again in 2016. That's entirely possible.
"I understand where I'm at in my career. I also understand that -- I was hurt and banged up last year, but it's a collarbone," Romo said. "I don't think my collarbone is going to be anything that takes you out every year that you play football."
But pretending at the age of 36 like 2015 didn't happen (much less 2010) and that he'll just be healthy because that was a freak injury -- well, that's a great attitude to have if you're auditioning for a part in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Not so much for an aging quarterback, even one who thinks he can play for another four or five years (totally possible, not entirely probable). He had shoulder surgery this offseason, and while the Cowboys also brought in Dak Prescott in order to set themselves up for the future, it's pretty clear how much of the Cowboys season in 2016 hinges on Romo's health.
If he can play, they'll be very good, and if he can't, they'll struggle again. Dallas' dependency on their quarterback makes him very much an underrated MVP candidate. And it also might be why the best way to deal with his injury history is the tried-and-true method of sticking fingers in ears and screaming loudly.