Dallas Cowboys Week 5: A Battle Of Eastern Illinois Quarterbacks


The 2015 NFL regular season is still months away, but already there’s plenty of intrigue if you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan. The schedule has been out for a few weeks now, but there’s an interesting little wrinkle if we look closely at Week 5.

How unusual is it that we could see a rare match-up between two starting quarterbacks from the same college program?

More from The Landry Hat

Even more bizarre is that both quarterbacks might very well have attended little-known Eastern Illinois University of the Ohio Valley Conference.

The NFL announced this week New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended for four games once the season begins, basically because he’s a confirmed cheat. This, as of right now, means that Brady will miss the Week 5 meeting with the Cowboys at the venue formerly known as Cowboys Stadium – the Pats have their bye week on Week 4.

A head-to-head match-up between two quarterbacks from the same university has certainly happened, but never between two NFL passers from EIU.

Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo is obviously one half of this potential match-up.

But second-year veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, a second-round draft choice of New England in the 2014 NFL Draft, stands to be lining up under center in this contest, obviously with no video cameras filming Dallas’ signals and quite certainly with properly inflated footballs.

Granted, things could change and Brady could end up winning his appeal for a lighter punishment for cheating. He could absolutely be heading into his first or second game of the season by the time the Cowboys and Patriots square off on Sunday, October 11 at 3:35pm CDT.

But what if Brady is still on the shelf?

You have to admit that this contest against New England just got even more enticing.

Romo against any backup quarterback in the league, especially behind the Cowboys offensive line right now, is generally a big positive for Dallas fans. For a team that’s in “win now” mode, as Dallas certainly is, each and every win is a precious commodity and there’s no apology necessary for a single one of them. They just don’t play enough games in the NFL for that.

We all know what Romo is capable of.

But Garoppolo is a different story.

The similarities between these two passers begins and ends with the fact that they were both award winning quarterbacks at EIU.

Both won the Walter Payton Award following their senior seasons and secured numerous other accomplishments within the OVC.

Romo did have his number (17) retired and was a three time OVC Player of the Year.

In the NFL, the differences are basically night and day when it comes to experience, mileage and so forth. Garoppolo does have that ring from last season’s Super Bowl win, but in this case coming up, he’ll be needed badly to help defend the Patriots status as world champions, let alone help them to drive towards another.

If this match-up actually takes place, a number of things will have lined up just right for it to happen. Both quarterbacks have to stay healthy, remain on the roster and obviously the Brady suspension must hold up – I have my doubts about this, but I’ve never really been confused as being “Mr. Optimist.”

Either way, this is one of those rare meetings – it’s not like Dallas and New England play each other often – that certainly entices the phrase “licking your chops” when viewing the possibilities that exist. Tell me that new Cowboys pass rushers like DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory won’t want a piece of this stage.

Not to sell Garoppolo short by any means, but will his limited experience last season during the Patriots questionable drive towards another Super Bowl win place him anywhere near Romo and his long list of accomplishments? After all, the younger of these two EIU quarterbacks does have a career passer rating of 101.2, right?

Sorry, I have to go with Dallas in this game, even if it is way too early for predictions.

Next: Why 2015 Marks Start Of Dallas Cowboys Dynasty