A number of big names can hear the clock ticking in regards to their pursuit of an NFL title. Which ones are under the most heat?
Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys
Three-straight years just missing the playoffs is three fewer opportunities to reach the Super Bowl that has eluded Tony Romo since he took over the Dallas Cowboys in 2006. At age 34 his body has taken a serious pounding over the year, culminating most recently in back surgery. His team doesn’t look much better than it did a year ago and he doesn’t have time on his side. If he’s ever going to do it, then Romo needs to erase the stigma of big game failures in 2014.
Wes Welker – Denver Broncos
He has been arguably the best slot receiver for an entire decade but Wes Welker won’t remember his career for that. His memories will be haunted by three gut wrenching Super Bowl failures that include two heartbreakers against Eli Manning and the Giants and a spirit breaker against the Seattle Seahawks back in February. Worse yet his role could begin to diminish with the Denver Broncos this NFL season. It may be the last chance he will have to get a ring before teams begin to phase him out at age 33.
Jared Allen – Chicago Bears
The longtime sack master gave his best years to the Minnesota Vikings but at age 32 it was clear to Jared Allen that if he was ever going to get a shot at the Super Bowl, he had to join a team that could contend right away. His choice proved unconventional and unusual in the Chicago Bears who haven’t reached the playoffs since 2010. Allen believes however that with a talented, experienced offense in place his prowess as a pass rusher will prove most useful. It is a big gamble by the man called the “Mullet.” His window is certainly open, but not for very long.
Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers
Despite sitting atop arguably the most talented roster in the NFL, running back Frank Gore has watched his best seasons get wasted in brutal postseason defeats. The Pro Bowl running back has carried the 49ers offense for years but at age 31 his hold on the starting job is starting to slip with a full stable of young backs behind him on the depth chart. A player at his position only gets so many cracks at the prize, and he’s running out fast.