Commentary

12 things: Indispensable NFL players

A dozen of the pros that teams just can't survive without

Updated: October 29, 2010, 4:24 PM ET
By David Fleming | ESPN The Magazine
Tony RomoRay Carlin/Icon SMITony Romo is just one of the countless players NFL teams can't afford to lose.

It took less than two seconds for unblocked Giants linebacker Michael Boley to launch Dallas QB Tony Romo off his feet and onto the sideline with a broken left collarbone. But in today's NFL that's all the time it takes to blow up a play, a game, a season -- maybe even an entire franchise.

As a prostrate Romo lay there, sprawled out on the Texas turf, you could almost feel the Cowboys' grand plans slip away into the ether. And by the time his X-rays were complete, fans had already dealt with it and apparently moved on, chanting, "Let's go, Rangers!"

Most NFL QBs are indispensable; we know that. Lose one, lose the season. But the scene with Romo -- the sheer speed at which everything the Cowboys had built was destroyed -- had to make you wonder: What other players across the league, if lost, would pretty much end their team's chances right then and there?

There are dozens of irreplaceable players across the league, but here's my list of the first 12.


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