When Troy Aikman retired from professional football after 12 seasons in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys, many around the league believed he still had a few years of football to play left in him. Aikman retired from the NFL when he was just 35 years old and would have likely played longer if it were not for the multiple concussions he sustained over his career.
Following his time out on the football field, the former Cowboys quarterback began to do a bit of broadcasting work for Fox’s NFL team. Back in 2002 while Aikman was calling a game in San Diego, he got a phone call that almost led to the quarterback putting his pads back on.
“We got to halftime and my producer got into my ear and said, ‘Hey, I need you to call this number.’ I said, ‘Well who is it?’ He said, ‘Well, it’s (Philadelphia Eagles head coach) Andy Reid.’ I said, ‘Oh man.’ He said, ‘He says he wants you to call him at halftime.’
So I went outside and I got (Reid) on the phone.
He said, ‘I want to talk to you about coming to Philadelphia.’ I said, ‘Andy, we’re in the middle of a broadcast. It’s halftime right now.’ He said, ‘I know, I’m watching the game.’ So I said, ‘OK, (I’ll) call you after the game.’”
Reid was in dire need of a quarterback during the 2002 season after Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb suffered a broken ankle in game that took place during the later part of the year. Philadelphia was 7-3 and poised to make a run at the Super Bowl at the time of the injury.
Apparently, Reid thought Aikman could come and fill in for McNabb and still be able to lead the Eagles into the playoffs.
Well, Aikman decided to pass on Reid’s offer and stay in the broadcast booth. Philadelphia did fine in McNabb’s absence, too, as they finished the season by winning five of their last six games and made it all the way to that year’s NFC Championship.
If Aikman decided to come back to the field in 2002, it would have been incredibly awkward to see him in an Eagles uniform. Especially since Philadelphia was one of the quarterback’s biggest rivals during his NFL career.
But who knows, maybe he could have came back and had a Brett Favre 2009-esque type season for the Eagles in 2002? However, that scenario never came to fruition since Aikman chose to develop into a successful NFL color commentator and then get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Ultimately, not suiting up for Philadelphia may have been an easy decision.