Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will embark on their historic 22nd season together when the pair is on the call for ESPN’s first edition of Monday Night Football for the 2023 NFL season. Buck and Aikman are fortunate that they’ll be able to call Aaron Rodgers’ first regular season game in a different uniform when the New York Jets play host to the Buffalo Bills next Monday.
Aikman has now spent a decade longer in the broadcast booth than he did under center. However, the Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback recently revealed on The Adam Schefter Podcast that he nearly extended his NFL career beyond that of 12 seasons.
Aikman revealed on Schefter’s podcast that he seriously considered coming out of retirement to play for the Miami Dolphins.
“I had a chance initially and I was gonna do it quite honestly,” he told Schefter. “I was gonna come back and the Dolphins were looking at me. Dave Wannstedt was the head coach. Norv Turner was the offensive coordinator. I had trained that offseason, prepared to come back and play. And they felt like they were a quarterback away from achieving what they wanted to do.”
Turner served as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator from 1991-93 while Wannstedt was the defensive coordinator in Dallas from 1989-92. Turner oversaw an offense led by Aikman that won consecutive Super Bowls in ‘92 and ‘93.
“So, I was gonna do it,” Aikman said of coming out of retirement. “I thought, ‘Well, I’ll give it a shot.’ Rick Speilman was the general manager (Speilman was the Senior vice president of football operations and became the GM a season later in 2004) and he ultimately was the one, I believe, that decided not to sign me, which was probably a good thing from their perspective. And it was a great thing from my perspective because they weren’t a quarterback away. I think they won six games that year. They were not very good. It all worked out just fine.”
The Dolphins went 10-6 in 2003 with Jay Fiedler at the helm but missed the playoffs due to a tiebreaker to the Denver Broncos. But still, Aikman seemingly made the right call considering he was able to get his broadcasting career jump started shortly thereafter and form an ongoing partnership of 22 years with Buck.
Schefter asked Aikman if he would have seriously chosen to play for Wannstedt over working with Buck, and Troy had some jokes.
“I don’t like the way you phrased that,” Aikman jokingly told Schefter. “I would hope that I would be able to come back, but that’s part of it as well. I did know it was not an easy decision because you got a great job and you don’t just leave and then come right back.”
He continued, “As you know, these network jobs like this, they’re hard to come by. It’s something that never happened. I’m glad it didn’t. Here we are talking to you on a podcast.”
Aikman said when he left the game, he knew he was done, even though there was a chance later in his retirement for Troy to come back and play. This was about the never-ending speculation that Tom Brady would entertain the idea to come out of retirement for a second time. Aikman indicated that he was “emotionally spent” when he retired, and that could be a similar feeling for Brady, who’s insistent that he’s done with football just as Aikman was in 2003.