On March 29, the Duke University Blue Devils faced a steep obstacle in their Elite 8 match-up against the Gonzaga University Bulldogs. In the previous five years, the Blue Devils had failed to reach the final four, a great failure in the eyes of fans and coach Mike Krzyzewski, who admitted prior to Sunday’s match-up that they would need a miraculous luck charm in order to return to the big stage. To fulfill this promise, the Blue Devils invited NFL players Tony Romo and Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys, along with head coach Jason Garrett to their Elite 8 match-up in Houston.
Romo and Witten, winners of only one NFL playoff game in their time so far with the Dallas Cowboys, proved to be surefire luck charms for the Duke Blue Devils, a squad that has been eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament in their previous two appearances.
“We’re just big fans of their accomplishments. We feel like we share a bond having been eliminated in the first stages of our respective postseasons. Now that we’re back in the elite 8, we figured that their combined success and similar experiences would result in a victory,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a pre-game press conference.
To the surprise of no one, the Devils defeated the Bulldogs 66-52. However, it wasn’t until five minutes left, when Witten and Romo re-located their seats, that the Devils officially pulled away and earned the victory.
“In the first half and a majority of the second, Jason and I sat in the eighth row behind the Gonzaga bench. This wasn’t working though, as the game was tied at 50 with seven minutes left. We decided to move to the Duke section only one row behind the players. As soon as we did this, the Dukies pulled away. At this moment, Jason and I knew that we were entirely responsible for the Dukies’ legendary victory,” Romo told CBS Sports in a post-game interview.
Of course, Duke Plans to bring this luck-filled duo again with them to the final four this weekend, where they will battle off against Michigan State’s prime cheerleader Magic Johnson, a player that Romo and Witten argue is less successful and less of a luck charm than their powerful dynamic and repeated history of losses in the NFL playoffs.