In 2001, NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe began that season as the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots. He just signed a 10-year, $103 million contract in March of that year and was poised to be the franchise quarterback. In the second game of that season, Bledsoe was injured and would then be replaced by sixth round draft pick Tom Brady. The rest, as they say, is history, in which Brady has won four Super Bowls and two NFL MVP’s. Brady served as a blessing in disguise for the Patriots. The Dallas Cowboys can relate to this scenario wholeheartedly as they witnessed Dak Prescott take the job from injured long-time Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and led the Cowboys to a number one seed in this year’s playoffs. Prescott, who was the Cowboys fourth round selection in this years NFL Draft, led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record, before losing in their divisional match-up against the Green Bay Packers.
But Prescott should be far from disappointed in his season. Like Brady 15 years prior, Prescott and his Cowboys didn’t have any expectations to succeed this year. The Cowboys, although featured the best offensive line in football and a stout defense, still had to rely on Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott. The two surprised the league this season, with Elliott leading the Cowboys and the league in rushing with 1,631 yards and 16 total touchdowns. Prescott completed 67.8 percent of his passes, 3,667 yards with 23 touchdowns, and only four interceptions. Those are stats coming from a player who projected to only be Romo’s backup. Truth be told, Prescott isn’t supposed to be here.
With plenty of time left in his career, Prescott has shown he can become the franchise quarterback the Dallas Cowboys will need. With Romo potentially gone, the Cowboys will look to build around Prescott. It also appears Prescott is more than ready for the position.
Prescott said he can’t remember the last time he was nervous before game.
He views nervousness as a lack of preparedness.
He burns off steam during the pregame warm-ups so he can focus on the task at hand.
But there will be no pep talks, no yoga exercises and no meditating.
“I’m sure I have been nervous at some point in time,” Prescott said.
“For the most part when it comes to this game, it’s always just been excitement.”
“This is the thing I love to do most. So any time I get a chance, an opportunity to play this game, whether it’s at practice or it’s in front of thousands of people, playoff game, regular-season game, preseason. I’m thankful to be in this position.”
Prescott’s lack of nervousness is probably because of his uncommon poise. The composure, maturity and work ethic he has shown have allowed him to go from a fourth-round, third-string, practice squad project to having the best statistical season of any rookie quarterback in NFL history.
Prescott set rookie records for quarterback rating (104.9), completion percentage (67.8), fewest interceptions (4), most games with a 70.0 completion percentage (7), and most games with 100.0 passer rating (11). He also tied Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie record for wins (13)
Although the Cowboys suffered a loss, this game may serve as a prelude for what’s to come for Prescott and the Cowboys. The Cowboys have a bright future with Prescott and Elliott on hand, so optimism should still fill the air in Dallas and in the minds of all Cowboys fans all over. With more work, development and chemistry building with his offense, we could see Prescott become the next great Cowboys quarterback. Or better yet, he could be the next Tom Brady and dominate the NFL for years to come.
[Featured Image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]