With quarterback Dak Prescott on perhaps the hottest run of his career, are the Cowboys set for a trip to Las Vegas and Super Bowl LVIII?
Following his five-touchdown dismantling of the New York Giants on Sunday, it would have been okay if Dak Prescott walked into the postgame press conference with a great, big “I-told-you-so” for anyone who would listen. The 30-year-old Cowboys starter has often been criticized as a quarterback who might look the part but wasn’t the kind of leader that could ever return the team to The Promised Land.
After being anointed the team’s golden boy several years ago, it looked as if the ‘Boys had their next Dallas dynasty all lined up – with Prescott and blue chip ‘back Ezekiel Elliott both in the backfield together. And the Cowboys QB was supposed to have delivered Jerry Jones another shiny, new ring by now – just like the ones guys named Aikman and Staubach once produced so long ago.
But somewhere along the way, things took a detour, and Elliott’s best years were wasted down in Big D. He was unceremoniously shuttled out of Texas this offseason, leaving Dak Prescott as the undisputed star and leader of America’s Team. That also led to speculation that there might be an overhaul coming, with Prescott eventually falling victim to the time and numbers game as well. Many questioned his leadership, toughness, and ability to win without his longtime running mate.
As if now free to work his magic on his own, the quarterback has responded like never before in 2023. In Sunday’s 42-17 win over the Giants, it wasn’t just the 404 yards, four passing touchdowns, and one rushing score that made his day stand out. It went beyond the box score. It was the way he did it that was so impressive.
At times? It was almost as if Prescott was toying with the G-Men, making Jordan-esque plays as he picked apart their defense with ease. It wasn’t just the type of game that winners play; it was the kind of performance you see from a dominator.
Quite frankly? It’s the kind of game that an MVP has.
That’s where the chatter is headed, especially as Dak Prescott continues the streak he’s been on. He has seemingly willed the Cowboys (now 6-3) back into the NFC East race, as his team tries to keep up with the defending NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles. So far, he’s been like David, slinging stones at Goliath. But those stones have been hitting their mark far more than not.
So far this season, Prescott has 2,415 yards, with 17 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He’s third in quarterback rating, and he’s shown an ability to score with both his arm and his feet.
He’s also shown a great ability to mix things up and distribute the ball to multiple receivers. At the same time? He’s got his clutch playmaker in CeeDee Lamb, and the pair have a special quarterback-receiver chemistry that will be important as the competition grows tougher and the games get tighter.
But most importantly? Dak Prescott is winning right now. He FINDS a way to win. That’s going to weigh in heavily when it comes to talk of him possibly being the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. If he can somehow overcome the Eagles and push them into The Super Bowl? Then it’s almost impossible not to elevate him past Philadelphia star Jalen Hurts, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, and two-time winner Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs for this year’s award.
Since Dallas’ embarrassing 42-10 loss to the 49ers in week 5, Prescott has taken it upon himself to right the ship. He’s thrown 12 TDs against just two picks in the stretch since, as the ‘Boys have gone 3-1. Their only loss during that time was to Philly (8-1), who are arguably the best team in The League right now. Conquering them goes a long way in making a case for the Cowboys’ QB.
After years of the team waiting on Dak Prescott to be ‘the guy’, could this be the year that he lives up to his massive potential? The expectations have been on his shoulders for years, but in his first season without Elliott, is finally ready to become a truly elite NFL quarterback?
If he can take the Cowboys all the way to the Super Bowl in Sin City? Dak will have finally fulfilled his destiny in Dallas and will likely be this year’s surprise MVP… All he has to do is keep on winning.
Ryan Boman is the author of the 2023 book, Pop Music & Peanut Butter: A Collection of Essays about Embracing Life with Laughter & Love. Follow him on social media @RyanKBoman