While producing arguably the greatest rookie season in the history of NFL quarterbacks, Dak Prescott was compared more than once to the great Tom Brady. A few days ago, Hall-of-Fame pass rusher Charles Haley threw out another big name as a Prescott comparable; the legendary Joe Montana.
One of the most feared pass rushers of all time, Haley spent a career sizing up quarterbacks. He also had the fortune of being teammates of Montana, Troy Aikman, and Steve Young. He’s seen the best of the best at work, giving his endorsement plenty of weight.
In a recent interview with Dallas-Forth Worth’s NBC 5, Haley said that Dak’s personality and approach to the game reminded him Montana. Haley and Montana played together from 1986 to 1991, after which Haley was traded to the Dallas Cowboys and became a key component in their Super Bowl teams of the 90s.
Haley’s admiration of Prescott shined through his comments, both in the comparisons to Montana and his general observation of Dak:
“Dak reminds me of Joe. He’s funny. He’s charismatic… They had something to prove to prove. They had a chip on their shoulder.”
“The more I’m around him, he has so much confidence.”
“He came from nothing like me… How can you hurt someone who came from nothing?”
Like Dak, Joe Montana did not the enter the NFL with first-round glamour. He was taken with the last pick in the third round of the 1979 draft and backed up Steve DeBerg for his rookie season. Montana took the starting job midway through 1980 and went on to win four Super Bowls and become one of the biggest stars in the history of sports. If you were alive in the 80s, you saw Montana’s face everywhere.
Knowing that Charles Haley was also a teammate of Troy Aikman and Steve Young, it says something that he went right to the top by comparing Dak to Montana. As good as Aikman and Young were, there’s no question that Montana stands above them in terms of overall NFL legacy.
Based on their Super Bowl championships, late-game heroics, and sustained success, many have argued that Joe Montana and Tom Brady are the two greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. That Prescott has been compared to both of them really is remarkable, especially when that endorsement comes from former players. The talking heads of the media are prone to hyperbole, but ex-players are generally more reserved with their praise.
Dak Prescott earned respect beyond just the plays on the field. There is no tougher job in sports than being the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. It is the ultimate form of athletic pressure, and so far Dak has emerged from it like a diamond. Other players clearly take note, which is why he was voted 14th in the this year’s NFL Top 100.
Obviously, Dak has a lot of work to do to keep those Montana and Brady comparisons coming. Super Bowl Championships defined their legacies, and is also the standard that Cowboys Nation expects. Championships are what make Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman stand above Tony Romo and Danny White.
Clearly, Charles Haley believes in Dak Prescott’s potential to meet those expectations:
“When you listen to players talk, they talk big about Dak. Because he’s a man of character, and a man of strength, and a man of conviction.”
Without question, most of us who watched Prescott last year share that confidence. Like Haley, we see greatness in Dak’s future. At the end of his career, we hope that his name will be right there with Brady, Montana, and any other who is argued as the greatest quarterback to ever play.