Dak Prescott Avoids Reputation Damage In Playoff Loss ⋆
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Dak Prescott Avoids Reputation Damage In Playoff Loss

Dak Prescott, Tony Romo

Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott Avoids Reputation Damage In Playoff Loss

Dak Prescott Avoids Reputation Damage In Playoff Loss

Although his team lost last Sunday and its championship hopes were crushed, Dak Prescott emerged victorious in the court of public opinion.

Dak Prescott, PackersPrescott has not been blamed for the loss. Most have been encouraged by how well Dak performed despite the pressure of the game and the rising legend of Aaron Rodgers that he was competing against. Prescott managed to avoid any detriment to his reputation despite the team’s failure.

In so doing, Dak avoided a label that haunted Tony Romo for his entire career.

Romo earned the “choke artist” tag because of his first playoff game. Despite a decade of fourth-quarter statistics that proved otherwise, Tony could never shake off that label with many in the national media and even some Cowboys fans.

Nobody will ever forget how Romo’s first season as the Cowboys starter ended. In 2006, the unlikely hero led the Cowboys back to the postseason for only the second time since Troy Aikman retired. From undrafted to Pro Bowler, Tony Romo had become one of the most compelling figures in recent NFL history.

Tony RomoThe lasting image for many, though, was of Romo fumbling the hold for what would’ve been a lead-changing field goal during the Wild Card round. The Seattle Seahawks moved on in the playoffs while Romo endured a horrible personal defeat. His comments from after the loss are painful even to read:

“I know how hard everyone in that locker room worked to get themselves in position to win that game today and for it to end like that, and for me to be the cause is very tough to swallow right now. I take responsibility for messing up at the end there. That’s my fault. I cost the Dallas Cowboys a playoff win, and it’s going to sit with me a long time. I don’t know if I have ever felt this low.”

Despite the ups and downs of his entire career, Romo ultimately emerged as one of the great clutch quarterbacks of all time. He is among the league’s best in all-time fourth-quarter passer rating and total number of comeback wins.

Tony Romo

AP Photo / Tim Sharp

As we have witnessed, though, these statistical achievements aren’t enough for many fans and even professional analysts. Those lasting images of fumbled snaps or a few late-game interceptions carry a lot of weight. Perhaps only a Super Bowl victory would have finally provided the counterbalance that Tony Romo needed.

With 302 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s playoff loss, Dak Prescott hit two marks that Romo never did in the postseason. Romo never threw for 300 yards or scored more than two touchdowns in a single playoff game.

For casual observers, these are milestone marks that they use to define a “great” performance. Romo’s personal body of work in the playoffs is very good; 62% completion percentage, eight touchdowns to only two interceptions, and a 93 passer rating. However, never having that single “big game” leaves the door open for his critics.

Dak PrescottWith the bonus of being a rookie and having had a personally great performance, Dak Prescott kept his name out of the mud in the loss. However, he still walks away with an 0-1 record in the playoffs. Dak may not be facing any backlash right now but that can quickly change.

For now, Dak Prescott is the foundation on which Cowboys fans have placed their hope. But with some still bitter about Tony Romo’s departure and a level of success already achieved, Dak’s grace period is already over. He won’t have the rookie label to shield him anymore and has now set the NFC Championship Game as the next step in his personal progress.

Prescott is now simply another starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. It comes with a lot of perks, but as Tony Romo has lived for the last decade, it also comes with incredibly and even unreasonably high expectations.

Dak may have the jury’s favor now, but the trial has only just begun.

Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

6 Comments
  • BeirutWedding

    This is a relatively balanced piece. The reason Romo doesn’t get credit for being “clutch” is because for all his vaunted 4th quarter success, if you don’t tell people how good he’s been, they won’t know. That’s because most of the fourth quarter comebacks he’s had, no one remembers. That fourth quarter comeback he had against a mediocre Minnesota team that the Cowboys shouldn’t have been behind in the first place? Who cares?

    • Jess Haynie

      Very fair point. Legends are made and broken by what happens when the lights are brightest. Unfortunately for Tony, these moments have not been kind to him. Some of that has been his own doing, and some of it due to the players around him.

      • http://Inside%20the%20Star%20-%20voices%20of%20a%20nation Pam Adams

        Romo has been treated extremely badly the whole time he played with the Cowboys! No matter what he has done for this team, he is still dogged because of not winning a SB! Prescott didn’t win a SB either, but is he treated the same way; no of course not! I do not believe he didn’t throw 3 td’s at all. I think that is total BS; now, as far as the 300 yards. He also did not have the caliber of team that Dak has rode on this year. In 2014, when he went to two playoff games, did he not throw 3 td’s or more during that game! One of them should have been a TD’s, but it was negated because of a “Non Catch” call! Murray fumbled, bad calls, receivers dropping balls, etc. are also to be blames for not winning that game. Dak didn’t even win the 1st playoff game, but no one gave him any grief for it, did he? Romo has carried this team on his back, literally and figuratively, but again, no one gives him any credit for that either. No excuses ya can come with excuses the treatment Romo has gotten throughout the years, or how he was treated this year, which horribly! He was thrown to the side, like yesterday trash! Shame on the coaching staff, Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and fans, who are not true fans! I have never been so disgusted with the Cowboys’ fans, staff, Jerry Jones, Steven Jones, etc. for the way he was treated! I have been a fan since 1974, and like I said, I have never been so disgusted of the way Romo has been treated after all he done to keep this team even in the running of winning games!!

  • XaqFields

    Romo had a history of coming up small in the biggest (playoff) games. I mentioned this in another article on another site, but in six appearances, he never threw for 300 yards and he never threw for 3 touchdowns. I’m not trying to belittle all that Romo did, but it is a problem if your QB’s production dips in playoff games. Your team got to the playoffs on a certain caliber of quarterback performance, and they’re not often going to be able to win in the playoffs without similar output from the most important position on the field.

    Dak Prescott, on the other hand, had a playoff performance that was arguably more productive than the majority of his regular season games. I think that bodes well for the future. We should, as Cowboys fans, have aspirations of Prescott being in that “elite” level of quarterbacks because every indication from his first 17 games is that he has that ability.

    • Pam Adams

      I will never get over how Romo has been treated. It makes it extremely hard to continue root for the Cowboys, and I have never felt that way in 40+ yrs. and that is pitiful!

  • dallas1966

    With the Cowboys FO mission to strengthen the defense, Dak will continue to lead the Cowboys, to higher heights, in the neighborhood with Staubach and Aikman. How About Them Cowboys!!

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