For six seasons now, the battle for the hearts and minds of Cowboys fans between Quarterback Dak Prescott and predecessor Tony Romo has been a constant topic. If Prescott can lead Dallas in a deep playoff run this year it could finally help him take a step forward and distinguish himself from Romo in the rankings of all-time Cowboys QBs.
At this point there’s little disputing the Mt. Rushmore of quarterbacks who’ve played for America’s Team. Apologies to diehard Danny White fans, but there’s now a pretty clear top four in Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Romo, and Prescott (put them in whatever order you wish).
Depending on how much weight you give team accomplishments like Super Bowl championships and overall win-loss records as opposed to individual statistics, you may feel that Tony Romo is the greatest Cowboys QB of all time as the franchise leader in passing yards and touchdowns. Or you might quickly defer to Staubach or Aikman based on the glory they helped bring to the Cowboys.
Prescott’s not going to need much time to catch up to these greats statistically. Dak will likely pass both Roger and Troy in passing touchdowns next season and Staubach in yards. In the next 2-3 years he should pass Romo and Aikman in passing yards assuming he plays full seasons. Prescott is currently 105 touchdowns behind Romo, which he may need a little more time to pass based on his current annual output.
And by the way, Dak Prescott is currently the highest-rated passer in Cowboys history. His career completion percentage and TD-INT ratio beat any of the other greats. Just wanted to share that with you.
The notion of catching up to Romo came to my mind last week when Dak, with five touchdowns in the Week 18 finale against the Eagles and 37 for the year, set the new franchise single-season record for passing TDs. But even with that feat, many were quick to try to discredit Prescott’s achievement based on the new 17th game or other criticisms of his play.
It’s no secret that Romo’s ghost still haunts Prescott with certain parts of Cowboys Nation. Many remain bitter that Tony didn’t get his job back in 2016 when he returned from injury. Some still suggest that the Cowboys might have won the Super Bowl that year had Tony been QB1 for the playoffs.
While Romo’s overall greatness is something we all appreciate, talking like he was Captain January is pure fiction. In fact, Prescott’s performance in the 2016 playoff loss to Green Bay was arguably equal to or better than any single playoff game Tony played in his entire career.
Right now these are two very similar players in terms of their overall contributions to the Cowboys. They have both put up prolific passing numbers and been overall winners. They’ve both had times where they carried the team and cost the team, and they’ve both had challenges to overcome based on the roster overall.
The playoffs is where things especially even out between them. Prescott is 1-2 in his three playoffs games and Romo is 2-4; they’ve each won one and lost two for every three postseason games they’ve played.
Dak Prescott has a chance this season, and hopefully many more to come, to help the Cowboys advance past the second round with two wins over the next two games. Getting Dallas to the NFC Championship Game is something that Tony Romo never accomplished, nor has any other Cowboys QB since Troy Aikman in 1995.
If Dallas can finally enjoy a longer run in the playoffs again, even some of the more unreasonable Romo loyalists will have to give Prescott his due.
No doubt, some will still find ways to sling mud at Dak. Whatever their agenda or bias in the matter, some will never be happy with what he achieves.
But for those of us with a more balanced perspective, right now things are pretty even between Dak Prescott and Tony Romo. Both are underdogs who’ve achieved big things in the NFL despite pre-draft beliefs. And in the near future, both will easily be the most statistically prolific passers in Cowboys history.
As we look ahead to the 49ers on Sunday and whatever could come next, Prescott has the opportunity to add something more to his resume. And if he ever wants to truly distinguish himself from Tony Romo among Dallas’ all-time greats, playoff success is the last great obstacle on that path.