Rinse and repeat. Those are the words you find on your favorite shampoo bottle toward the end of the instructions for how to use your favorite product. It's also the philosophy of many in Cowboys Nation with regards to the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.
If you've followed the team for the last decade and a half, you heard and read the criticism of former Cowboys' Quarterback Tony Romo. Find yourself scrolling through social media at any point in the last four years and you'll see criticism of Dak Prescott.
Rinse and repeat.
Though the Dallas Cowboys have found fortune in their discoveries at quarterback in an undrafted free agent and a fourth-round draft pick, both were forced to endure criticism throughout their careers.
For many, the narrative was written about Tony Romo as soon as he fumbled the snap on a late field goal attempt against the Seattle Seahawks in his first season as a starter. Similarly, many have had their minds made up about Dak Prescott since the 2016 divisional round against Green Bay where the Cowboys offense started slow and nearly pulled off a miraculous comeback.
For many in the fanbase and even many media members, the only way that Tony Romo could have shaken the labels is to win a championship. Nevermind he had a really nice career and kept the Dallas Cowboys competitive in seasons when they probably shouldn't have been (2011-2013). Unfortunately, the Dallas Cowboys were unable to win a Super Bowl with Tony Romo at quarterback.
Over the last four years, every throw Dak Prescott has made for the Cowboys has been analyzed, scrutinized, and criticized to the point that the only way for Prescott to overcome the narratives in the minds of many is to win a championship. Nevermind the Dallas Cowboys have won more regular-season games than every other team in the league with Prescott at quarterback aside from the New England Patriots. But because he hasn't won a Super Bowl, the criticism persists.
Rinse and repeat.
There's a flaw in measuring quarterbacks by championships, especially in the NFL, but it's how the media portrays players. No matter what happens in a player's career, the things that happen in January and February are all that matter to many. It's why Eli Manning will get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame though his career from September to December was very average. It's why you never hear Dan Marino's name mentioned in any discussions of who is the greatest quarterback of all-time.
Since last offseason, Dak Prescott has had to endure countless questions about his contract. Though Prescott would tell you there are always things he can improve on, since he's started negotiating his contract, there has been constant criticism and nit-picking of his game. He's not a perfect quarterback. But there isn't a perfect quarterback. What he and the Dallas Cowboys have shown is that he's a quarterback that will help you win a lot of football games.
This offseason, with Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys further down the road of negotiating a new contract, there has been an innumerable amount of “trade Dak” hypotheticals pushed by local and national media outlets. Almost daily on social media or in Cowboys discussion groups, you'll see another media concocted trade scenario that sends the Cowboys franchise quarterback to another NFL city for either an older quarterback or for draft picks.
It has to stop!
The Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott will come to an agreement on a new contract. Dak Prescott isn't going to play on the franchise tag. Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Dak Prescott are all optimistic that a deal will be reached. It's going to happen and it's probably going to happen at a rate that makes him one of the five highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL.
It's going to happen.
Franchise quarterbacks get paid a lot of money. When it's their time, it's their time. Like Carson Wentz last year, 2020 is Dak Prescott's year. He will be the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys for a very long time, whether you like it or not.
Tony Romo wasn't the best quarterback in the NFL during his tenure as a player, but he was one of the better QBs in the league. The problem was people had made up their minds about him long before his career had come to a conclusion. The problem is that Romo became a much better player in the latter years of his career, but was robbed of stardom because of injuries and a poor call from the officials in the divisional round of the 2014 playoffs.
Dak Prescott is just 26 years old has improved his game every season he's been in the league. In 2019, he had a career year that saw him throw for 30 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 yards. Prescott isn't a finished product. There are things he can continue to improve upon and if the last four seasons are any evidence, he will improve in those areas. But already, he's one of the five to ten best quarterbacks in the NFL.
There's no reason to entertain Dak Prescott trade hypotheticals. Even if he gets the franchise tag prior to signing his long-term contract, it's a pointless exercise. Dak Prescott is the answer to the question, “who will be the Dallas Cowboys quarterback for the next 10 years?”
The Cowboys were lucky to have found Tony Romo in the undrafted free agent rough and have been fortunate yet again to land another franchise quarterback without having to spend a premium draft pick on the position. We can spend the next ten years arguing about the quality of the quarterback at the helm for the Dallas Cowboys, or we can spend the next ten years enjoying the level of play that a great and some might argue elite quarterback brings to the table.
It's time to rinse away the idea that a rookie quarterback or a veteran in his mid to late 30s gives the Dallas Cowboys a better chance to win than Prescott. It's time to rinse away the over-critical nature in which we evaluate the quarterback for our favorite NFL franchise. It's time to rinse away the idea that the only quarterbacks who are good or great are quarterbacks with rings. It's time to rinse away the idea that Dak Prescott isn't a franchise quarterback, because the Dallas Cowboys are about to pay him like he is. Though many have already done it, it's time to fully embrace Dak Prescott the person, the leader, and the player as the quarterback for America's Team. Most importantly, it's time to rinse away these insane trade hypotheticals. Dak Prescott will be the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys in 2020 and for a long, long time to come.