Back in 2016 when Tony Romo got injured and Dak Prescott was asked to fill the void left by him, Cowboys fans could have been excused for thinking that their NFL future was cursed. Of course, those worries were swiftly allayed as Prescott became an overnight NFL sensation, with the 2016 Rookie of the Year continuing to build a strong rapport with rookies and old heads in the Cowboys’ locker room to this day.
In this article, we take a look at those backup quarterbacks throughout history who cast aside their tag of trusty number 2 to become a bonafide starting QB legend in their own right.
Although not as big a name as some of the others on this list, Jim Plunkett was the sort of backup quarterback that every head coach dreams of, as he was often so much better than the men he replaced.
He showed this in not just one but two Super Bowl games, leading his beloved Raiders to glory at Super Bowl XV and Super Bowl XVIII, thus retiring with a record that most career starting quarterbacks would die for.
If Prescott wants some real inspiration about how to step out of the shadow of your sensei, then he should look no further than Aaron Rodgers, who managed what many people thought was impossible in taking over from Brett Favre.
The incredible thing was that Rodgers almost ended up in Green Bay by accident, sliding down the draft to such a degree that he was not even noted as a reliable reserve QB until team management took note of his talents and lined him up to become the next Wisconsin sweetheart.
Rodgers has never looked back since, matching his former master when it comes to Super Bowl victories as well as lapping up MVP titles to boot. If Prescott can be half the player Rodgers is then the odds of the Cowboys going deep into the NFL playoffs could start to dramatically reduce.
Kurt Warner’s is one of those rags to riches stories that never gets old in sport, or anywhere for that matter.
Having been out in the football wilderness, including plying his trade as far afield as Europe – and even working on supermarket checkouts to make ends meet – Warner finally somehow eked his way onto the practice roster in St. Louis.
What happened next took every tipster and pundit by surprise, as the lone ranger of the NFL transformed the Rams into one the greatest offensive machines that the game has ever known.
However, what really made Warner great is that he kept his underdog mentality right into the twilight years of his career, taking a ramshackle Cardinals squad all the way to the Super Bowl, all because no one had given them a chance before the season started, and that was just the way Warner liked it.
This list would not be complete without one of the most divisive characters in the sport. It is hard to remember a time when Tom Brady was not ripping defensive lines to shreds, but he did use to lace the boots of those above him such as Drew Bledsoe.
However, as soon as Bledsoe took one too many sacks, Brady did not hesitate, making the quarterback jersey his own and building an NFL dynasty the likes of which has never been seen before. Who will do the same to him in Tampa Bay this season?
Though Prescott is several years into his career already, shaking up the coaches this year and adding new talent might just be the fresh start he needs to answer his followers’ praise.