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The Cowboys’ quarterback Mount Rushmore

I've been aboard here at Inside for a couple of weeks now. I've been paying a little more attention to what the fandom has been saying on . Mainly to get a handle on what you all are talking about and want to hear about.

But lately, I'm seeing some insanity among the base and it needs to be addressed. Seriously, you all have my left eye twitching like Herbert Lom in the original Pink Panther movies.

I'm sorry, but no. and are not the top quarterbacks in ' . Stop it. Like, right now.

Dak Prescott, Tony Romo

I get the mindset. Nothing happened before the Internet. But us dinosaurs who grew up in the before times can assure you there was history prior to 1996.

Neither Romo nor Prescott have a spot on the Cowboys' Mount Rushmore. Romo, along with , gets an Honorable Mention. The jury remains out on Prescott until his career is over.

So who sits among the greatest? We should look at the criteria.


I know most of the Romo/Prescott faction looks at regular-season passing numbers, touchdowns, and interceptions. But we also need to look at wins and losses in both the regular season and the .

Then there is how far they have advanced in the playoffs. How they perform in the clutch with the game on the line counts for a lot as well.

And finally, we need to factor in how much different the game is today as opposed to years ago. From 1960-1977 the NFL played a 14-game regular season. From 1979-2020 it was 16 games. Since 2021 they play 17 games.

The regular season numbers for Romo and Prescott are going to be higher than say a or a . Then there are the rule changes.

Back in the day, committed assault and battery on receivers. The Redskins openly stated their against the Cowboys was to repeatedly hit Staubach in the head. They actually succeeded in knocking him out of one game that way.

Now, referees will call pass interference if you so much as breathe on a receiver. And simply giving a a mean look draws a roughing the passer.  

So simply using the numbers won't work. Taking in all of the factors we come up with the top quarterbacks in .

Captain Comeback

The Hail Mary in 1975 against the Vikings is the most memorable of Staubach's many comeback victories in his career. Factor in that he missed several prime years due to his Naval service commitment, cutting his career numbers. 

Roger Staubach
Roger Staubach

Add in two wins in five appearances and you have the best quarterback ever in Dallas. No, he doesn't have the numbers of Romo and Prescott. It wasn't a pass-happy league back then.

He did lead Dallas to three Super Bowl appearances in a four-year stretch. It took a team like the Steelers to beat him in two of those games by a combined eight points.

Clearly, Roger Staubach takes the first slot on our mountain.

The California Kid 

Taken No. 1 out of UCLA, clearly lived up to the billing. Was he the flashiest quarterback? No.

He didn't have to be. He had in the backfield. And Aikman had the ability to make the big passes when he needed to.

He also has three Super Bowl rings on his fingers. Which gives him the second slot on our mountain.

Turn out the lights

Many only remember Don Meredith as the comic relief on back in the day. But Dandy Don was the quarterback who led the Cowboys from the bumbling expansion years to a contender in the 1960s.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Dandy Don Turns Out The Lights On #17 1
Dallas Cowboys speaks to quarterback Don Meredith during a game versus the at Cotton Bowl Stadium. Dallas, Texas 9/18/1966 (Image # 3004 )

Unfortunately for Meredith, he ran into Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi's . The Ice Bowl game ring a bell? But without Meredith, the Cowboys' woes would have continued. Tom Landry might not have survived to see the success of the 1970s.

Meredith takes the third spot.

And the final spot goes to…

Romo could arguably take the fourth spot. But his big negative, also shared by Prescott, is his postseason record. Neither has made it past the .

But did. White did not become a starter until his seventh year in the league because he was behind Staubach for the first six years.

Once he did start he finished with a 62-30 record. He had one losing season, 3-6 in his next to last year in 1987 when the team was in decline. White made it to three consecutive Championship games in the early 1980s.

This gives White the final slot, for now. Prescott still has time to take it away, but he has a lot of work ahead of him to do it.  

Richard Paolinelli
Richard Paolinelli
Richard has covered sports at all levels - from local, prep, college, and professional - since 1984. He has been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys since 1969. Since retiring as a full-time sports writer in 2013, he has written and published several novels, two dozen short stories and two sports non-fiction books.

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