By: Tom Greer
You would be hard pressed to find me blogging about the Dallas Cowboys being as I’m a Giants fan; but this weekend goes way past any hatred I’d have had towards the phony “America’s Team.” Yes, the Giants lost another game they probably should’ve won. Daniel Jones and the Offence didn’t finish enough drives with touchdowns and his nickname is quickly turning from Danny Dimes to Danny Fumbles. It might just be a sophomore slump, and it’s also well known that there’ve been great quarterbacks who have rough starts to their Seasons. Shout out to Lawrence Tynes, basically for saying that Daniel is the second coming of Peyton Manning. There are a lot of things that Danny needs to clean up… holding onto the ball - is absolutely one of them! So, for the people ready to kick Daniel Jones to the curb and “Tank for Trevor” - remember turn a rounds have happed… we mentioned Eli’s older brother Peyton and even Troy Aikman during his first two years was an absolute bum. Yes he got his brains beat in; but in 1989… had 1749 yards and 9 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. Then his second year in 1990… had 2579 yards and 11 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. Aikman of course, was fitted for a gold jacket and enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2006 and Peyton will mostly likely be headed there in 2021. So, lets get the kid a little more help at receiver and see if this sophomore slump is just a product of a below average team around him as well as part of the Daniel Jones growing pains.
But now the real story out of Sunday is what happened to Dak Prescott. Let me start by saying I, like most Giants fans; or even as a fan of an AFC East Team - have ZERO love for the Cowboys. I’m talking about a LITERAL hatred. However, if you found ANY enjoyment in what happened to Dak this weekend… you should seriously be fitted for a strait jacket and tossed into a padded room, because you are clearly - a sociopath. Dak Prescott breaking all sorts of Cowboy team records, spending this Season and last Season in the Top 10 of passing TD’s, passing yards, passes completed, passer rating, and to just put it simply – he’s literally done everything besides winning a Super Bowl that any team could essentially ask of their franchise quarterback. Albeit, it is that elusive Super Bowl win that brings Dak to the pivotal Season he found himself in this year.
Even with all those personal accolades, the ultimate goal of any team in the NFL is to obviously become Super Bowl Champions! I believe that the last time the Dallas Cowboys were actually in the Super Bowl it was winning it in 1996 over the Pittsburg Steelers. That’s 24 years since you even had a shot at hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. So you’d think having a quarterback that for nearly half his career - has been Top 10 in nearly all the categories a quarterback can land in… you’d feel pretty confident that you have ‘your guy’ who will lead you to the promised land. ”You would think” being the operable phrase - because it seemed like the Cowboys coming into the year were still a little hesitant. Dak was due to get paid this Season. Rather than back up the Binks truck for a guy who’s probably been the most consistent asset of the Cowboys… they decided to instead hit him with the franchise tag. Basically, that means they’re paying him top of the market money for his position; however for only ONE year. He could have done what most players do in contract disputes and just hold out until he gets what he feels like he deserves. Hell, Le’veon Bell waited an entire Season because he wasn’t offered the number he wanted from the Steelers. Dak though, believed in his ability and quite simply - always wanted to be the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. He signs the franchise tag and essentially bets on himself, which is exactly how it sounds. He took a gamble that he was going to put up the same, if not better numbers than he has been putting up his entire career, and then cash in at the end of the Season.
The reason that it’s considered a ‘gamble’ is that there is no security for next year. For whatever reason, the other years of success were not convincing enough to the owners, Jerry and Stephen Jones. This also being the year that Dak needed to prove himself as the quarterback the team could spend the big money and long term years on. It does sound ridiculous when you list all of Dak’s accomplishments in his very brief career; but to play devil’s advocate - none of those years resulted in Super Bowl wins. Last year he totaled over 4,000 yards had 30 touchdowns to 11 interceptions; but the team still went 8-8 and lost the Division to a very fraudulent, injury riddled, Philadelphia Eagle team. So as a franchise in a 24 year Super Bowl drought, I can almost - kind of, sort of understand the hesitation in paying a man who hasn’t even gotten you to the NFC Title game. Then you wind up having moments like Sunday, the Cowboys were struggling a little on defense in the worst Division in Football. They had the “get right game” against the Giants, a game where Dak could have probably padded his stats and the Cowboys could’ve figured out their issues – maybe being the team the Football world thought they’d be.
Brings us to the 3rd quarter, its 24-23 Cowboys - they’re on the Giants side of the field with a little over 6 minutes left and Dak goes to run for the first down. Logan Ryan making the tackle, keeping Prescott from picking it up also led to the very reason we call things like this a gamble. The hit resulted in a gruesome scene on CBS Sunday including a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle. Thus effectively ending his Season and putting his career not only with the Cowboys in jeopardy; but in the NFL over all into question (mostly the Cowboys). Stephen Jones has said all the right things, even going as far as admitting that Dak is the future and he can over come this; but they weren’t willing to pay him what he wanted before the injury - so as cynical as this sounds… it’s easy for him to say this when there is going to have to be some kind of discount involved coming off an injury and now surgery. Let’s look for the silver linings though shall we? Dak had a successful surgery and can focus on his road back onto the field.
Toms Take: My take is pretty simple; I absolutely don’t think he should have been getting paid Patrick Mahomes money. Dak has never been past the divisional round of the Playoffs and hasn’t sniffed a Super Bowl, so no - he shouldn’t be the highest paid quarterback in the league. That being said, the quarterback is the most important position on the field… pretending Dak isn’t a solid every day starter in the league is borderline hilarious! There are teams that have been starved for quarterbacks! The Jets are still looking for a replacement for Joe Nameth… THAT WAS 43 YEARS AGO!!! But the Cowboys cant pay a guy who’s won the Division a few times, set countless team records, was top 10 in passes completed, attempts, yards, TD and passer rating? If the roles were reversed and Dak had been the Giants quarterback - not getting a deal done would probably be another reason to fire Dave Gettleman and complain about the incompetence of John Mara. Now while I compliment a Cowboy quarterback and rag on my own team’s owner and GM… let me just state, ‘I love Daniel Jones and hope/think he’s going to figure it out and be better than Dak.’ I absolutely don’t think it should have come to this. After the way his career started, from stealing the job ‘filling in for’ and already successful, Tony Romo. To winning ‘Rookie of the Year’ and being one of the better passers in the league - the fact that as he is being carted off the field without the security of a long term deal behind him… it’s almost criminal. After the way this has all went down, the Cowboys should give him the contract he asked for at the start of the Season. The dude did nothing but perform for the Cowboys, essentially keeping them a contender after you could clearly tell Tony Romo was on his last legs. It’s unfortunate that it probably wont come to that, he’ll probably have to come with a bit of an injured discount; or maybe some incentives in the deal keeping it from being everything he wanted. I hope they at least do right by him, because he’s at least proven he deserves it.
Now as for me, I just spent a significant amount of time praising the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Something I never thought I’d ever do - let alone have it documented in a blog form; but I felt like this was a story that went beyond Football. No one wants to see a player get seriously hurt on the field… that kind of breaks through any hatred you would have for one team or another. Nevertheless, I still feel pretty gross about it and will need to immediately go shower this grimy Cowboy praise off of me and get right back to that bitter hatred that I’ve enjoyed building up over the years! Get well Soon Dak - I look forward to hating you on the field again someday.