Regardless of how one feels about Dakota Prescott, you can’t deny his charisma or his aura to be a lightning rod. Whether it’s his detractors or his die-hard fans, Prescott has a knack for drawing in people’s attention. Maybe it’s because he’s the face of what’s supposed to be “America’s Team” — or maybe, it’s because he bet on himself before and during COVID-19 and won. His contract will define him regardless of his success or failures. Dak is considered a top 5 quarterback; at least he’s paid that way.
But Prescott has found that with great paydays comes even greater expectations. An injured Prescott had to screen out a lot of noise after his ankle injury early into the 2020 season. He led the league in passing yards for two weeks after his ankle broke against the rival New York Giants. Although the Cowboys won that game, they had lost their leader, and their season spiraled into a 6-10 finish in a division that’s been poked at constantly as being the ‘NFC Least’ due to the entire division’s losing record. The Washington Football Team won the division with a losing record of 7-9. None of their NFC competitors fear them as a whole, as the East has been going through changes amid controversies and quarterback changes.
Many doubt that Prescott can handle being the face of a franchise. Of all the franchises to be heralded as the man, it would be the wide-ranging reach of the Dallas Cowboys that would lead to his media success and criticism. The Cowboys are worth Billions, and the animosity against their financial and past field accomplishments; can only be described as constricting. Regardless of record or individual achievements, the Cowboys have laid in the bed they have made in regards to expectations. Championship or bust, foundations can humble any man’s pride regardless of a man’s beginnings; being a 4th round pick out of Mississippi State.
Now, into his 5th year and coming off of 2 injuries (shoulder, ankle), Dak has been thrust into the limelight; again, by the NFL and their ratings-craved schedule makers. A team that fell apart under the pressure of his absence must now open the season against the Super Bowl defending champions in front of a crowded Raymond James stadium. Led a field general who strives to outperform his past achievements; with a never-quenching thirst for success. Before his injury in 2020, Prescott was outperforming the GOAT and was right behind him as far as wins accumulated. Now, he leads a team missing a star offensive lineman in Zack Martin and a defense that can’t be relied upon to keep a game close or low scoring. To put it mildly: The Dallas defense has been awful. The Cowboys have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions in regards to their defensive standings. In 2019, the defense was bouncing in and out of the top 10. In 2020, it ranked as low as 28th. Injured linebackers, a questionable lack of resigning Byron Jones, and suspensions have plagued the team with the can’t miss Blue Star as its logo. Stuck in the frying pan of mediocrity, Prescott will lead the Cowboys into the fire of a hungry and rambunctious crowd seething for the return of the mob’s modern-day form of Gladiators. America’s medicine from its everyday trials has been packaged and processed into the form of the elongated squared arena. Men’s livelihood is shortened, tested, and brutalized for all of our eyes to see.
Tom Brady hasn’t lost an opening game in a long time. The Florida weather has rejuvenated a champion hell-bent on cementing his legacy. The off-season has been short the injured Cowboys quarterback. Unforgiving how time flies, the time spent recuperating will now be tested against a vaunted defense thirsty to make a statement on opening night. Does anyone outside of the Dallas fanbase expect the Cowboys to win: probably not. Did the oddsmaker pit a struggling Hard Knock team to face a franchise with the league-worst winning percentage and a brand new tailor-fitted swagger; more than likely, yes. Regardless of how the game turns out, Prescott should only focus on surviving. His contract needs him to go through week 1 uninjured. The Cowboys fanbase needs him to make it through uninjured. His team, which we have seen crumble without him, needs to conform to the hostile surroundings surrounding this opening spectacle. One can easily flashback to the way Patrick Mahomes ran for his life in February from the all-star cast of pirates seeking his booty. Will the striped-shirt participants protect the lead boy in blue?
So many questions that we all waited 7 months for will begin to be answered on this glorious Thursday. One thing that is for certain; whether it’s from the Bucs defense, the hostile hypocrites, or fantasy owners clamoring for on-field production, Dakota Prescott will be under pressure.