Whole Nine Sports

Dak Prescott: Resilience

Dak Prescott
Mark Heaney
Follow Mark @HeaneyNFLDraft
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Resilience. That is the word that I keep finding myself coming back to for the last few hours. I’m writing this very late on Sunday night, just a couple hours after Dak Prescott’s devastating ankle injury and I know I can speak on behalf of all Cowboy fans when I say it’s been an emotionally draining few hours. We snapped our losing streak and beat an archrival on a walk off field goal, while also knowing our franchise QB is out for a very long time.

Without a doubt, this is the worst I’ve ever felt after a Cowboys win. It’s a terrible injury, and losing your quarterback in any way is always terrible. The quarterback in football is notorious for being the leader of the team, face of the franchise, and the favorite player of the fanbase.

Nobody has exemplified that sentiment better than Dak Prescott. From his early days of playing high school football in Louisiana he has earned the respect of coaches, teammates, and fans. Wherever Dak has gone, and whoever he has played for, he has always taken a leadership role, and that, in large part, is due to his upbringing. Dak was raised by a single mom, Peggy Prescott and his two older brothers. He learned at an early age that nothing is given and everything is earned and he took that mindset with him into his football career.

Mississippi State is where Dak made his name, earned his credentials, and suffered his biggest loss. His mom passed from colon cancer in the middle of Dak’s first season as the starter. Despite losing his biggest supporter he returned to the team and brought the Bulldogs to a win in the Egg Bowl.

Dak Prescott MSU

This to me is the biggest example of the resilience I mentioned to start this. Without his mom by his side he finished out his last two years in college as an all time Mississippi State Bulldog. Despite every bump on the road, including falling to the fourth round, Dak just kept working and after Tony Romo went down with an injury he was thrust into the biggest job in sports: QB1 for the Cowboys.

The difference between being an NFL quarterback and being the Cowboys quarterback is astronomical. The pressure put on him as a 4th round rookie replacing a franchise legend was immense but the dude stepped up as a rookie and solidified himself as a young star. Dak earned the fans respect early on with his grit and ability to find ways to win. Cowboys fans unfortunately got accustomed to losing after a Romo injury but with Dak the tide turned and things took off.

Bumps have happened along the road no doubt, three playoff losses, a pretty long slump in his 2nd and 3rd year, hate from people inside and outside the fanbase, and so much more. This kid didn’t slow down though, and through the first 5 weeks of this season I had never seen somebody so improved in such a short amount of time. 

This year for Dak Prescott has been crazy, and that statement extends far past this injury. To kick off 2020 he had his head coach and essentially the whole coaching staff he had had since his rookie year fired. Leaving him with a totally new staff and a head coach that was a rival for his first two NFL seasons in Mike McCarthy. His hopes of a long term extension with Dallas crumbled in March and he had to sign the franchise tag that he was hoping to avoid.

Of course, the pandemic hit that same month and just a month later his older brother Jace tragically committed suicide. Dak was very close with Jace especially after his mom’s passing. This led Prescott into a bout with depression himself, which he bravely talked about in an interview in early september. Dak opened up about his struggles and has since openly advocated for the stigma around mental health to be broken.

Dallas Cowboys

His foundation Faith, Fight, Finish, which he started in honor of his mom, has also taken big steps this year. Initially it focused solely on cancer research/awareness and it’s now expanded to also include helping kids fighting through childhood adversity. With all this on his plate, and a contract dispute inevitable, Dak still played better than I have ever seen him play.

Breaking records left and right, carrying the franchise on his back, single handedly keeping the team in games, all while continuing his admirable off field work. That word, admirable, is the perfect word to describe how cowboys fans feel about this guy. He works harder than just about anybody we have seen in Dallas and at the same time puts a huge emphasis on being a role model and helping the community. He is the ultimate warrior, the ultimate competitor, and the single best example of resilience I have seen in a Dallas Cowboys uniform.

He means the world to the fanbase because of his consistent pursuit to better himself on and off the field. Dak Prescott never fails to put his body on the line no matter the situation, and that proved true in how he got injured. Fighting and scraping for every single yard instead of sliding down and staying safe. That is Dak Prescott. Never complacent with the minimum, always in pursuit of more. Dak has had the fanbases back from the moment he got here and we plan on returning the favor as he fights his way back over this bump in the road.

If anybody thinks, for even a second, that this guy is gonna tap out because it’s tough, you clearly haven’t been playing close enough attention to who Dak is at his core. He is going to work his way back, and come back even better, while at the same time fighting for cancer research and the normalization of mental health struggles. This is not even close to the end for Dak Prescott, it is absolutely just another chapter in his story.