Stellar Rookie Creating Quarterback Competition in Dallas

By Nick Hession,
Sports Business Writer

The Dallas Cowboys are heading into their bye week with a tough decision looming over them. Tony Romo, the team’s starting quarterback for the last 13 years, is nearly healthy enough to start again. However, the team’s rookie quarterback out of Mississippi State, Dak Prescott, is giving the veteran Romo steep competition for the job.

In recent years, Romo had suffered several season ending injuries that have in turn made things difficult for the Cowboys. A herniated disc cut Romo’s 2013 season short, and a fractured clavicle did the same to his 2015 season. This season, a fractured vertebra sidelined Romo for 8-10 weeks during the pre-season, according to Sportsday.com. On the contrary, Romo is a force to be reckoned with when he is healthy.

Romo’s last full season came in 2014, when he lead the Cowboys to the divisional round of the playoffs with a 12-4 record. In that season, he threw for 3,705 yards, to go along with 34 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions, according to Foxsports.com. Over the course of his 13-year-long career, Romo boasts a 65.3 completion percentage, 34,154 yards, 247 touchdowns and 117 interceptions, according to NFL.com. Despite more than a decade’s worth of experience at quarterback, Romo’s declining health has opened the door for a rookie quarterback to take the reins in Dallas.

In his first six weeks as a starter, Prescott has lead the Cowboys to the top of the NFC East at 5-1. The one loss was by only a point in their season opener against the New York Giants. Since the season’s start, Prescott has completed 125 of 182 passes and scored 7 touchdowns, according to ESPN.com. Prescott also did not throw a single interception until week six against the Green Bay Packers, according to Foxsports.com. Many experts are saying that Prescott’s hot streak should keep him in the starting seat.

NFL coaching legend John Madden expressed favoritism for Prescott in a recent interview with For The Win. He said that while he was not a part of the Cowboys organization and did not know the whole story regarding the Cowboys starting quarterback job, he would continue starting Prescott.“I watch him and he wins and nothing looks too big for him. He looks like he’s been there. He’s very, very impressive,” Madden said. “I think it would be tough for them to make a change. If I were in that situation, I wouldn’t make a change.”

Ex-Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman also weighed in on the situation and said that Prescott’s momentum leading up to the Cowboys’ bye week should secure him the starting job, according to Sportsday.com.

“Can he win the job? I think he has won the job,” Aikman said. “Every test that he’s been given he has passed with flying colors, and I can’t imagine him not being the guy.” Some analysts disagree, such as USA Today’s Luke Ker-Dineen.

“If Romo comes back and looks unstoppable? Great! Trade Prescott for a nice bounty and invest in a good backup. Or keep Dak and just ride the Romo streak until it fades.” Ker-Dineen said. “Prescott’s already locked into a cheap, long deal, after all, so he won’t be able to walk unless you want him to.”

Both Romo and Prescott have legitimate claims to claim the starting quarterback position, but there is no way of knowing who the starter is until Romo is cleared to play and the Cowboys make an announcement. Until then, fans will be left to anticipate either a battle-tested pro’s return or a Tom Brady-esque story of a rookie usurping a veteran.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, October 25th print edition.

Contact Nick at
nicholas.hession@student.shu.edu

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