Cowboys' Dak Prescott Says 'I Plan for This to Be the Golden Year'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 29, 2022

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys prepares to throw the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL wild-card playoff football game at AT&T Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who's celebrating his 29th birthday on Friday, said he's aiming to make the final year of his 20s a memorable one.

"It will be the golden birthday," Prescott told reporters after Thursday's training-camp practice. "I plan for this to be the golden year."

The two-time Pro Bowl selection added he spends "a lot" of time thinking about winning a Super Bowl for the Cowboys to follow in the footsteps of fellow signal-callers Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.

"I mean obviously knowing the quarterbacks that played specifically for this team and knowing their legacy and the ones that we hold at the highest standard are the ones that have Super Bowl rings," Prescott said. "It starts there for me, trying to fill the shoes of those guys that have come before me and do something for this organization that hasn't been done in a long time."

Prescott has guided the Cowboys to the playoffs three times in his five full seasons as the starter—he was limited to five appearances in 2020 because of an ankle injury—but they've never advanced beyond the divisional round during his tenure.

In fact, Dallas hasn't reached the NFC Championship Game since 1995, when they went on to win their most recent Super Bowl title. The organization has captured five championships: two with Staubach leading the offense (1971 and 1977) and three with Aikman at the helm (1992, 1993 and 1995).

Prescott is coming off a 2021 campaign in which he completed 68.8 percent of his throws for 4,449 yards with 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions across 16 games. He ranked 11th in ESPN's Total QBR (54.6) and received a strong 83.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

The Mississippi State product couldn't quite match that level of performance in a playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, though. He connected on 23 of his 43 attempts (53.5 percent) with one touchdown and one interception in a 23-17 home defeat. He added a rushing score.

He explained Thursday being the quarterback of "America's Team" comes with some extra pressure and also criticism when things don't go right.

"I think when you sign up for this position, depending on how early you get in this position, you understand that comes with it," Prescott said. "When you win games, sometimes credit—you give us too much credit—so it's reciprocated the same way. When you don't win games, it goes on our shoulders sometimes and that's OK. I'm a guy that will take it whenever."

The Cowboys are once again heading toward a new season with high expectations, which are further bolstered by playing in the NFC, which features a limited number of legitimate championship contenders compared to the loaded AFC.

Anything less than a deep playoff run will be considered a disappointment, and to reach that level, the team is going to need another standout year from Prescott, who sounds ready for the challenge.

Dallas opens the regular season Sept. 11 when it welcomes Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to AT&T Stadium for a marquee NFC showdown.