Instant Impact


The NFL has never seen anything like this. Two rookies on the same team, on the same side of  the ball no less, both front-runners for offensive rookie of the year.

Incredible. And you can make a case for both to also be MVP.

usa_today_9658875The Dallas Cowboys have never won eight regular season games in a row. Ever. They have the opportunity to do so this Sunday at Pittsburgh with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott leading the way.

Yes, the NFL Draft has paid dividends for Jerry Jones and his staff finally. This actually started a few years ago when the Cowboys went on a run of taking offensive linemen like Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zach Martin. There is no way that Prescott and Elliott have the success they have enjoyed over the first half of the season without that great line.

But the 2016 season is all about these two young phenoms. But who’s more important? Who’s more valuable?

The case for Dak

Prescott has been nothing short of amazing. A third round pick, expected to be the third quarterback on the team, is thrust into the starting role due to injury and not only plays well but excels.

Sometimes the intangibles can’t be seen or measured for draft day. Clearly that is what happened with Dak. With a sample size of eight regular season games, I think it is safe to say that Jerry has finally found the successor to Tony Romo.

Playing quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys is a top-5 limelight position in all of pro sports, and Prescott looks as comfortable as a nine-year veteran out there. He’s smooth and cool under pressure, and simply wins. Prescott’s passer rating is 104.2, fourth-best in the league.

Who saw this coming? Certainly no one could have predicted that a rookie drafted in the fourth round would make us all basically forget Tony Romo. But he has.

Elliott’s Impact

The Cowboys’ incredible 2014 season was based greatly on a running game which was best in the league and controlled the clock. DeMarco Murray led the league in rushing that season and was the team’s MVP.

Elliott might be even better.

Many said that the Cowboys were nuts to take a running back with the fourth overall pick. I would always quickly respond, “You would if that player is the next Adrian Peterson.”

Darn right.

Elliott leads the league in rushing and is on pace for a 1,700-yard season with 14 touchdowns. Heck, Eric Dickerson’s rookie record of 1,808 yards is possibly in jeopardy.

There’s a reason why the 1990’s Cowboys won three Super Bowls. The “triplets” of Aikman, Smith and Irvin ran roughshod over the league. Prescott and Elliott have done the same, with Dez Bryant fulfilling that last triplet role (in some ways).

Want to win a Super Bowl? Have an elite ground game. With Elliott, that is exactly what the Cowboys have.

So who deserves the accolades the most? The answer is that the Cowboys aren’t here without both of them. This is right up Jason Garrett’s alley – it is about team.

There’s still an entire half of the season left to play. And there is no reason to expect Prescott and Elliott to slow down.

These two may be doing more than sharing rookie of the year trophies. They may be sharing the franchise’s sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy before it is all over.

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Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks,, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.


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