The Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers opened the 2021 season in a thrilling back-and-forth game that literally came down to which team had possession of the ball last.
Tom Brady led his Bucs to a 31-29 victory with just seconds left in regulation after driving his offense down the field to set up the game-winning field goal. But it’s what happened immediately following Tampa’s Week 1 win over the Cowboys that caught people’s attention.
During the post-game interaction where players and coaches shake hands, dap, and bro-hug their on-field foes before heading to the locker room, an interaction between Brady and Dak Prescott was caught on camera. The visual isn’t what’s so intriguing here, but the audio a microphone picked up is what has fans and media talking.
In case you didn’t catch it: at the end, after both men embrace in a show of respect, they turn to walk away as Prescott says to Brady, “we’ll see y’all again.” Since these teams are not in the same division and are therefore not scheduled for another regular-season game, we can only assume Prescott means they’ll face off again in the postseason.
You’ve got to love Prescott’s confidence, and the fact that he’s come back from such a gruesome leg injury that occurred less than a year ago to play the way he did in the Cowboys opener. Aside from the Cowboys’ game plan to have him air it out almost 60 times in Week 1, you can’t say Prescott didn’t look great in this game. Dak threw for 403 yards and 3 touchdowns while completing 72 percent of his passes. Not bad for his first game in 11 months.
Prescott’s comment to Brady after the game showed me more than just confidence. It showed desperation. It showed hunger. That comment, coupled with Prescott’s play on this night, showed me just how driven he is to show the world that he indeed belongs in that elite category of QBs around the NFL. There are only a few, and Dak played like one of them in the Cowboys’ season opener. He showed that he’s more than capable of going toe to toe with Brady, who is for many the greatest quarterback of all time.
Even with his superb showing against the Bucs, it will take more than outstanding statistical performances for Dak to show us he deserves to be mentioned among the elite. Brady didn’t build his legacy on stats alone. Neither did Peyton Manning, John Elway, Joe Montana, or any other all-time great QB. Great legacies are created in the postseason. Winning playoff games is the only way Prescott will break into that top-three-to-five QB discussion among his peers. He’s 1-2 in playoff games through his five-year career thus far.
It’s up to Prescott to change the narrative for himself and the Cowboys. We know today’s players hear, see, and read everything that is said about them. Most view Dak as a borderline top-10 QB at best coming into this season. Week one against the Bucs probably won’t change many minds on Dak, especially in a losing effort. But it could open the eyes of his detractors and remind them who he is and what he could be moving forward.
Eventually, you gotta win in the NFL, and you’ve got to make your wins count. That means doing it on the biggest stages in playoff games. This Cowboys franchise used to be about NFC championships and Super Bowls. Now it seems just making it out of the wildcard round is enough for Big D. Prescott has the talent to change the narrative for this Cowboys team. Now he has to piece it together and produce a deep playoff run that ends with Jerry Jones hoisting the Lombardi trophy one last time.