There is a narrative surrounding Dak Prescott, the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, perpetuated by ESPN and some others. The narrative is that despite all of the glowing analytics and stats that show Prescott is a top quarterback in the NFL, the team’s record is what really matters when evaluating the Dallas quarterback.
Because somehow the Cowboys’ success or failure, is Dak’s and Dak’s alone. To some people, wins and losses have become an individual stat. A line of grading once used to grade the success or failure of a starting MLB pitcher, has somehow reemerged…in football.
I know, it sounds crazy, right? Quarterbacks do not play defense, they do not play special teams, and while they touch the ball every offensive snap, they only actually throw the ball about 60% of the time.
Add that up and that’s a ton of time the quarterback does not have control of a football game. It seems logical that the quarterback takes a little extra responsibility since they are the most important players on the field, but full credit and blame? What does a quarterback do when the defense gives up an average of 30 points a game? Or when he hands the defense a lead just to see them choke the game away in the final seconds? Or lead the team on would-be game-winning drive only to see his kicker miss a routine FG?
So to all the Dallas Cowboys fans, haters, and supposed analysts, it is time to retire the thought that wins are a quarterback stat.
Before I debunk this narrative, let’s be clear the Dallas Cowboys brings ears and eyes to shows. We have seen time and time again the team brought up to garner attention. How often do we see the phrase “former Dallas Cowboys” for a player on another team or long retired and had played for other teams?
I get it, it is a business and eyes bring in money, but this take is lazy and needs to stop. I know the national media wants to say controversial things about Dak in order to bring up their ratings, but to try to pretend wins and losses are a QB stat in order to do so, is unacceptable.
So let’s debunk the idea that wins are a quarterback stat. Let’s start with one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Dan Marino. Marino never won a Super Bowl but is still considered one of the best of all time. Because he is. Perhaps, wins are not a quarterback stat and it takes a full team to accomplish wins.
Maybe, this isn’t current enough for people, so let’s bring it forward to Peyton Manning. In his first four seasons, the Colts had a .500 record. In fact, for all the wins the Colts had after those first four years, it still took another six years for Manning to have a Super Bowl, in fact, the Colts were 3-6 in the playoffs until they finally went on to win it all. Again, maybe wins are not a quarterback stat, I mean that would mean Dak and Peyton have the same “winning record percentage” in the playoffs at the same point in their careers.
So perhaps, this is not enough to sway the idea wins are not a quarterback stat, there are currently only 6 QBs with “winning records” against winning teams. Brady, Wilson, Mahomes, Jackson, Roethlisberger, and Garoppolo. Of those, no one would call Garoppolo a “good” quarterback or, at least, no one should. If a coach intentionally keeps the ball out of your hands to win a game, you can’t call yourself “good”. Think about that, to win a game, the 49ers intentionally asked him not to throw the ball. It’s almost like winning had nothing to do with a quarterback. But that just proves my point – winning is a team accomplishment not an individual accomplishment.
Let’s look at the rest of those quarterbacks. Wilson had the “Legion of Boom” and since then, he has struggled to advance as a “winner” despite advancing as QB. Jackson has the best defense in the league on the other side of the ball but has a worse “record” in the playoffs than Dak.
Ben had the famed Steelers defense, and like Wilson has struggled to accomplish a ton without it. Mahomes is the only quarterback on this list that has not had the luxury of an elite defense. But he had a great coaching staff and decent defense to pair with the best offense in the NFL.
Brady has consistently had strong defenses, strong offensive supporting casts, and elite coaching. When Brady didn’t have the team around him (2019), he lost games and looked like he was washed. It would seem it takes a whole team to win games, right?
But again, maybe this isn’t enough to sway those who are clutching to wins like an old lady clutching her peals. Let’s look at a specific game that a quarterback “won”. The year is 2018, it is December, and Andrew Luck and the Colts take on the Cody Kessler-led Jaguars. The Jags walk out winners in a 6-0 thriller. Luck’s stats 33-52, 248 yards, and 1 INT, Kessler’s stats 18-24, 150 yards, but yet Kessler is credited with a “win”. Neither quarterback is why their team won or lost, but here we are.
It is time to retire the idea wins being a quarterback stat. There are a ton of ways to determine if a quarterback is good or not. Dak falls into the good category when looking at all the other measurables to grade a quarterback, if you can’t see it you are just being obtuse.
The second you are in a debate and bring out quarterback “wins” you have already lost. So say it with me Cowboys fans, “Wins aren’t a QB stat.”