When the Cowboys lost this past weekend I couldn’t get that stupid Meta Quest commercial out of my head. Yes, the Whopper one, but also this one, which would easily be my most annoying ad of 2022 if the whopper ads didn’t exist. That video game menu ambient track would come on and I’d hear that stupid kid going “I wanna be the QB of the Dallas Cowboys. Not Later. Now”. I heard it at least 8 times per game and I hated it every time. But that was where my head turned during the Cowboys loss.

I wonder if Dak Prescott ever actually was that kid, dreaming about this. Dreaming about the joy of incredible performances for Dallas. I doubt his dreams ever featured the very real adult problems of not living up to expectations. Of having media analysts rip you apart. Of a certain subset of fans who would simply never love you and relish the opportunity to bemoan your existence. Blame you for every failure, deserved or not. And you could argue Dak deserves a lot of the blame for the 49ers loss.

Dak’s first pick was atrocious, a wild throw to a 49er on the sideline with the actual target 10 yards behind him. I’m still not sure if Gallup gave up on the route or Dak was off target by that much. It gave the ball to the 49ers in field goal range. That’s 3 points. His second pick was an ill-advised throw directly to a linebacker jumping Lamb’s route, although the defender bobbled it only for a different defender to catch it. The ball never should have been thrown. This was in the red zone, taking at least 3 points away from the Cowboys. That’s 6 points swung on Dak turnovers. Add to that the blocked extra point, and Cowboys mistakes were the very 7 points they needed to tie the game at the end.

I’ve always had a fairly high opinion of Prescott as a QB but after 7 years it’s clear he is not elite. He’s a tier 2 guy, a guy who can win it and look great, but who can also just shit the bed at the worst times and drag the team down. It’s almost eerie how close his career resembles the same vibes as Tony Romo. Tony never quite managed to break into that top tier of respect and had a lot of dumb game-ending picks. He never really got the support of all the fans. I still remember being shocked by the Tony love after Dak took his job, Tony never got that respect when he actually played. Now Dak is dealing with the same thing. Plenty of Cowboys fans do appreciate Dak. Plenty of others do not.

It’s certainly not like Dak deserves all the blame. The offensive playcalling let him down, Mike McCarthy’s time management also let him down. The end of that game was another McCarthy masterpiece of bad decisions. The Cowboys had 4th and ten with under 3 minutes left, down a touchdown. The Cowboys punted, like absolute cowards. They got lucky when a 49er went out of bounds on a first down and spared them a timeout, and they got the ball back even further away from the endzone with just over 90 seconds left, Dalton Schultz promptly didn’t catch an easy chunk yardage ball and also didn’t get out of bounds on a different pass, costing the Cowboys what little time they actually had.

Then, at that point, the Cowboys had nothing left, so they ran the dumbest play in the world. A lot has been made of the last play. What was the play even designed to accomplish? Did they not account for the fact that Zeke had no chance of blocking a single linebacker? I kind of forgive the last play though, because what are you supposed to do from your own 25-yard line with no time left? It’s a miracle long-shot play no matter what, at least they tried something unusual. It just, you know, didn’t work. The Cowboys truly lost that game when they punted with under 3 minutes left. That last drive was just a pathetic tiny final turd, barely squeezed out after 10 minutes of grunts, dropping pathetically into the bowl. Another year, another Cowboys-less NFCCG.

Dak cannot will the Cowboys to a super bowl like the elite QBs seemingly can. He needs help. Letting Cooper go was a mistake. Zeke is toasted. Lamb gets the dropsies. McCarthy is a dumbass. I will never wish the Cowboys success, but I do hope one day, Dak can be free of the pressures of being a flawed QB in the most annoying sports market in existence.