By the Numbers: Comparing Tony Romo and Dak Prescott

What story do the numbers tell when comparing the first six career starts of Cowboys quarterbacks Tony Romo & Dak Prescott?


Tony Romo became the full-time starter in Game 7 of the 2006 season which was his fourth in the NFL. He entered the 2006 season as Drew Bledsoe’s backup, and did not play in three of the first six games. In Game 6 versus the Giants, he entered the game at halftime when Bledsoe was benched. He threw 2 touchdown passes and 3 interceptions in relief of Bledsoe, and was named the starter heading into the next week’s game – Game 7 – at Carolina on October 29th. The following statistics are comprised of his starts beginning with that game at Carolina, his first NFL start.

Dak Prescott entered his rookie season listed as #3 on the QB depth chart. He became the starter by default because of injuries to Romo (fractured vertebra) and Kellen Moore (broken ankle) during the month of August.

The following statistics cover the first 6 games of the 2016 season heading into the team’s bye week.

29 October 2006 - Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys during the Cowboys 35-14 win over the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by James D. Smith.


Date            Opponent         Win/Loss                      Stats                                        Passer Rating

10/29/02  @ Carolina:           WIN       24 of 36, 270 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT                          86.6

11/5/02     @ Washington      LOSS     24 of 36, 284 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT                         109.0

11/12/02   @ Arizona              WIN      20 of 29, 308 yds, 2 TD, 0 I                               125.8

11/19/02    Indianapolis         WIN      19 of 23, 226 yds,  0 TD, 1 INT                          89.5

11/23/02   Tampa Bay            WIN      22 of 29, 306 yds, 5 TD. 0 INT                          148.9

12/3/02    @ NY Giants          WIN      20 of 34, 257 yds, 0 TD, 2 INT, 1 sack             58.1

11 Sept 2016:    Dak Prescott (4)     of the Dallas Cowboys during their 20-19 loss to the  New York Giants in the 2016 NFL week 1 regular season football game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys


9/11/16      NY Giants              LOSS     25 of 45, 227 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT                         69.4

9/18/16     @ Washington      WIN      22 of 30, 292 yds, 0 TD passes, 1 TD rush     103.8

9/25/16     Chicago                  WIN      19 of 24, 248 yds, 1 TD pass, 1 TD rush          123.6

10/2/06    @ San Francisco   WIN      24 of 33, 252 yds, 2 TDs                                    114.7

10/9/06     Cincinnati             WIN      18 of 24, 227 yds, 1 TD pass, 1 TD rush          117.9

10/16/06   @ Green Bay         WIN      18 of 27, 247 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT                        117.4


Win/Loss Record: Romo 5-1, Prescott 5-1

Touchdown Passes: Romo 10, Prescott 7

Touchdown Runs: Romo 0, Prescott 3

Passing Yards: Romo 1,651, Prescott 1,493

QB Rating (average over six games): Romo 102.98, Prescott 107.8

As you can see, Romo & Prescott have nearly identical numbers over the first six starts of their careers, respectively.

The most important statistic is the win-loss record. They each went 5 and 1.

Both accounted for the same number of touchdowns, 10 each (10 TD passes by Romo, 7 passing TDs and 3 rushing TDs by Prescott).

Their average quarterback ratings are also nearly identical.

Of course, it’s important to note that numbers don’t tell the complete story. Anytime you compare players and different seasons, it can never be a truly apples-to-apples comparison.

For example, Romo had three years to sit and watch from the bench before getting thrown into the fire. Prescott had one offseason of work as a third-string rookie.

Then again, back in 2006, Romo did not have the luxury of handing the ball off to the league’s leading rusher the way that Prescott can do with Ezekiel Elliott. Romo’s top running back in 2006 was Julius Jones. His top receivers in 2006 were Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn.

The coaching staffs were completely different. Bill Parcells was head coach in 2006 with Todd Haley as passing game coordinator, Maurice Carthon as running game coordinator, and Chris Palmer as QBs coach. In 2016, Jason Garrett is head coach, Scott Linehan is the offensive coordinator, and Wade Wilson the QBs coach.

As for the roster, besides Romo, the only player from the Cowboys’ offense in 2006 that is still on the Cowboys’ roster in 2016 is tight end Jason Witten.

In spite of a different coaching staff and completely different roster on offense (with the exception of Jason Witten), the numbers that Romo put up in 2006 are remarkably close. But the bottom line is win/loss, and that is identical.