Dak Prescott Shows More Maturity Than Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy

It takes a big man to admit making a mistake and the 58-year-old coach is proving himself to be a pretty small fellow

Quarterback Dak Prescott and head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys before an NFL preseason game
Quarterback Dak Prescott and head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys before an NFL preseason game.
Christian Petersen/Getty

Amid the fallout from Sunday’s loss to the underdog 49ers in Dallas, two of the faces of the Cowboys franchise are handling themselves in completely opposite ways.

The first, 58-year-old coach Mike McCarthy, is behaving like a petulant child. The second, 28-year-old quarterback Dak Prescott, is acting like the adult in the room despite being three decades younger than his veteran coach.

The differing reactions from McCarthy and Prescott stem from a play call at the end of regulation with the Cowboys trailing in the game that saw Dallas send its quarterback on a run up the middle that didn’t stop the clock. Though Prescott may have had time to get to the line and spike the ball to give Dallas one last shot at the end zone, he had trouble getting the ball to the official and time expired before the Cowboys could attempt a Hail Mary.

A debatable call with a somewhat predictable ending, the play was a good example of the dysfunction that defines Dallas these days. Ugly as the play was on the field, it led to an even grosser display off of it as Cowboys fans pelted officials with debris as they left the field. Even worse, Prescott said “credit to them” of the fans’ actions during his postgame press conference, leading the NFL to fine Dallas quarterback $25,000 earlier this week for his comments.

Prescott, realizing his mistake, issued a public apology for his remarks via social media. “I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after the game on Sunday,” Prescott wrote on Twitter. “I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were uncalled for and unfair. I hold the NFL Officials in the highest regard and have always respected their professionalism and the difficulty of their jobs. The safety of everyone who attends a game or participates on the field of a sporting event is a very serious matter. That was a mistake on my behalf, and I am sorry.”

Unlike his young quarterback, McCarthy was unable to admit he made a mistake with what turned out to be the game’s final play and insisted calling a quarterback run up the middle with no timeouts left was “the right call.”

“The situation is right off the call sheet. So, that part’s right,” McCarthy told the Dallas Morning News. “The part we got to talk about as a staff and had a chance to visit with Dak about it and speaking with officiating last night, is the mechanics, our mechanics matching their mechanics. I’m not going to get into their mechanics. But as far as the draw play, the execution, the only thing Dak and I talked about was put a yard limit on it.”

What McCarthy should do is put a sock in it or at the very least stop insisting that the decision he made was the correct call. If he wants to stand by his decision, it’s his right to do so, but that doesn’t mean that his call was the right one.

In football as in life, a little contrition can go a long way. Young as he is, Prescott realizes that. Why one-time Super Bowl winner McCarthy doesn’t is a head-scratcher — much like the play he called that ended the Cowboys’ season.

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!