The interesting similarities between Don Meredith and Dak Prescott

In January of 1969, at the age of 31, Don Meredith, the Dallas Cowboys’ first “star” QB shocked the sports world by announcing his retirement. I was 10 years old at the time and remember being shocked that Meredith did that. But much like the current Cowboys QB, Meredith had become unpopular with fans for not getting it done in the playoffs and after numerous injuries he felt his time was up.

In fact, I find it very interesting how similar the situation is today in 2024 to what happened after the Cowboys 1968 early exit from the playoffs

Don Meredith had led those 60s Cowboys from expansion team awful to making the playoffs 3 straight years including two heartbreaking losses to GB in the conference championship games in 1966 at the Cotton Bowl and in the Ice Bowl at Lambeau in 1967. Meredith’s last playoff game in 1968 ended in an embarrassing 31-20 loss to the browns in the first round.

Despite having a very good regular season record as a starter, Meredith ended up 1-3 in the playoffs, his one playoff win being a first round win against the Browns in ‘67 at the Cotton Bowl. In 1968, the Cowboys were 12-2, division winners, had made the playoffs 3 straight years, and looked like they were primed to go to another conference championship game. Then disaster struck in the first round and Meredith became the most polarizing guy wearing a star on his helmet.

Sound familiar?

Look at the similarities between Dak and Don Meredith:

  • In 2023, Dak was second team All Pro. In Meredith’s last season in ‘68, he was second team All Pro.
  • Meredith led the Cowboys to three straight playoff appearances – 1966, ‘67 and ‘68. But they only won one playoff game in those 3 years. Dak has led the Cowboys to the playoffs 3 straight years, winning only one wild card game in the 2022 season.
  • Dak has been an overall excellent QB in the regular season the last 3 seasons, going 31-14 (Cooper Rush was 5-1 in that period when Dak was hurt). Meredith was 26-9 his last 3 seasons as a starter, but again 1-3 in the playoffs.

I don’t think Dak will do what Meredith did at the end of the 1968 season and announce his retirement. There’s too much money on the table for him compared to DM’s day. But if I were in Dak’s shoes, I would want to be traded. Meredith realized that despite it certainly not being all on him that those late 60s Cowboys couldn’t get it done, he did realize that the target on his back would only get larger.

Once the fan base turns on a QB, it becomes extremely difficult for that QB to push the restart button every season. I am NOT one of those that think all we need is a new QB and things will be rosy again. Dak is not as bad as way too many here think. But I do believe like Don Meredith came to realize, sometimes your period as QB of the Cowboys runs out. If I was #4 I would be looking for a new address.

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