So you believe in the sophomore slump theory, huh?
You know, that follow-up season by an athlete after an outstanding rookie year that doesn’t quite live up to expectations.
The Dallas Cowboys have two such second-year players in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. They were so good as rookies it’s almost unfair to ask them to play better. But they should, with experience, and that should bode well for the offense.
But what if they struggle? Setting aside the fact that Elliott is suspended for six games, is he capable of following up his league-leading 1,631yards in 2016?
And Prescott, who shocked most people by stepping in and excelling as a rookie when Tony Romo was injured during the preseason. Did he prove he was the real deal?
Let’s compare different Cowboys legends, the Three Amigos from the 1990s and the stars from the 1970s. How did they do in their second season in the league?
52.9 %, 1,749 yds, 9/18 TD/INT
56.6 %, 2,579 yds, 11/18 TD/TNT
3.9 avg., 937 yds, 11 TD
4.3 avg., 1,563 yds, 12 TD
32 rec., 654 yds, 5 TD
26 rec., 378 yds, 2 TD (6 games)
48.9 %, 426 yds, 2/1 (6 games)
53.7 %, 542 yds, 2/8 TD/INT
4.8 avg., 1,007 yds, 12 TD
4.6 avg., 1,325 yds, 7 TD
22 rec., 388 yds, 2 TD
62 rec., 1,087 yds, 2 TD
The Cowboys’ 1990s stars followed up with better seasons in their second year. Even Michael Irvin, who missed most of the ’89 season because of injury, had better per-game averages as a sophomore.
In the ’70s, Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett and Drew Pearson all proved they were the real deal in their sophomore seasons. Dorsett rushed for 300 more yards in ’78 although he had five fewer touchdowns. Pearson increased his receptions by 40 and his receiving yards by 700 in ’74.
In limited action in both his rookie season in ’69 and his sophomore season in ’70, Staubach improve his completion percentage and passing yards.