Mac Engel

Dak Prescott seems too good to be true. Let’s hope it stays that way

Dak Prescott picking up a new sport

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott attended the FC Dallas match on Saturday night (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).
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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott attended the FC Dallas match on Saturday night (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).

Standing next to the statue of Lamar Hunt, Dak Prescott wrapped the sculpture with an FC Dallas scarf and then participated in the franchise’s pregame chant of “Three more points! Three more points!”

Soccer was one of the few sports Dak didn’t play as a kid, but like so much else, he is a quick learner.

“I have so much respect and appreciation for these guys. A different type of athlete, I guess you could say,” Dak said after his pregame festivities on Saturday night. “Just the way they touch the ball with their feet. Obviously I need the ball in my hands, so it’s a bit different. It amazes me the way they can control the ball.”

Prescott has attended a number of high-profile events as a featured guest during the off-season. I asked him if there is one on his bucket list: red carpet at the Oscars, waving the green flag at the Indianapolis 500, dinner at the White House, etc.

“For me personally ... they’re all cool getting a chance to do them,” he said, “but getting a chance to do the coin flip at the Super Bowl would be the best.”

Ahhh .... well played, young man. Golf clap indeed.

Seemingly every person who has met Dak has arrived at the same destination: this guy is good. Almost too good. There is a level of political awareness to his rhetoric that sounds like BS but actually comes across as sincere and believable.

The last guy to enter the league this polished and this aware has the last name Manning. Eli or Payton.

Dak is not perfect, and he will stumble eventually. One of the biggest challenges he will face is how he deals with it. Will it derail him or will he just move on?

I have no idea, but I am pulling for him if for no other reason it would be nice to believe in a “hero” again. One who does the right thing or whose mistakes are simply kept to an interception, a fumble or a loss.

Heroism is a tricky proposition, and one that the many who are tagged with it do not desire. While the benefits of the label are bountiful and fun, it sets up an implausible level of expectation from the adoring masses.

Since 9/11, we have updated our definition of hero. There has been a conscious effort to categorize entertainers as something other than heroic because we know that hitting a home run just doesn’t compare to entering a burning building or serving our country against a hostile enemy.

We in the media began the process of slaughtering our sports heroes decades ago by exposing them for their fallibility. For their stupidity. For their shameful arrogance. For their unbridled humanity.

Not all of our favorite players or entertainers fit into these categories, but there are enough examples for an encyclopedia set.

Looking at Tiger Woods’ recent mugshot for his DUI we forget that for a long time this man had cultivated a carefully crafted public image of perfection, complete with a beautiful wife and equally gorgeous children.

On Monday morning, Bill Cosby entered a courthouse to begin his sexual assault hearing. Bill Cosby and sexual assault should not go together, but now it’s disgraceful to mention the first without adding the second.

Former NBA point guard Derek Fisher briefly spent some time with the Dallas Mavericks before he left the team because he said he missed his family. But he was tired of losing with the Mavericks and eventually signed with the vastly superior Oklahoma City Thunder.

For a while there was no better “Good Guy” in the NBA than Fisher.

Well, Fisher is now a divorced, former NBA head coach who was arrested on a DUI charge Sunday after he flipped his car in a wreck near Los Angeles.

These are just three of the latest high-profile entertainers who cultivated Mr. Family Guy personas only to be revealed as frauds. They were exposed as weak, vulnerable, stupid and small. They were all uncovered to be human.

None of these men invented these behaviors. They were just busted. It safe to assume that many of the jocks and entertainers before 24-hour news and cell phones were partaking in similar activities.

We in DFW have been blessed with some genuinely good guys with virtually pristine records: Dirk Nowitzki, Adrian Beltre, Michael Young, Jamie Benn, Tyson Chandler, Rolando Blackman, Darren Woodson, to name a few of the dozens.

But the scrutiny and platform Dak inherited is unlike any other in sports. Just ask the guy whose job he took. Tony Romo would not have been named the No. 1 NFL analyst on CBS if he had been the quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars or San Diego Chargers.

As Dak is learning, and enjoying, there are many benefits to being the QB of America’s Team.

He has yet to hit a bump on this wonderfully charming story. He will.

We all do.

Whatever it is, hopefully the bump won’t be too big and it won’t change our impression of a person who, thus far, seems too good to be true.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof

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