FRISCO, Texas – As good as he was on the field during his debut season, Dak Prescott was equally adept off it.
Throughout the ups and downs of a 13-3 campaign, the rookie quarterback handled himself like a seasoned veteran. He answered every question correctly, avoided a brewing quarterback controversy and never seemed to let the spotlight affect his play.
Perhaps that's why, in the moments following his win at NFL Honors, where he was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year on Saturday night, it was interesting to see Prescott in a more candid light.
"It was a fun season, a great season – a great Year 1 for me. I tried to make the most of it," Prescott said on Saturday night. "Obviously, I want to be playing – a bunch of people want to be playing tomorrow. That's the reality. But overall, to win 13 games, to make the run to give ourselves a chance like we did in that last game of the season – it was a fun ride."
Prescott accepted his award alongside Ezekiel Elliott, who was the other favorite to win it. Disappointing as the end to their season might have been, it was still remarkable to see two of the biggest contributors to the Cowboys' success standing on stage after their rookie seasons.
"He deserves it just as much as I do, from his yards and his catches, the way we handled things in the backfield – it was always together," Prescott said of Elliott. "As I said, the defense had to hone in and really focus on stopping the run game, which made my job easier. So without Zeke, I wouldn't have won it."
With the Super Bowl no concluded, Prescott should have a long layoff before he goes in front of another microphone. The NFL Scouting Combine, where the Cowboys had their first impactful meetings with him, begins in three weeks. Free agency opens in one month, where the team will begin to piece together a team that can build on what Prescott and Co. managed in 2016.
"You take a step back and think about what those guys did as rookies," said Jason Witten on Saturday evening. "You think in the middle of August, when Tony got hurt, to think that we would have the season we had and we would win 11 in a row. It's just remarkable for young players to play that way at key positions."
Which brings thing back to Prescott's candor. With the 2016 festivities coming to a close, it was interesting that he was asked for his favorite specific memory from his first season. The Cowboys will hoping for many more moments in the years to come, but it was a fun remembrance while the long wait for another season begins.
"I think one of my favorite plays, or whatever, this year was the first Philadelphia game – at home that Sunday night," he said. "That was probably one of my worst games, I guess you could say – from the standpoint of my footwork. It just wasn't close, I was missing throws, I wasn't being smart with the ball. But for me to give my team a chance to win – and I hadn't thrown Witten a touchdown all year long. That's the game that he broke the record for starts. And to get that touchdown to Witten – a guy that I respect so much, that's made me a better player and person – it was a special moment for me."
In a season full of special moments, it was fitting that Prescott and Elliott had another one to cap off the year.