Tony Romo didn't get his first NFL start until a month into his third season. DeMarco Murray began his first professional season as the third string running back behind Felix Jones and Tashard Choice.
In 2016 the Dallas Cowboys will start a rookie at quarterback and running back to open the season for the first time since 1969 when Roger Staubach and Calvin Hill were the starting backfield.
The Cowboys beat the St. Louis Cardinals 24-3 in that game. Staubach threw for 220 yards and a touchdown. Hill rushed for 70 yards and coincidentally threw a touchdown as well in his only pass attempt of the game.
It began a long and beneficial relationship. Staubach went on to play 11 seasons with the Cowboys, winning two Super Bowls and playing in six Pro Bowls. Hill played six seasons for the Cowboys including four Pro Bowls.
The Cowboys would obviously love the same kind of future for Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot who will be starters in their first NFL games Sunday against the New York Giants.
Elliot, who was the number four overall pick in this year's draft, has claimed that he has a target on his back and he feels that he and Prescott are prepared for the challenge.
[embeddedad0]"I think we're ready," Elliot said Wednesday. "I think we're prepared. We're both very poised. I think that we're excited to compete. Just because we're rookies we don't want anyone to think there will be any drop-offs."
Prescott, on the other hand, was a fourth-round pick expected to compete for the backup quarterback spot behind Tony Romo. Prescott's stellar preseason performances and Romo's back injury propelled him into the spotlight for the opener. But Jason Garrett echoed Elliot's confidence in the new quarterback. "[Prescott] has a poise and a composure about him that's beyond his age."
Interestingly enough, the NFL's last example of a rookie quarterback and rookie running back opening a season together as starters was in 2012 when the Redskins started Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris, who is currently backing up Elliot in the backfield.
The young duo shocked the world when they defeated the Saints in New Orleans 40-32. Griffin threw for 320 yards, rushed for 42 more, and threw two touchdowns. Morris took 28 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
Griffin and Morris only improved with experience and chemistry together over their rookie season. The Redskins finished the 2012 season with seven straight wins including a victory over Dallas on December 30th in which the winner would earn a playoff spot. Morris pounded the Cowboys defense with 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Even with all the hype he's already received, Elliot would have a lot to live up to if he were to put Morris' rookie season as a standard for success. He doesn't seem too worried about himself or his quarterback crediting his alma mater (Ohio State) and Prescott's (Mississippi State) with readying them for big moments.
"It's a mentality, honestly," Elliot said. "It's a mentality that we both have coming from the programs that we did and carrying a large load at the programs that we did. We have that confidence and that swagger.