FRISCO, Texas – There's no point hiding from it, so Dak Prescott didn't bother.
Days before his second career playoff game, the Cowboys' signal-caller was asked directly: how much does postseason success factor into a quarterback's legacy?
"I think it's everything. I don't pay attention to any stat but wins and losses," he said. "So, you say that a quarterback's success depends on what they do in the playoffs – yeah, that's where the checks get written and they make their money, to be honest."
It was a bit surreal to hear Prescott talk about writing checks and making money, given the contract situation he's currently facing. The former fourth-round draft picks still has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but the conversation about a possible contract extension has been ongoing since this past offseason.
Along that line of thinking, there's no denying the obvious. Starting on Saturday night, Prescott has a big opportunity to make a big statement on his resume by delivering a first career playoff win – which would be just the Cowboys' second playoff win during Jason Garrett's coaching tenure.
"Our job is to win, no matter what happens, no matter how you played individually," Prescott said. "At the end of the day, it's to get the job done. I'm excited for my opportunity to be back in the playoffs after missing last year, but excited for this team."
Individual performance might not matter to the results column, but Prescott's individual effort has been a big part of the Cowboys' entrance into the postseason. In the time since the team traded for Amari Cooper, he is completing 71 percent of his passes for an average of 274 yards per game. He has thrown for 14 touchdowns and rushed for another four, helping to spark the Cowboys to a 7-1 record in the second half of the season.
"He always, even if we're down 14 or whatever the score is, he's always saying it's going to happen – we're going to make it happen. We're going to come back," Cooper said. "Just that belief from our leader, it permeates to everybody else."
The stat floating around this week comes courtesy of Prescott's latest heroics against the Giants. By connecting with Cole Beasley on 4th-and-15 for the winning score, he engineered the 14th game-winning drive of his career – the most ever by a quarterback in just his third NFL season.
"Like I said before, he's a winner. That's why he has 14 game-winning drives," Cooper said.
That's pretty much the epicenter of the debate about Prescott. With fewer than 50 career games under his belt, he clearly has plenty to work on as a passer. His accuracy can be spotty, his mechanics inconsistent and his awareness lacking.
All that said, it's hard to argue against the bottom line – 32 wins in three seasons, three-straight winning records and two trips to the playoffs. And if you're not buying that line of thinking, keep in mind that it comes straight from the Cowboys' front office, as team executive vice president Stephen Jones pointed it out on Sunday afternoon.
"It's hard with these young guys. It takes a long time for Brady to be Brady and Peyton to be Peyton and Romo to be Romo and Aikman to be Aikman," Jones said. "It's rare that guys just step in and consistently perform at an All-Pro level, game in and game out. All I can tell you about Dak is that he wins games."
To this point, that's true – but the playoffs are a different story. If quarterback's legacies are written in the postseason, then Prescott's second chapter starts on Saturday, and it's a challenge he's not shying away from.
"It's huge," he said. "I think that success from this position starts with winning playoff games, so it's huge."