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Nick at Nite

Nick at Nite: Micah Parsons is making my job hard


FRISCO, Texas — Every time that Micah Parsons steps onto the field, it becomes increasingly more difficult to find words to describe his greatness.

In the business of writing and speaking words, I try to be conscientious and intentional about keeping my ideas and thoughts fresh – not re-using superlatives or key words to describe any specific thing. In just two weeks, Micah Parsons has been testing me arguably just as much as he's tested opposing quarterbacks. I've had to reach so deep into my bag that it's starting to feel a lot like a collapsing pocket of dialogue.

In short, I need help.

This column serves as more of an exercise so that I don't end up on the wrong side of Micah Parsons' impact like so many have before.


It starts with simply his presence. Accounting for No. 11 is the first thing that opposing quarterbacks have to do when they get to the line. Being one of the top pass-rushers in the league, his impact starts in the pre-snap process for offenses.

Once the ball is snapped, Parsons' strength and finesse in his agility moves has been something that has not only set himself up for success, but it's set up his teammates for sacks and plays in the backfield – much like this play that set up Osa Odighizuwa for one of his three sacks this season.

Even when Parsons is not finishing the play himself, it's easy to find No. 11 at the root of a successful play in the backfield.


Speed has been a constant theme with this team and with the way it's been constructed since the arrival of Will McClay's philosophies into how the team scouts from the ground level. When it comes to winning, two things typically trend: speed and size.

In looking at the speed on the team, KaVontae Turpin and Brandin Cooks have the fastest 40-yard dash times from their respective draft processes (4.31 and 4.33, respectively).

The third-fastest on the team? It's not Tony Pollard. It's not Deuce Vaughn. It's not even Trevon Diggs with his gargantuan strides downfield. It's Micah Parsons.

You see that speed on full display from the moment the ball is snapped, as he recorded the fastest average pass-rush get-off time in any one game for any player in the last two seasons in week two against the Jets. Against the New York offensive line, he was getting off the line on an average of 0.57 seconds. 

His speed in getting to the quarterback? Even more electrifying.

On his first of two sacks from Sunday, Parsons started off the edge before bouncing off to fly through a gap in the interior of the offensive line like he was shot out of a cannon before ragdolling Zach Wilson to the ground. All of that happened in a span of 2.22 seconds.

His verified speed – going all the way back to when he ran track in high school – is faster than 89-percent of all players that have ever been drafted. Insanity.


When Micah Parsons is on the field, a show is bound to happen.

It's been so constant that broadcast teams almost exclusively highlight Parsons when the Dallas defense hits the field. And if they don't, he steals the spotlight back rather quickly when the ball is snapped.

But even aside from his on-field play, his personality and demeanor off the field leaves everybody keying in on what headline he will provide next.

After Saturday's performance, Parsons was candid about what fuels his on-field motor on a daily basis as well as why it stays that way throughout the course of a game – a game that he said during training camp that he would play six quarters in if he needed to.

"I'm just hungry," he said. "It doesn't matter where I'm at, I'm coming. I don't care if I'm gassed out, my lungs hurt. It's mind over matter. Every time I'm out there, I seize every opportunity. I take this extremely to the heart. This organization changed my life, so I'm trying to give everything I have back to the fans, back to Mr. Jones and all my teammates."

When that quote hit social media, it was clear that people were holding onto every word that came out of his mouth. It kept people engaged, fascinated…captivated.


It's not often you can use this word. Even in an era where social media, podcasts and studio shows overuse just about every superlative in the book, the word "generational" is rarely taken lightly.

But when you look at the first two seasons for Parsons and the pace that he is currently on in season three, it's hard to keep that one reserved.

Let's look at it statistically: his 26 sacks in his first two seasons are the sixth-most in NFL history; his six games with more than two sacks through the first 12 weeks of the 2022 season is the most in league history; his Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2021 is the first in franchise history; his 4.39 40-yard dash time is the second-fastest in history for a linebacker and the fastest ever for a defensive lineman (depending on what you want to characterize him as).

But even in looking at all of those accomplishments on paper, what makes him a once in a generation type talent?

Maybe it's his positional fluidity, or his unreal combination of speed and strength off the edge. Maybe it's his ability to impact all 22 players on the field by simply existing, or his potential to help carry a team to unseen success.

Regardless of the definition, everyone agrees that the kid from Pennsylvania that grew up an Eagles fan has the ability to carry Dallas to the promised land – something that the franchise hasn't had in one person with that level of impact in at least a generation.

If he can etch the accolade of a Dallas Super Bowl into his belt, even without a Defensive Player of the Year or NFL MVP award, Parsons will have conquered the final word in the book. Everything else would have been used or described, whether any certain person believes it or not. But with that, no one would be able to avoid it. In Dallas Cowboys history, he would forever be one thing.


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