By Will Johnson
It has been said that art imitates life. Sometimes, however, it’s the other way around and life imitates art. Such is the case with the 2016-2017 version of the Dallas Cowboys.
In the 1999, movie “Any Given Sunday” an aging white, veteran QB is hurt and replaced by a young, African American QB. The film featured Dennis Quaid as Jack “Cap” Rooney, the aging quarterback who was still looking for that one last shot at glory. Opposite Quaid was Jamie Foxx who starred as ‘Steamin’ Willie Beamen, a young up and coming quarterback looking to make his mark in the league.
If the story sounds familiar, you’re right. Tony Romo (Cap) was hurt in the pre-season and hasn’t taken a snap so far this year. Romo was replaced by rookie Dak Prescott (Willie Beamen). Beamen – oops – Prescott, has led the Cowboys to a 3-1 record and has looked good in his four starts.
Another similarity between the movie and the Cowboys was Beamen had run afoul of several teams prior to taking over for Cap while Dak had an off-the-field issue shortly before the draft this year, which caused his stock to drop.
One similarity it’s hoped never comes to pass is the music video Willie Beamon made after he experienced some success. Fortunately, Dak hasn’t found his inner Jamie Foxx and hasn’t made a video – as of a yet. “My name is Dak, Dak Prescott” doesn’t quite flow like, “My name is Willie, Willie Beamen.”
As any critic of the film genre will tell you, drama often times comes from controversy. Once Cap Rooney was healthy, Willie Beamen took a back seat and was relegated to the bench. Dak hasn’t faced this yet, but Tony Romo is slated to be available in Week 8, after the Cowboys’ bye.
A few quotes stand out from the movie and also serve to drive the life imitating art scenario home. In the film, as Rooney tries to come back from his latest injury, the team doctor (played by James Woods) answered a question about the veteran QB’s status and replied, “He’s so freaked about Beamen taking his spot, he’d play with a fractured neck.”
If you’ve watched the first four games of the Cowboys’ season, when the cameras cut to a shot of the injured Romo, you could almost see that same look. After all, this is a QB who has played with a broken back.
The second quote was from Cap Rooney to Willie Beamen. Rooney told his protégé, “Hey, they love you today, but a season is 16 games kid, and it’s how you live through the bad ones that make you a quarterback, not a punk.”
If you listen closely, you just might hear Tony Romo tell Dak Prescott the same thing.
“Any Given Sunday” was released at the end of the ‘90s and the Cowboys were less than five years removed from their last Super Bowl win.
Inthe film, as Willie Beamen was talking to Coach Tony D’Amato (played by Al Pacino), he glanced at photos from the team’s salad days.
He remarked, “I look at those pictures on the wall, it just makes me sad. It’s like a room full of ghosts. When I’m done with the game, or the game is done with me, I don’t wanna be some ghost up on the wall, I wanna be more than that.”
You almost have to wonder, 17 years after the movie was released, when Dak Prescott looks at pictures or trophies at the Cowboys’ brand new training facility, is he thinking the same thing?
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.