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Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys will be Monday’s top story no matter what – Boston Herald



The Dallas Cowboys will be either the toast or the roast of the entire country on Monday morning.

If they beat the San Francisco 49ers, they would advance to their first NFC Championship Game since 1995, which was also the last year they won the Super Bowl.

Your local Dallas fan would start wearing his Cowboys starter jacket outside again.

But if they lose, Jerry Jones, Dak Prescott and the ‘Boys won’t be able to shake the shame of losing to a seventh-round, Mr. Irrelevant rookie quarterback named Brock Purdy, regardless of how good the Niners’ team is around him.

Cowboys edge rusher Micah Parsons knows there is only one satisfactory result for his franchise.

“My goal is the Super Bowl, bro,” the All-Pro said this week.

The Cowboys’ five all-time Super Bowls have faded into the distant past during a 27-year drought.

Entering this postseason, Dallas had limped to an embarrassing 4-11 record in its 15 playoff games since Barry Switzer’s Cowboys had beaten Bill Cowher’s Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-17, on Jan. 28, 1996 in Super Bowl XXX.

They made the postseason only 11 times in 26 years from 1996 through 2021.

That included just four playoff appearances in the last 12 seasons and only one postseason win since 2014: a 24-22 Wild Card victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 5. 2019.

But then, last weekend, they did it:

The Cowboys blew out Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road, 31-14, and announced to the NFC and the NFL that they are legitimate contenders this season.

Coach Mike McCarthy had them ready. Prescott was the star. He completed 25-of-33 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran seven times for 24 yards and another TD.

Tight end Dalton Schultz, coached by former Giants assistant Lunda Wells, caught seven balls for 95 yards and two TDs.

Now, Prescott is eager to exact revenge on the 49ers for last season’s devastating 23-17 loss in Arlington, Texas. Prescott said he wanted to go through San Fran a year later to get them back.

“Most definitely I did,” Prescott said this week. “I think this whole team did. Using that loss last year as motivation and as the focal point of the resiliency we carried into the offseason and into this year, we get a chance to go back to their place and do something we want to do.”

Prescott, a $40 million-a-year man, won’t receive any reprieves if he loses this game, however, even though the Cowboys are underdogs to a Niners team that has won 10 straight.

That’s because he is going up against Purdy, 23, the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft from Iowa State, who threw his first NFL pass in Week 7 and started his first game in Week 13.

The crazy part, though, is that Purdy has played way above his draft status or lack of experience after QBs Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo both went down.

Purdy has led the Niners to a 6-0 record since taking over, including playoffs.

He went 5-0 down the stretch of the regular season, completing 114 of 170 pass attempts (67.1%) passes for 1,374 yards, 13 TD and four interceptions. He also ran 22 times for 13 yards and another TD.

Then, although the Seattle Seahawks went toe to toe with the Niners in the first half of their Wild Card game, Purdy and the Niners demolished their division rival in the second half of a 41-23 beatdown.

Purdy finished with 18-of-30 passing for 332 yards and three TDs, and four carries for 16 yards and another score.

“We didn’t make it more than what it was,” Purdy said of handling his playoff debut. “It wasn’t, ‘Oh my gosh we’re in the playoffs’ and we’re gonna get all tense. It was ‘We just got to play our game.’”

Dan Quinn’s Cowboys defense will be confident after making Brady’s head spin in the Wild Card win over the Bucs.

NFL Films caught a Tampa coach telling Brady on the sideline of a Cowboys pass rusher, possibly Parsons: “You gotta be sure he’s comin’.”

Brady answered: “I don’t know!”

Parsons said Dallas has a lot of respect for Purdy, though. They’re not taking this assignment lightly despite his lack of experience.

“I think he’s shown great poise,” Parsons said. “I’m a fan of Purdy. In terms of him being a rookie, I think he’s surpassed a lot of rookies even this year who started for much longer. I definitely won’t underestimate him.”

Prescott praised him, too.

“He’s done a hell of a job,” he said. “They haven’t lost in his time playing. He’s efficient as hell.”

Of course, the Cowboys quarterback doesn’t have to face Purdy. He needs to worry about Niners pass rusher Nick Bosa, who will win this year’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.

“He’s definitely a motherF’r to go against,” said Parsons, who admires Bosa’s moves on film. “He’s a dog.”

And Parsons frequently will be taking on fellow All-Pro Trent Williams, the Niners’ stud left tackle. It is no stretch to say that those matchups of best on best will decide this game.

“Your A players gotta bring your A game,” Parsons said. “I’m not intimidated or feel[ing] threatened because I’m a threat, too … I want your best. I want people to know I beat your best player. I want to be our best player, so I gotta beat your best player.”

Cowboys Niners. Levi’s Stadium. Sunday night. Dallas’ legacy is on the line, one way or another.

THEY SAID IT

“The objective is not to be good; the objective is to be great.” — new Tennessee Titans GM Ran Carthon, the 49ers’ former director of player personnel and son of two-time Giants Super Bowl champion fullback Maurice Carthon

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