The NFL generally doesn’t serve as much of a favoritism contest. Granted, there do exist some exceptions to this rule (as they do with any predetermined stipulation), but professional sports is one industry that more oft than not grants opportunities to those who will perform at the highest level.
Winning - and profits apportioned to those who own our beloved franchises represent the all-important bottom line in these games of inches - and the two are consequentially intertwined.
We’ve heard the mantra “it’s a business” time and time again with regards to the sporting world, and unfortunately, although those whom are paid the big bucks to create big dividends for pro teams are all human, they are also commodities that can be traded, released, or replaced at any given moment.
It’s a theme that’s unfolded on countless occasions. Case and point: Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe, Patrick Mahomes and Alex Smith, and even closer to home Dak Prescott and Cowboys legend Tony Romo.
That’s just how it goes: you sow good things on the gridiron; you reap more playing time, and increased favor in your direction.
Unfortunately for another Cowboys Nation fan favorite, there’s a certain backup at his position that’s been breathing down his neck for a long while, a time in which he’s surrendered leverage in his own job security through literal lost deposits of the football.
The fumbled baggage reference leaves little room for question as to whom we’re referring to and that’s Ezekiel Elliott, whose countless loose change mishaps twisted our collective stomachs in licorice-like knots we hadn’t even thought to be fathomable.
The wily, wide-eyed backup in his rearview is Tony Pollard.
Don’t get me wrong, Zeke is not in danger of losing his job this year. The Cowboys pay him far too bountifully to waste his talents on the sidelines. And he still oozes with an Pro-Bowl-esque ability. Few halfbacks have hit holes with comparable ferocity, and he incites a rare timidity in defensive backs that affects one-on-one encounters long before they unfold.
But the once-gluttonous eater has lost a few pounds as his predatory carnage has waned. He’s also visibly lost a step in the speed and agility departments that are incredibly hard to re-salvage as a running back.
And did I mention that guy behind him chomping at the bit for more chances?
Enter Tony Pollard, who burst onto the scene in 2020 with a widely-wielded scope of versatility in multiple facets, including the passing game and in special teams. He didn’t post huge numbers (435 yards on 101 carries for 27.2 yards per game), but there were several instances in which Mike McCarthy & Co. relied on him for the brunt of the team’s backfield production.
And in comparison to his friendly film-room mate, Pollard’s stats aren’t too shabby at all (four rushing TDs to Zeke’s six; 4.3 YPA vs. 4.0; 300 rec. yards vs. 338; and the ultimate kicker, zero fumbles to Zeke’s six).
Elliott is primed and ready to show the world that 2020 was just a fluke, and judging by the offseason training videos he’s put out, he is projecting 2021 to be a far superior campaign.
It better be. Because if not, the Cowboys have a more than capable backup that will have no problem embezzling Zeke’s food for his own hungry stomach.