The measure of success differs from organization to organization in professional sports. For the Dallas Cowboys, it always seems to be Super Bowl or bust. That was certainly the case in 2023, which made another early exit from the playoffs all the more disappointing. Despite that early exit, finishing the regular season with a 12-5 record should probably fall into the success category.
Dwelling on the bad is a lot easier to do than focusing on the good a lot of times, but being a Debbie Downer is a poor way to go through life. Focusing more on positive things instead of the negative may be a little more difficult, but arguably more rewarding. As far as the Cowboys are concerned, there were a lot more positives than negatives in 2023 and that’s something we should all be grateful for.
With that in mind, let’s hand out some awards for the Dallas Cowboys.
MVP - Dak Prescott
2023 ended up being one of Dak Prescott’s best of his entire career. So much so, he was not only the Dallas Cowboys MVP, but in the conversation for the league’s MVP this year as well. Whether the not that comes true has yet to be seen, however, there’s no denying Prescott was dialed in this season and helped lead his team back to the playoffs. Unfortunately, all of the success he had in the regular-season was for nothing in the eyes of many after the way he and his teammates were embarrassed by the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card round. Despite all of that though, there’s no denying No. 4 was Dallas’ most valuable player this year.
Offensive Player of the Year - CeeDee Lamb
CeeDee Lamb may have gotten off to a slow start and raised a doubt he was a No. 1 caliber wide receiver in the NFL, but the way he finished the season made all of those doubters eat crow. He ended up setting career highs for himself in nearly every category this season and his 135 receptions for 1,749 receiving yards were unmatched by any other player to ever wear the No. 88 jersey for Dallas. He's now cemented himself as one of the best players at his position in the entire NFL and will probably be compensated as such at some point during the offseason with a contract extension.
Defensive Player of the Year - Micah Parsons
Even being doubled, and a lot of times triple teamed, Micah Parsons once again proved himself to be arguably one of the best, if not the best, pass rusher in the entire league in 2023. He finished the season with a career-high 14 QB sacks, and gave opposing offensive lineman and defensive coordinators around the league nightmares. If he could only draw the holding penalties he so rightfully deserves, there's no telling how much that would boost his production/stats. Despite that though, he's still probably the most disruptive defensive player in the NFL and all of his teammates benefit from it.
Rookie of the Year - Brandon Aubrey
Sadly, the Dallas Cowboys didn't get much out of their 2023 rookie class. The only true bright spot from this year's rookie class was the kicker that came out of nowhere, Brandon Aubrey. The 28-year-old rookie ended up having a close to perfect season, breaking records along the way. He finished the year 36 of 38 on field goal attempts and 49 and 52 on extra point attempts. Not bad for a former soccer player who had very little kicking experience before joining the Cowboys this year. His consistency/reliability in his first year in the league were among the best at his position and hopefully continue to be so moving forward.
Most Improved Player - Jake Ferguson
Dalton Schultz who? All that worry last offseason about how the Dallas Cowboys were going to replace his production in the offense was for nothing. Jake Ferguson pretty much came out of nowhere to not only have a career year for himself, but cemented himself among the league's best tight ends in 2023. He was invaluable for the Cowboys offense as both an in-line blocker and a reliable receiving threat in the passing game for Dak Prescott. The second-year TE was arguably one of the most consistent players on the entire team all season and the feistiness in which he played this year has turned him into a fan favorite.
Coach of the Year - Al Harris
As a former cornerback himself, Al Harris knows a thing or two about playing the position in the NFL and has passed that knowledge on to his players during his time as the defensive backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys. 2023 may have been challenging for him as a coach after losing his star pupil, Trevon Diggs, to a season-ending knee injury, but he met the challenge head-on and exceeded expectations. Amazingly enough, he replaced the 2021 INT leader by moving DaRon Bland outside where he ended up leading the league in INT's, set an NFL record with six pick-sixes, and was named as an All-Pro. Show the man some love!