Arizona at Dallas

Breaking down the Cardinals and Cowboys

Inside the Cardinals playbook

Big turnaround in Big D

Cowboys fear Snake's bite

'Boys wary of cardiac Cards

Playoffs no mirage in desert

  Wednesday, Dec. 30 8:57pm ET
Focal Point: Aikman vs. Plummer

The Matchup
Cowboys QB Troy Aikman vs. Cardinals QB Jake Plummer.

The Question
Which quarterback would you want to lead a clutch drive in a playoff game?

Troy Aikman   Jake Plummer
'98 YARDS: 2,330 | TDs: 12 | INTs: 5

By Mark Malone
Special to

Everybody is going to look at Jake Plummer's numbers and his come-from-behind wins in the two seasons he has been in Arizona. He's a wonderful young quarterback and a talented young man. But to me there's nobody in the history of the game that's a more accurate thrower than Troy Aikman.

It's really fun to watch Aikman, and he amazes me with what he can do with the football. He might not have some of the tools and weapons he's had in the past in Dallas, but there isn't a more disciplined, well-prepared, intelligent quarterback playing the game. He doesn't have the wheels of Steve Young, but from a cerebral standpoint, he certainly is as cerebral as Young -- and maybe more disciplined and more accurate.

Given all those different scenarios, all other things being equal, I like Aikman. But if Plummer stays healthy during his career, he will be considered with Joe Montana and perhaps even Johnny Unitas in his ability to bring teams back. He has that unique quality about him.

Other than his accuracy, I'd choose Aikman because of his experience. Plummer has a really almost indescribable quality about him. He also has the ability to believe in himself and lead his team. He does damage when things break down and creates things with his legs. He has a real edge over Aikman in that area, so it's a difficult decision.

But I would choose Aikman because of his accuracy and experience. There's no substitution for the experience of being in big games and having to come from behind. So, if you ask me at this point, I'd have to choose Aikman.

  '98 YARDS: 3,737 | TDs: 17 | INTs: 20

By Sean Salisbury
Special to

Nine times in 26 games, the Cardinals have come back in the fourth quarter to win. John Elway and Dan Marino both have more than 40 comebacks in their 16-year careers, but Jake Plummer is only a second-year player.

You can't teach what Plummer has. There's something about him. There's a switch that comes on, but Plummer doesn't know what it is. Even if he's having a horrible game for three quarters, he can turn it on and play well late. And the Cardinals go, "It's Jake's time now. Let's go."

You've got Elway, Brett Favre and Steve Young, but Plummer's in the top five of comeback quarterbacks. With two minutes left, that's his time. He has been doing that his whole career, not just with the Cardinals but at Arizona State.

If the Cardinals are down by six points or less and there's two minutes to go, don't turn off the TV. I don't care if the Cards have to go 90 yards or six yards, somehow Plummer gets it done. He's going to fail at times, but he's winning more than he's losing.

Believe me, the Cowboys understand when there's two minutes left, they don't want Plummer to get loose. The Cowboys don't want to keep it close and give Plummer the ball the last time. He has the same quality that Elway has. He has what the great ones have. He's not as talented, not as fast, not as strong, but he has the knack to rally teams when they're down.

Copyright 1995-98 ESPN/Starwave Partners d/b/a ESPN Internet Ventures. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form. Privacy Policy (Updated 01/08/98). Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Service (Updated 01/12/98).