Playoffs give Tony Romo another chance

IRVING, Texas – Two weeks ago, Tony Romo became the Dallas Cowboys’ all-time passing leader. He already holds the team record for touchdown passes.

He swayed the opinion of many as he closed the regular season in strong fashion, leading the Cowboys to a 4-0 December record by throwing 12 touchdown passes and just one interception to win the NFC East.

But now that the Cowboys are about to play the wild-card round against the Detroit Lions, Romo’s past is put ahead of the present again. He is just 1-3 in the playoffs.

The standards set by Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, with their five Super Bowl wins, makes it difficult for Romo to measure up.

“I’ve said that it’s all about winning,” Romo said. “You’re judged as quarterback and coaches on that. That’s what the game is all about. I think it’s a great thing. That’s why you have to play great when it counts.”

Romo and the Cowboys will be making their first playoff appearance since 2009, when they beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild-card round and lost to Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round.

He missed 10 games in 2010 with a broken collarbone as the Cowboys finished 6-10, then went through three straight 8-8 seasons. Romo was the quarterback in two of the Cowboys’ three Week 17 regular-season losses that kept them out of the playoffs. He missed last year’s loss to the Eagles because of back surgery.

He is grateful to have another chance to chase a Super Bowl.

“I think that’s the only reason you play the game. As players, we all want to be playing in that game and holding that trophy at the end of the year, just hoist it up and know that you accomplished your goal that you set out. I know that’s my goal. I mean, everything else is just peanuts compared to it,” Romo said. “Nothing else is comparable to that goal. I’m going to do everything I can to help us get there and that’s my job.”

Romo took the Cowboys to the playoffs as their starter in three of his first four seasons. They missed the playoffs in 2008 by a game in part because Romo missed three games with a broken pinky finger.

While he always understood how difficult it was to make the playoffs, he thought the Cowboys would be a yearly threat.

“I think you just understand it takes a lot to get in the playoffs,” Romo said. “You know that you’ve got to have a good regular season, and you’ve got to put yourself in position to get a home playoff game. You’ve got to do a lot of good things well. But you’re not guaranteed anything once you get there. You’ve got to play your best ball once you’re there and go out and let it go.”