IRVING, Texas – Quarterback Tony Romo says he's a different player now than the one who got crushed in 2008 by the Eagles in the regular season finale or waltzed into the playoffs in 2009 or dropped the do-or-die game last season to the Giants.
Romo chooses to focus on the successful 2009 performance more than the failures, but he said all of his past experiences helped him become the quarterback he is now.
"I look back and laugh at that guy who played in some of those games then," Romo said.
He doesn't laugh because of the decision-making. Rather, it's more about his overall skill level and understanding of the game and his ability to fit the ball into tighter spaces that he didn't possess earlier in his career.
"You're always improving," Romo said. "When you're not, then I don't know why you'd continue to play."
The Cowboys will hope he's learned from his previous experiences to reverse the team's fate from last season. Fair or not, many of those losses were pinned on Romo, as Dallas' quarterback.
He believes it's more about the team, and he likes the chances of the one he's playing for right now. He said he knows this squad isn't near full strength or what it looked like at the beginning of the year, but he's proud of the scrappy play of some of the newcomers who have slipped into roles that need to be relied on.
"Our football team has found a way to keep grinding and give ourselves a chance late in games," Romo said. "All you can do as a quarterback is do your job and play at the highest level. When it gets to a point where you need to help your football team, you do that."
Romo said he'll use all of his past crunch time performances, both good and bad, to his advantage this weekend. As a competitor, he loves playing in these pressure spots and situations.
"I wish you could play them every week," Romo said. "But in a lot of ways, every game kind of feels important at this level. As important as this game is, at this point it's the most important game in the season, but so was the game four weeks ago, three weeks ago, two weeks ago. We've been playing in a playoff game here for a while now."