"It's very easy in this profession to look at somebody else and blame. It's almost difficult to make yourself accountable to the rest of the guys. But when trouble arrived, we stayed committed to the plan. There wasn't all the little bickering and guys stayed committed to the team.
"I've only been playing for four years now, but we played two of them before and I felt like one of them was my fault. So I didn't feel like this was the most impossible thing ever that everyone made it out to be. The other thing is, if you're good enough you'll win. If I wasn't good enough to win a playoff game as a quarterback then I wouldn't have. It's very simple in the approach. It's just I'm going to go out there and play as hard as I can, I'm going to commit to it fully, this team is and if we're good enough to win, we'll find a way to get the job done."
--Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys' quarterback, disucssing his maturity and sense of accountability.
In his first career playoff win after two defeats, Romo completed 23 of 35 passes for 244 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He had a 104.9 passer rating.
"That No. 9 over there has a long future that’s just beginning to reach its potential in my mind. You can put a lot of things together when you’ve got stability at quarterback. It falls off fast. It’s like holding Jell-O when you don’t have a quarterback."
--Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys' owner.
"He's certainly developed as a quarterback. This is a completely different team, the dynamics of this team are very different.
"And again, I keep saying this, but his approach is to try to get better every day. That's what's allowed him to grow and to develop, and it has a lot to do with how he goes about his business, and hopefully, he can continue that this week."
--Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys' assistant head coach.
Romo uses self-talk to overcome mistakes.
"I said to myself, 'OK, I threw an interception, but I can't play as if I'm afraid to throw another one, Romo said after an interception this year. "If I do, I won't play with the same tempo or speed or ability."
Romo is focused on continuous improvement. "Nothing excited me more than to work on something and see the improvement," said Romo, who finished the regular season with 26 touchdowns and a 1.6 interception percentage -- Dallas' best since Troy Aikman in 1998. "When I stop improving, I'll quit."
With that, the Dallas Cowboys have alot more in mind for the NFL playoffs.
"Our goals are much bigger than winning that first game," Dallas linebacker Keith Brooking said after the Cowboys beat the Eagles, 34-14, Saturday night, in the wild card playoff game. "That's just being dead honest with you. We have a lot left that we want to accomplish and do. This is just the tip of the iceberg for us."
"Know what? It won't be as much fun if we don't take care of business during the week and prepare the way we can," safety Ken Hamlin said. "Continuing playing is great, but we're not settling for this one game."
"That's what I love about this team, it's on to the next thing," defensive end Marcus Spears said. "You really don't have time to soak in what you just did."
Balancing focus, intensity and calm, Romo is extremely competitive.
"I know that sometimes my nature seems too light," said Romo, who became the first quarterback in Cowboy history to take every snap of the season. "But underneath I'm extremely competitive. I'm focused."
Excerpts from ESPN.com, Dallas News.com, New York Daily News, and CBSsports.com (January 4,10-11, 2010).
For more on the Dallas Cowboys franchise, click on Dallas Cowboys: Peak Performance Case Study.