Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith questioned the Cowboys' mental toughness during an ESPN interview, but Tony Romo said the team has proved its menal toughness more than once this season.
"We had a big game at San Francisco earlier in the year," Romo said. "It felt like a must-win at that time, and we went out there and laid it on the line, and the team won, and we were trailing late in that game. So there was a lot of mental toughness in that game. I think we went up to Washington in a game that was big for us there and showed a lot of mental toughness there. This football team just has a way of keep coming back and keep grinding. Obviously, it comes down to a game like this. That’s why you play sports. That’s why you play this game, is to be involved in games that can allow you to keep going on and playing. I know it’s fun for us to prepare for a game like this."
The Cowboys have had fourth-quarter leads in five of their seven losses. That includes double-digit, fourth-quarter leads against the Jets, the Lions and the Giants.
Smith points to those as reasons for questioning their mental toughness.
"Talent-wise, I think they have it," Smith said in an ESPN interview. "Leadership-wise, they have some good leaders on the ballclub. Do they have enough? Probably not. Can they go up to New York and be mentally tough in this situation? I think Jason [Garrett] has done a very good job of preparing the guys to be physically and hopefully mentally tough, but I think mental toughness is the thing needed in games like this.
"Mental toughness for four quarters or five quarters, if you have to go that far. But that's something our Cowboys have not been able to do in close games. And that's where mental toughness comes into play."
-- Charean Williams