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September 12, 2012

Tony Romo returns to Seattle a better quarterback after his last experience there in the 2006 playoffs

Until he won a playoff game, Tony Romo's botched hold in Seattle in 2006 defined his postseason frustration.

Romo’s bobbled hold denied Martin Gramatica a chance for a 19-yard field goal that would have given the Cowboys a 23-21 lead with 1:14 remaining in a wild-card playoff game against the Seahawks. The Cowboys are convinced they could have beaten the Bears in Chicago the following week. instead, it turned into a frustrating 21-20 loss.

On Sunday, Romo returns to Seattle for the first time since. He said that Jan. 6, 2007, game feels like "10 years ago."

“Football is a great game, and it teaches you a lot of lessons," Romo said on a conference call with Seattle reporters Wednesday. "Your ability as a player to interact with other people, how to develop into a leadership role, how to work with others, and how to improve. There are million different things that you learn that are life lessons in a lot of ways and going through the adverse situations that you go through in football can help build character, help learn the process that it takes to get better and how to improve as a football team. I think that’s just one of those situations where you took it as it was a disappointing loss, which was very tough at the time. What you do is you get better. You go back to work, put your head down and you get better. There have been different times and situations in your career as an athlete that you can look at those spots and you can say you took things as motivation and it’s helped you a lot.”

Owner Jerry Jones said then that the Cowboys "weren't far from the Super Bowl." The Bears beat Seattle 27-24 in overtime in the divisional round and then blasted the Saints 39-14 in the NFC title game to reach the Super Bowl, where Chicago lost to Indianapolis.

"That’s all speculation, as to what we would have done given a chance to [stay alive] in the playoffs," Jones said this week. "But I think Tony was coming into his own. That was an early preview of what you have in Romo relative, not necessarily to the dropped ball, but what Romo can bring to the table. I think there’s a good chance we would have some success – maybe a lot of success – in the playoffs. It was very disappointing, but not nearly as disappointing as last year. Those were my biggest disappointments was last year."

-- Charean Williams

Twitter: @NFLCharean



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