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Packers, Cowboys in big NFL play-off clash

Published:Sunday | January 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM

IRVING, Texas (AP):

Aaron Rodgers has a Super Bowl ring, the prize that keeps Tony Romo going through the heartbreaking endings and accumulating back injuries in Dallas.

Still, the hunger is growing for Rodgers heading into today's divisional play-off because Green Bay haven't reached the NFC championship game since winning it all of four years ago on Romo's home field. And Romo has never even been that far.

"You realise very quickly, it's so difficult to do that," Rodgers said. "A lot of things have to come together. We've come up short the last couple of years and it just kind of fuels the fire a little bit more."

Romo knows about coming up short.

There was his infamous flub of the hold on a field goal that could have beaten Seattle in a wild-card game eight years ago, then a loss to New York as the No. 1 seed in the NFC a year later when the Giants went on to beat undefeated New England in the Super Bowl.

The past three seasons ended with losses that left the Cowboys at 8-8 and out of the play-offs. Now, here's Romo, returning to the state where he grew up a fan of Brett Favre, trying to get past this round of the play-offs in his third try in Dallas' first post-season trip to storied Lambeau Field since the Ice Bowl loss 47 years ago.

"I'd love to give you a headline, but it's really just another week in the preparation side of it," said Romo, who signed with the Cowboys in 2003 as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois. "I know it'll be fun for my family and friends and that stuff. But for me, it's a play-off game and you've got to play your best."


These were the two highest-rated quarterbacks in the NFL this season. Rodgers hasn't thrown an interception at home in more than two years, while Romo had 20 touchdown passes and two interceptions in leading Dallas (13-4) to an 8-0 road record.

Rodgers was listed as probable on Friday after declaring earlier in the week that he would start despite an injury sustained three weeks ago against Tampa Bay and aggravated in the regular-season finale against Detroit.

Romo's health was the talk of the preseason with the 34-year-old coming off back surgery. He sustained an unrelated back injury on a sack in a loss to Washington and looked ragged playing on short rest in another loss to Philadelphia.

Otherwise, he put together one of his best seasons after declaring, in training camp, that fans would see "the best version of me".

Romo put aside years of frustration with his first play-off rally in the 24-20 wild-card win over Detroit last weekend, throwing the go-ahead touchdown to Terrance Williams' late in the fourth quarter.