- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Cowboys have failed to make the postseason the past three seasons.
The quarterback, Tony Romo, has endured criticism from the fans and some media members regarding his new six-year contract extension worth $108 million.
Pressure to produce because of the new contract this season?
Romo said he doesn't feel it.
"Pressure and fear are all just in your own brain," he said. "To me, it's nothing more than you going out and your competing you're butt off every day and trying to win everyday. So I don't allow what outside influences affect my psyche or what my mental makeup is. It's about this room, this team and how I'm going to get myself and my teammates ready to play. Outside influences don’t directly affect how your emotional state is."
When you think about the 2012 season for Romo, you smile about the final eight games of the season during which he went 5-3 with 18 touchdown passes and six interceptions. But there's the loss in the regular season finale at Washington that stings. You also look at consecutive losses to the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons in which he threw just two touchdown passes and four interceptions. There was the four-interception game against the Giants in which Romo threw for 437 yards on 62 pass attempts.
Of course, when the season ended, Romo ranked in the top ten in quarterback rating (10th), yards (third), touchdowns (sixth), completion percentage (fifth) and attempts (third). But the other Romo had him finished tied for the league lead in interceptions at 19, and he's now 1-6 in win-or-go-home games.
Pressure is mounting on Romo to push his team on a deep playoff run, yet with his new contract, which guarantees him $55 million, it gives him the comfort he'll be around awhile.
"I guess, to me that’s an easy way to say it's not real, pressure is," Romo said. "If you're telling yourself or saying you should be scared or that you're saying this is a lot of pressure, then you're losing already. That’s not the right frame of mind or thought."