GREEN BAY, Wis. – Five of the eight quarterbacks remaining in the NFL playoff field have won a Super Bowl.
But if Troy Aikman needed a QB to make one play in this postseason, he said Saturday, it wouldn't be Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco or Russell Wilson.
"I'll tell you, right now, from what I've seen this year – just talking about this year – I'd probably take (Tony) Romo," Aikman told USA TODAY Sports after a long pause, sitting in the lobby of his hotel. "I've seen him make too many plays when he's had to make them this year and he's made them."
Romo, 34, is in his eighth full season as the Dallas Cowboys' starter and there's little question it has been his best. He finished the regular season with 34 touchdown passes, nine interceptions and a career-high 113.2 passer rating despite a back injury that cost him one start.
He was solid in last week's NFC wild-card playoff win over the Detroit Lions, too, completing a key fourth-down throw to Jason Witten as the Cowboys rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half and set up a visit here Sunday to face Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
"I think a lot of it has been (Romo's) maturity," said Aikman, the Hall of Fame quarterback who won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys and will call Sunday's game with Joe Buck on FOX.
"I think he's learned that there's a lot to the position, and that every possession doesn't require you having to make a big play or something spectacular. He's really done a nice job of that all season long. He hasn't forced the ball down the field for big plays. He's been willing to take what has been there.
"And then with the coaching, they've taken some of the control away from him at the line of scrimmage. So, he's not checking to passes when run plays are called. He's had to rely a little more on the running game, and the defense has been better than expected. So, he hasn't been playing from a deficit. The surrounding cast has improved, but his decision-making has improved as well."
It also speaks well of Romo that the Cowboys are unbeaten on the road this season entering the matchup with the Packers, who have yet to lose this season at Lambeau Field.
Including last week's playoff opener, the Cowboys have won five in a row overall since the most lopsided loss of their season, a 33-10 drubbing at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving.
"They got down big to St. Louis early in the season. They came back and won that," Aikman said. "They got down to the Giants 11 points a couple of different times. They lost a lead to Philadelphia in really a must-win game (and came back to win). They've essentially been in playoff mode for the past five weeks.
"I think that the one thing that I've seen of Tony throughout his career – and we saw it last week – no matter how ugly things may look early in the game, it's rare that he doesn't put them back in a position with a chance to win the game. … I think that's a credit to him."