Sunday, September 15th, 2013


“We don’t know what a legitimate hit is anymore.” – Dan Patrick

“Defensive players have to be smart. You have to protect yourself. You have to see what you hit or go at the knees.” – Rodney Harrison

“He’s got to start playing better; otherwise they’ve got to go to Kirk Cousins.” – Tony Dungy on RGIII

Today, I would not.” – Scott Pioli on if he would draft Johnny Manziel

NEW YORK – Sept. 15, 2013 – Following are highlights for Football Night in America, the most-watched pre-game show in sports. Bob Costas opened the show live from inside CenturyLink Field in Seattle where the Seahawks are hosting the San Francisco 49ers. Costas was joined on-site by Sunday Night Football commentators Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (analyst), as well as NBC NFL analyst Hines Ward, the former Super Bowl MVP.

Dan Patrick co-hosts Football Night from famous Studio 8H at NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios in New York City. He is joined by Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy; two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison; Peter King of Sports Illustrated; Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on and NBCSN; and Scott Pioli, the former NFL Executive of the Year who is the newest addition to the NBC NFL team. Carolyn Manno reported from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on the Broncos-Giants game.

Costas interviewed 49ers WR Anquan Boldin and Seahawks CB Richard Sherman for tonight’s episode. Football Night also interviewed musical artist Macklemore, who is a diehard Seahawks fan. “The last time I was in the stadium we stomped the 49ers. It wasn’t even close,” said Macklemore. “It’s going to be the same way this year.”

In addition, Football Night filled time during tonight’s roughly one-hour weather delay.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America and the weather delay:


Patrick: “We don’t know what a legitimate hit is anymore.”

Dungy on Malcolm Floyd: “That should have been penalized. I don’t know how you play defense, but that should’ve been penalized.”

Harrison: “I don’t know. That’s a tough one.”

Dungy on Brandon Meriweather hitting Eddie Lacy: “This should’ve been flagged also, but wasn’t called.”

Harrison on Meriweather hitting Lacy: “No question about it…defensive players have to be smart. You have to protect yourself. You have to see what you hit or go at the knees.”

Harrison on Bernard Pollard’s hit on Andre Johnson: “It was perfect. He tried to lead (with his shoulder). The message is getting across, but there’s just a sense of greyness right there because you don’t know exactly what to do.”

Dungy on the officials: “They’re not exactly sure what to call. We were at the NFL League Office the other day and we met with the Officiating department, and they said in that case with Malcolm Floyd there, you really have to treat him like a sliding quarterback. You just have to let him fall and get out of the way.”

Harrison: “The rule needs to be changed. If the wide receiver ducks his helmet and you have to get out of the way, then he should be ruled automatically down.”

Patrick: “If you were coaching right now, what would you be telling your defensive players?”

Dungy: “I would definitely tell my guys we got to stay away from anything up here, you got to go low, you’ve got to go below the waist and that could have some unintended consequences.”


Patrick: “This is where numbers lie. You look at RGIII’s passing stats for the first two games, it looks like he had pretty good games. What are we missing here?”

Dungy on Robert Griffin III saying he’s the cause of their slow starts: “He has been the cause of the slow starts. He’s a pocket player now. They’re putting a lot more pressure on him because they don’t fear him getting out of the pocket.”

Harrison on RGIII’s struggles: “They (defenses) don’t fear the read-option. They’re playing a lot more man-to-man coverage, they’re blitzing him because they’re not afraid that he’s going to take the ball and run. Even when the wide receivers are open, he’s over throwing the guys…he’s not playing with a lot of confidence.

Patrick: “Are we expecting too much from him?”

Harrison: “You are. I had an injury similar to that, and it takes two years. Everyone is looking at AP (Adrian Peterson) and the success he had coming back from that ACL (injury), but RGIII is a different player right now. He’s not playing with that same confidence, and it seems like being a pocket passer’s not working – they need that read-option.”

Dungy: “They have actually changed the offense, not doing what they did last year. If I were Mike Shanahan sitting there at 0-2, I would go into (Washington Redskins owner) Daniel Snyder right now and say, ‘Our quarterback is not healthy. In the long run, we may be better off going with (backup QB) Kirk Cousins.’”

Harrison: “And if I’m in that locker room, I want to support my leader and I believe in him. But if we lose to Detroit next week and we start 0-3, you start looking over at the quarterbacks saying, ‘Kirk Cousins is healthy, maybe he can lead this team.’”

Patrick: “Would you bench him? If they go 0-and-3?”

Harrison: “He says he wants to assume the responsibility – yes, I would.”

Patrick to Dungy: “What would you do?”

Dungy: “He’s got to start playing better; otherwise they’ve got to go to Kirk Cousins.”

Rodney Harrison on RGIII’s return from ACL injury: “Coach, I had the same injury. The first year I came back I was scared to death. Any time guys fell around my legs, I was worried about my knees. When you see his throwing motion, when you see him just kind of throwing and floating, he’s not playing with a lot of confidence.

“Everyone looks at Adrian Peterson and says, ‘Look how Adrian Peterson came back after a year after ACL surgery.’ Well this is his (RGIII) second ACL (injury), and he’s a quarterback. I think they rushed him back too soon, personally. Kirk Cousins – that’s why you drafted him, for a security blanket…I would take a healthy Kirk Cousins over a 75% RGIII.”

Patrick: “You know what Adrian Peterson’s done to every athlete now? He’s sped up the timeframe for you to come back.”


Patrick on Chip Kelly’s post-game press conference: “That honeymoon ended quickly.”


Dungy: “They have to get the message that you have to be able to run the ball to win in the NFL.”

Harrison: “It’s not just that. (They need) the mental toughness, the ability to be able to handle success. They won last week; they beat the New York Giants, and come back and basically lay an egg.”


Dungy on Eli Manning: “I think he’s worried about his defense. They’re not making plays. He’s trying to do too much…they’re not running the ball well, they’re behind and he’s trying to make things happen, and its forcing turnovers.”

Harrison on Manning: “I think he believes deep down in his heart that they’re not a very good team, so he’s pressing. He’s trying to do too much. He’s taking a lot of chances.”

Harrison on Giants being 0-2: “It’s always kind of like this with the Giants.”


Dungy: “There just is right now a little bit of dysfunction…the defense actually held Brees down really well. But they could not get anything going offensively. Josh Freeman just looks out of sync.”

Harrison: “They play hard each and every week, but they just don’t play with discipline, the mistakes…but then you have to start looking at the coach to figure out what’s wrong with this team. Why can’t they be more disciplined?”


Patrick: “Jacksonville and Oakland trying to maybe settle that debate on which is the worst in football.”

Dungy: “The Oakland Raiders have been a mess for years. But they have hope now. (Terrell) Pryor has given them hope, and he, because of his athletic abilities, is opening things up for Darren McFadden.”

Harrison: “You talk about settling the debate about who’s the worst (NFL) team, and it’s got to be Jacksonville. I can’t just say it’s the quarterback, the offensive line, the defense – it’s everyone. It’s just bad.”


Dungy: “As a lifelong Lions fan growing up, SOL – Same Old Lions.”

Harrison: “This is the second week of the season. Reggie Bush got hurt, which really changes the dynamics of this offense. You know Calvin Johnson is going to be an integral part of that offense. I think they need to find another wide receiver to complement him.”


Dungy on the defense: “They are bad…they’ve got to get that defense shored up.”


Dungy: “Miami fans, you’ve got a football team to go along with your basketball team now.”

Harrison: “I have to agree with you because the gap in the AFC East has closed. The Patriots don’t look like the dominant team we’re used to seeing.”

Dungy: “I think Miami’s legit.”


Patrick on Andrew Luck: “You know you’ve made it in Indiana when you have your own corn maze (picture of maze shown). Congratulations. That’s in Waterloo, Indiana.”


Collinsworth: “Both these guys have proven that they’re much much more than read-option quarterbacks.”


Harrison: “I also think he’s misunderstood, because I think he talks a lot of trash. I don’t think he’s a bad person, but that takes away from the kind of player he is.”

Dungy: “Sounds like Rodney Harrison.”


Pioli on comparing Manziel with Russell Wilson, who was also an undersized QB: “You’ve got one player who has a great deal of maturity, and you have another guy who everyone is concerned about with his maturity level.”

Dan Patrick: “If he played at a different position with those concerns off the field, it would be different to invest in him.”

Pioli: “Absolutely, because this is going to be the leader of your football team, the leader of your franchise; probably the face of your franchise. The last thing you want to do is put someone in that position with those issues that’s going to be representing your club.”

Patrick: “Would you draft him?”

Pioli: “Today? I would not draft him. What I would be doing is spending my time finding out and chasing the ghosts of the issues that he has.”

Patrick: “By the time draft time comes around, you would have done your homework?”

Pioli: “Absolutely”

Patrick: “But you still wouldn’t draft him today?”

Pioli: “Today, I would not.”

Dungy: “I think he’s a special player. I think he makes other guys around him better –  he excites his team. I like Johnny Manziel. Scott Pioli mentioned on our pre-game show some off-the-field things – that’s what you’ve got to figure out…you don’t want the leader of your franchise, the face, to have questions off the field. But I like him as a player.”

INTERVIEWS: Below are excerpts from Costas’ interviews with Boldin and Sherman.


On attending the ceremony in which the 49ers were presented with their NFC Championship rings: “Very awkward.”

Costas: “They stole you for a sixth-round pick. That’s highway robbery, a sixth-round pick for you.”

Boldin: “That’s what I hear. But for me, I don’t care what they got in return for me. I’m just glad to be in the situation that I’m in. I think I’m the one who lucked out. I’m with a great team, a great organization; a team that has a chance to get back and win a championship. I think I fell into a pretty good situation.”

On Richard Sherman: “A lot of guys look at the way he talks and kind of overlook him as a defensive back. But I think he’s one of the top ones in this league.”

On trash talking: “I’m usually not one of those guys…If you see me get to jawing, it’s probably not a good situation for whoever’s on the other side.”

On 49ers Super Bowl loss as motivation for the team: “Trust me, that’s one of those things that you don’t want to go through. I’d rather not make the playoffs then lose in the Super Bowl.”

Costas: “Truly?”

Boldin: “Truly. I think it’s the worst feeling because you get all the way there — you can taste it, you can feel it and you come up short. It does something to you. But, for me and I’m sure for the guys on this team, losing a Super Bowl just leaves that burning desire in your heart, and the only thing you want to do is get back and win, and do whatever it takes to get back there. So, I think I fit in in this locker room.”

Click here to watch the interview:



On similarities and differences between Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh: “They’re both extremely competitive. They’re styles of coaching is what contrasts them. They approach coaching in two different ways. One (Carroll) approaches it in a new era, new school, (and with) positive reinforcement. The other (Harbaugh) approaches it in an old school way. It’s working effectively for both of them.”

On trash talking (laughing): “There’s an art to it. You can’t just be sloppy with the trash talk…be creative. Get some creativity. You have to be well versed.”

On his father, who gets up at 3:45 a.m. to work as a garbage man: “He’s shown me work, what it is to have a work ethic, a blue collar mentality. He’ll go to work, work for the eight or nine hours, and then he’ll come home and mow the lawn. He’ll miss some games before he’ll miss work because he works every holiday. He works every chance he has to put more food on the table. He does it. Those kinds of sacrifices you see throughout your whole life. It builds a certain rapport with you.”