FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, December 1st, 2013

NOTES & QUOTES FROM “FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA” — WEEK 13

“This team reminds me so much of our 2006 Super Bowl team in Indy.” – Dungy on the Patriots

“San Francisco is a very dangerous team because they have all their weapons back.” – Harrison

“He needs to focus on football.” – Pioli on RG III

“The NFL has formed a committee to promote minority hiring.” – King

NEW YORK – Dec. 1, 2013 – Following are the highlights for Football Night in America, the most-watched pre-game show in sports. Bob Costas opened the show live from inside FedExField in Landover, Md., where the Washington Redskins are hosting the New York Giants. Costas was joined on site by Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), and two-time Super Bowl winner and Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward.

Dan Patrick co-hosted Football Night from famous Studio 8H at NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios in New York City. He was joined by Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy; two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison; Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN and NBCSports.com; Peter King of Sports Illustrated; and former NFL Executive of the Year Scott Pioli. Carolyn Manno reported from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on the Broncos-Chiefs game.

Costas interviewed Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and narrated an essay about Robert Griffin III.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America:

ON BRONCOS-CHIEFS

Dungy: “Kansas City’s game plan was to play man-to-man, but they didn’t have a matchup for (Eric) Decker.”

Harrison on Decker: “He is a tremendous wide receiver.”

ON CHARGERS

Harrison: “The San Diego Chargers had the perfect opportunity to put themselves in a position where they can make the playoffs. This is a very disappointing loss, turning the ball over and playing the way they played.”

ON 49ERS

Patrick: “They’re starting to hit their form now.”

Harrison: “San Francisco is a very dangerous team because they have all their weapons back. They’re healthy.”

Patrick: “They seem to be a different team.”

ON PATRIOTS

Dungy: “This team reminds me so much of our 2006 Super Bowl team in Indy. They’re decimated on defense, but they’ve got a great quarterback who’s making plays and keeping them in every game. Tom Brady is the reason they’re winning.”

ON EAGLES

Dungy: “We know about that offense, but Trent Cole and that defense got my attention today.”

Dungy: “I like where Philadelphia is. Even though they are out of the (playoffs) right now, that defense is playing really well. They’re not in that sixth spot, but watch out for the Eagles.”

ON PANTHERS

Harrison on Cam Newton: “He puts so much pressure on the defense because of his ability to get outside the pocket.”

ON COLTS

Dungy: “I am concerned.”

Harrison: “The biggest issue for me outside of the offensive line is the absence of Reggie Wayne. He is a tremendous leader.”

ON BEARS & CARDINALS

Harrison: “They won’t make the playoffs.”

Dungy on Bears: “The real reason they struggled today was that run defense.”

ON STEELERS

King on Mike Tomlin’s action Thanksgiving night: “I believe…Tomlin will get a heavy fine.”

ON REDSKINS

Costas: “After winning the division a year ago and reaching the playoffs for the first time in five seasons, the follow up for Robert Griffin III has been a disappointment. The quarterback did make it back from major knee surgery, but not at the same dynamic level.”

Michaels on RG III: “They’ve never recaptured the magic that he exhibited last season.”

Dungy on RG III: “They had pass protection problems last year, but he was able to really erase that with his athleticism. This year, he can’t get away from those sacks.”

Harrison on RG III’s injury: “I believe he came back too soon.”

Pioli on RG III: “I loved this guy coming out. I saw a high-energy guy with lots of integrity, very thoughtful, very smart, just a born leader. However, over the last year, I’ve seen things change a little bit and some of it has become… he just looks different, he’s acting different.  We’ve seen him taking some veiled shots or unveiled shots at his coaches, at his teammates. You also see this celebrity element that’s part him, part the organization, but something’s not the RG III that I saw coming out.”

Dungy on RG III: “I don’t blame that all on RG III. That is the landscape of Washington with Daniel Snyder. He tries to create the celebrity status. You go back to Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith all the big name guys he’s brought in there; they put that around RG III.”

Patrick on RG III: “But, there is drama though that follows him.”

Pioli on RG III: “They’ve both got to do something. The organization and RG III need to decide that they’re going to move forward, work on relationships and not have documentaries about injury rehab, not have all these commercials. He needs to focus on football.”

Patrick on RG III: “It’s also tough to be a normal player when the owner treats you differently. He wants to be your buddy.”

Dungy: “You have to build a team, not build a collection of stars.”

Harrison: “That’s what happens when you lose.”

Patrick: “Yes. If they’re winning, no one has a problem with this.”

Ward on RG III facing adversity: “Having gone through some adversity helped Ben (Roethlisberger) develop as a quarterback and I think for RG III it will help him in the long run.”

ON GIANTS

Costas on interceptions by Giants Eli Manning and Jets Geno Smith: “The Meadowlands are kind of the interception capital of the NFL this season.”

Ward: “The Giants have a running game now with Andre Brown.”

ON MINORITY HIRING

King: “The NFL has formed a committee to promote minority hiring. This week, the eight-man committee finalized its diverse head coach and general manager list. For the first time, the NFL will offer an in-house, head hunter-type aid for teams to use, if they choose.”

King on most likely coaching vacancies: “I believe the two leading candidates are in Houston and Minnesota.”

INTERVIEW: Below are excerpts from Costas’ interviews with Coughlin.

 

TOM COUGHLIN WITH BOB COSTAS

On bounding back after last week’s defeat: “It’s difficult. It’s not an easy thing. We really did want that very badly, and we put an awful lot into it. The word relevance came up many times. We were relevant again and we were in a big game that, if we won, we were in second place in the division, etc., etc. It took the wind out of our sails. Even though our emotions were down, the thing that I had to do, in my job, is encourage them to get back up off the floor. They got themselves back up off the floor and we started looking towards this big game with the Washington Redskins.”

On trash talking/taunting: “I don’t believe in any of that and I never have. Talk is cheap, play the game. You need to do your talking on Sunday night on the field in your performance. The rest of it is all wasted. We’ve been the beneficiary, quite frankly, over the years of lots of bulletin board material provided by the opponent. Why in the world would you provide for someone else?”

On getting over tough losses: “Whatever it is, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it’s not hard. It’s harder for me now at this age than it was, say, 10 years ago. The losses are very difficult to deal with. There are a lot of nights where I might be sitting there by myself in the dark with my wife sitting next to me and not much conversation going on. But, again, you have to talk to yourself about getting back up because it’s not about me, it’s about our team. I really do have to be strong for our team.”

On if there’s a difference for next year finishing 8-8 instead of 7-9 this year: “You bet your life it does. It makes all the difference in the world. This playoff situation, we know it’s remote. Nevertheless, we continue to try to win game in and game out just like we have from the first game on.”

Click here to watch the interview: http://www.nbcsports.com/football/nfl/coughlin-giants-look-remain-relevant

***

Programming note: Harrison will appear on Big Break NFL Puerto Rico this Tuesday night on Golf Channel.

FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA

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