Sunday, December 8th, 2013


“The closing minutes of some of the early games were stunning today.” – Dan Patrick

“I think he was determined to show people that he could play in cold weather.” – Tony Dungy on Peyton Manning

“It’s hard for me to think they can go very far in the playoffs without his production.” – Rodney Harrison on Rob Gronkowski, who was injured today

“Dan Snyder is going to need to change the way that he does things.” – Scott Pioli on what it will take for the Redskins to improve

NEW YORK – Dec. 8, 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 the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La., where the New Orleans Saints are hosting the Carolina Panthers. 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; Peter King of Sports Illustrated; and former NFL Executive of the Year Scott Pioli. Alex Flanagan reported from Candlestick Park in San Francisco on the Seahawks-49ers game.

Costas interviewed Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton and linebacker Luke Kuechly (separately) for tonight’s show.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America:


Patrick: “The closing minutes of some of the early games were stunning today.”

Dungy: “I get so frustrated watching people not know how to play situational football, but good teams, like New England and Baltimore, know how to keep their poise in the final minute.”


Harrison on Quintin Demps’ return TD: “They flat-out quit on this one. Nobody wants to tackle and you wonder why you’re on a losing streak.”

Pioli on if Redskins coaching job is enticing if Mike Shanahan is fired: “We have to remember that this is only one of 32 jobs in the entire world. You’ve got a very good young quarterback and you have a team that is coming out of salary cap jail, so I think this is a job that’ll be interesting to people. But, there’s also certain coaches that may not be interested, if they want full control of the roster over a sustained period of time.”

Patrick: “It’s hard to have total autonomy if the quarterback and the owner are best buds and the coach is coming in there. There is no room for a third party here.”

Pioli: “For things to work in Washington there is going to need to be a change. Dan Snyder is going to need to change the way that he does things and the way he allows his coaches to do things, and the decision makers.”

Patrick: “What did he do wrong in this situation?”

Pioli: “Once again, the same thing, where he gets too close to his players. They make decisions that aren’t necessarily for the greater good, they are better for the relationship between the owner and the star player.”

Patrick: “You almost get the feeling that RG III has more power than Mike Shanahan does.”


King on Shanahan to Houston: “People are trying to put the pieces together on Mike Shanahan going to Houston. The general manager of the Houston Texans, Rick Smith, was hired by Mike Shanahan in Denver in 1995, and worked under him for 10 years with the Broncos. But two things to keep in mind, this decision is going to be made by Bob McNair, the Houston Texans owner, and I think McNair would be much more inclined to hire a less expensive and calmer coach; somebody like Lovie Smith, formerly of the Bears.”


Dungy on Peyton Manning: “I think he was determined to show people that he could play in cold weather.”


Harrison on Rob Gronkowski’s injury: “It’s hard for me to think they can go very far in the playoffs without his production.”

Dungy, who disagreed with crucial defensive pass interference call on Browns late in the game, on the officials in the Browns-Patriots game: “In the last two minutes, everybody has to play under pressure, including the officials. In this play, everybody didn’t do their job.”


Patrick on LeSean McCoy: “The reincarnation of Gale Sayers.”

Harrison: “This might be the best offensive player in the league.”


Patrick: “Dexter McCluster, considering the elements, an unbelievable day.”

Patrick: “Nothing cures a three-game losing streak like a trip to Washington.”


Dungy: “I have bought into the Bengals.”

Dungy on playoff seeding: “They’ve got sights on the two spot.”


Harrison on Panthers and 49ers and playoff seeding: “The two teams in the No. 5 and No. 6 position might be the best two teams in the NFC.”


Patrick: “Say goodbye to the Giants. They’re eliminated.”


Ward on LB Luke Kuechly: “He’s the best defensive player no one’s ever heard about…Right now, he has my vote for Defensive Player of the Year.”


Florio on replay review system being taken off the field: “There has been a lot of criticism recently of the officiating and there is a potentially significant change looming on the horizon. I’m told in recent months there have been discussions about taking the replay review function out of the stadiums, out of the hands of the referees and moving it to a central location, such as the league office in New York City, which is what the NHL already does with its replay reviews. Expect those discussions to continue, if not intensify.”

King on length of games: “And it’s not just the uniformity of the calls that the league is concerned with, it’s the game times. Right now, games last more than three hours and eight minutes. That’s up five minutes over the last five years. But, I don’t see this being implemented in 2014; it’ll be 2015 at the earliest.”


Ward on home-field advantage (Ward won Super Bowl as Wild Card and lost twice as No. 1 seed): “I think it’s overrated…For me, once you’re in the tournament, you’re in the tournament. It’s anybody’s game regardless of record.”

Costas: “You’d always rather be home for a variety of reasons, but for some teams the advantage is more extreme than others.”

Collinsworth: “I’m not sure that I wouldn’t want to play Peyton Manning on the road in Denver rather than bring him to some dome stadium and take a chance in that kind of circumstance.”

Harrison: “Hines is crazy, by the way. You want home-field advantage.”

Dungy: “Always want to be home.”


Costas, responding to Burgundy, who said on The Dan Patrick Show that Costas would hear footsteps if Burgundy devoted himself full time to sports: “Don’t we all really pale in comparison to Ron Burgundy’s sportscasting companion Champ Kind?”

INTERVIEW: Below are excerpts from Costas’ interviews with Newton and Kuechly.



On how he sees the game now vs. his first NFL snap: “It’s more about managing and understanding what you have to do. When I first came into the league, I wanted to make every single play a big play. Having a play-making ability kind of is your gift and a curse. But in this league, you have to sustain drives.”

On his experience playing in the Superdome: “It’s a loud atmosphere, to say the least. These fans are not your friends. They talk to you, they say things, the costumes that they wear; it’s rather interesting to see. But as a player, you have to block all that out because at the end of the day, it’s all about the 11 on 11 that are playing in between the goal posts.”

Click here to watch the video:


On people saying he might be the best linebacker in the NFL: “It’s an awesome thing for people to say. You’ve got to keep working. You’ve got to stay humble. You can’t get ahead of yourself. Those guys (now retired Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher) were the top tier guys at their position for a long time. It’s only my second year and I’ve got to a long way to go to get there.”

On Ron Rivera comparing him to Mike Singletary, who Rivera played with: “It’s awesome. Coach Rivera is a great coach. It’s cool that he’s a linebacker guy, too. But I’ve still got a long way to go.”

On returning to school to get his degree: “That was kind of the deal, if I were to leave early: go back and finish school as soon as I could. So I went back this past year and took five classes in the spring and it leaves me with three classes this year.”

On not going to last year’s Super Bowl despite being in New Orleans on Saturday: “I had to get back for school. I had a test that week and the Monday morning class is a review, so I had to make sure I knew what I was doing.”

On how he would market himself (his degree is in marketing): “Somebody that works hard and is dedicated at what they do. It’s not the easiest thing to do all the time, but I like doing it. I put a lot of effort into it and I kind of take pride in what I do.”

Click here to watch the video: