Saturday, January 13th, 2018


“If I’m Nick Foles, I take this personally.” – Rodney Harrison on the Eagles as underdogs despite being the No. 1 seed

“They went out there against the No. 1 offense in football in the Rams and basically, in a workman-like way, dismantled that offense.” – Cris Collinsworth on the Falcons defense

“It is so windy and so unpredictable…I think both defensive coordinators are going to be set to stop the run.” – Tony Dungy

“It looks like Phil Mickelson’s been out here hitting wedge shots.” – Dan Patrick on the condition of the field

STAMFORD, Conn. – Jan. 13, 2018 – Following are highlights from a special edition of Football Night in America, which aired prior to this afternoon’s NFL Divisional playoff game on NBC between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles.

Mike Tirico opened the show live from inside Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa. He was joined on-site by Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth and sideline reporter Michele Tafoya; co-host Dan Patrick; Super Bowl-winning head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dungy; two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison; and NFL Insider Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk.

Football Night in America also included Tony Dungy’s interview with Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and Mike Tirico’s interview with Eagles QB Nick Foles. Tirico also narrated a tribute to legendary sportscaster Keith Jackson, who passed away yesterday.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:


Collinsworth on the Falcons: “The story right now for the Falcons is the way that they’re playing on the defensive side. They went out there against the No. 1 offense in football in the Rams and basically, in a workman-like way, dismantled that offense. Now they come back in here today, and you have to feel pretty good about the fact that they got one game under their belt, they’ve got a veteran quarterback, but it’s going to be a challenge out here tonight.”

Dungy: “This is a very confident Atlanta Falcons team.”

Harrison: “If you’re the Falcons, you also have to continue to play with that chip on your shoulder. Now that you’re the favorite, nothing should change all year.”

Dungy on Falcons HC Dan Quinn’s confidence in his team on the road: “He likes the way this team is right now. He thinks they’re equipped to go on the road because of their tough running game and the way they tackle and play defense.”

Harrison: “When I sat with (Matt Ryan) last week, he went out of his way to give Dan Quinn a lot of praise. He said with all that adversity that they faced dealing with the Super Bowl and early-season struggles, Dan Quinn was the reason why this team stayed together.”


Collinsworth on Nick Foles: “I think he’s going to do just fine…He’s a talented guy. He’s big and he’s strong.”

Tirico: “We’re not throwing a backup quarterback out here that’s never played before. It’s a guy who’s been around it before.”

Collinsworth: “People are treating this like it’s you or me playing quarterback. This guy had the third-best quarterback rating in the history of the NFL.”

Harrison on Eagles as underdogs despite No. 1 seed: “For me, if I’m a guy in that locker room, it’s complete disrespect. You’ve worked extremely hard to win 13 games, to get that No. 1 seed, and yet people on the outside don’t respect you. If I’m Nick Foles, I take this personally.”

Dungy on his first time coaching in Philadelphia: “My first time here was 1999. We had a young linebacker, Al Singleton, who was from Philadelphia. He had never said a word the whole time he had been with us, and he said, ‘Coach, I need to talk to the team.’ He says, ‘I’m telling you, tell your families, don’t wear any Bucs stuff, don’t wear anything red, this is not a safe place to be.’ So I’m a little nervous coming in. Then we came out of the tunnel and I’m walking with Warren Sapp, and a guy yells out, ‘Hey, fatso! We got a rule here – only one guy per uniform! Get that other man out of your uniform!’ I fell over; even Sapp had to laugh at that one.”

Harrison: “If you’re the Eagles, get back to what got you here — having fun, playing loose, high-fiving, celebrating in the end zone. That’s what they need to do.”


Patrick on the field: “It looks like Phil Mickelson’s been out here hitting wedge shots.”

Harrison: “It’s really bad.”

Dungy: “It is so windy and so unpredictable. Anytime this ball goes high, you’ve got to watch out. Kicks, field goals, punts are going to be tough. Deep balls are tough. I think both defensive coordinators are going to be set to stop the run because of the wind.”


Quinn on what he said to the Falcons following their loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI: “I can remember telling the team after what we stood for as a group of men. When we came back, I said, ‘We’ve got to be able to go watch (the game) and get through it and own the process. What I did learn is that you’re going to find out when you get in those situations again. That’s when you know if you’ve learned the lesson.”

Dungy: “So do you think that Super Bowl loss actually brought you guys tighter?”

Quinn: “It did for sure in an unfortunate way because of the common experience of going through it together. That stays with you.”

Quinn on this year’s Falcons: “This team is really tough. Mentally, physically…”

Dungy: “Tougher than last year’s team?”

Quinn: “Yes, definitely…these guys have formed this connection, this experience that they can really rely on one another. The communication piece on defense has really ramped up. Our tackling has really improved…the nice part about this year’s team is that we are equipped to play any style, whatever it takes to win just this matchup, just this fight. That’s the only one that matters.”

Quinn on how the team would handle having a big lead late in a crucial game again: “This city and the team, they have an awesome relationship. Let’s hope in the future we get to be in those moments where we get to show what we’ve learned and how we can finish. We would like nothing more than to be in those moments to show how important this team is to the city.”


Tirico: “You’ve said this week, ‘I’m an aggressive person. I need to be aggressive. I’ve got to stay out of my own head out there during the playoff game.’”

Foles: “Going into this game, that’s really what I’ve been working on these past couple of weeks. Going out to practice, not trying to read into it too much, trusting my instincts, trusting my reads, playing ball, reacting, and letting it rip.”

Foles on the potential of retiring following his stint with St. Louis: “My wife and I talked every day about it. It was probably the most emotions that I’ve felt in my life, deciding where my heart was. I’ll never forget the moment where Coach (Andy) Reid and I talked once I was a free agent, and I told (my wife) Tori, and she — sorry to get emotional talking about it, because that was a big moment in my life for us — I couldn’t decide. I was struggling. There was something inside me that, ‘you need to go back and play,’ because it was sort of against your human nature at that point (to retire). My wife thought I was calling to retire, and I called Coach Reid, and said ‘I’m going to come play.’”

Tirico: “So Andy found out before your wife did?”

Foles: “Yeah.”

Foles on what it means to play in Philadelphia: “The most passionate fan base. They love this team. A lot of them have tattoos with the Eagles on them. There’s so much pride. I love this city. I couldn’t pass that up, and just to be here to play for these fans, to know that you’re going to be booed, that’s part of it, and I’ve said that before. But we know that they’re going to be with us, they’re going to live or die with us, and they love this team.”

Foles on his struggles late in the season: “I play best when I react, when I see and I trust my instincts. I look at the Oakland game too, which is crazy, because it’s probably going to go down as one of my favorite games.”

Tirico: “Why?”

Foles: “You go through a game and it doesn’t go like you want it to, and we were able to pull it together and get in field goal range. Jake (Elliott), who missed one earlier, came in and kicked the field goal (to win the game). We grow stronger in those adverse situations. I step back from that game, and I know I’ve been asked questions about it, ‘Why didn’t you play well?’ I get it. The ability for us to stick together and for us to execute at the end and figure out how to win a game, that’s what we have to do in the playoffs.”