Sunday, September 9th, 2012


“RG III, he looked like he was a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback, not Drew Brees.” – Rodney Harrison “If he can stay healthy, these guys can contend for a Super Bowl.” – Tony Dungy on Houston QB Matt Schaub and the Texans “If I’m a Broncos wide receiver, I’m brown nosing the whole time. I’m baking him cookies. I’m cutting his grass. I’m offering to babysit.” – Hines Ward on how to befriend Peyton Manning

NEW YORK – Sept. 9, 2012 – Following are highlights for Football Night in America. Bob Costas opened the show live from inside Sports Authority Field at Mile High from Denver where the Broncos are hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that marks the return of quarterback Peyton Manning. Costas was joined on-site by Sunday Night Football commentators Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (analyst), and Hines Ward, the former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Super Bowl MVP and newest addition to NBC Sports’ NFL team.

Dan Patrick co-hosted the program from Studio 8G at NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios and was joined by Football Night analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, and NFL insiders Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Mike Florio of

Following are highlights from Football Night:


Dungy: “Everyone’s going to talk about RGIII, but I think you have to give some credit to Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. He took a lot of heat when he had Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman. He really made the day for Griffin…He called a beautiful game, but he let Griffin attack that Saints defense.”

Michaels:“Baptism by fire. What a way to start your career [on RGIII]…Washington did not score more than 30 points in any one game last year, they go to New Orleans and score 40. They go to St. Louis next week, good chance to win that game, could start the year 2-0 on the road.”

Patrick on Mike Shanahan: “He’s not getting Donovan McNabb. He’s not getting Rex Grossman. He’s not getting leftovers. He’s getting a guy he can mold into however he wants to.”

King, who spoke with RGIII following the game: “He told me, ‘I was surprised to not be nervous. I felt like I had ice water in my veins.’ And he praised Kyle Shanahan. Not just garden-variety praise, really went over the top for trusting him to throw the ball late when they were trying to run out the clock…He said, ‘Imagine a guy having so much faith in me at the two-minute warning to be throwing the ball when you’re trying to run out the clock.”

Harrison on RGIII: “What I love about him is he didn’t come in and try and take a backseat to Drew Brees.”

Dungy on his winner of the day: “My big winner is Daniel Snyder because he took Robert Griffin III. He’s been looking for that star-power guy. He’s riding home on his plane right now saying, ‘I found him.’”


Harrison: “I was very disappointed. With the type of off-season that the Saints had, you’d almost think that it would bring them closer together, that it would actually motivate them. They’re playing at home. They never lose at home. They’re playing against a rookie quarterback. You have to take it to that rookie quarterback. And RGIII, he looked like he was a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback, not Drew Brees.”

Harrison on Saints defense: “They’re not good.”


Dungy on Stevan Ridley, who ran for 125 yards today: “If they can run like this, Tom [Brady] will be impossible to defend.”

Harrison: “I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself and I know this is the first week, but if the Patriots defense continues to play like this (jeers from Dan and Tony) they are much improved. I think this is the best team in the AFC. This is the first week, I know.”


Harrison: “Alex Smith, he outplayed Aaron Rodgers. I think he did a great job of spreading the ball around to Crabtree, Moss, Manningham and not just depending on Vernon Davis.”

Patrick to Dungy on if Smith outplayed Rodgers: “Do you agree?”

Dungy: “I agree.”

Patrick on 49ers defense: “That was the best defense I saw last year and it looked like they picked up where they left off.”

Dungy on 49ers defense: “They went into Green Bay and completely shut down Aaron Rodgers and that Green Bay offense.”


Collinsworth: “A season ago, before Cutler got hurt, (the Bears) looked like they were going to make the playoffs, and it looks like they picked up right from where they left off (before Cutler’s injury).”


Harrison on Adrian Peterson: “I was very impressed with his ability to run between tackles, show a lot of confidence, he wasn’t hesitant. The guy was absolutely awesome today… If I’m the Vikings, I’m still being very careful with the way I bring this guy along… Guys are going to target his knee and they’re going to try to take him out.”


Harrison on his big winner of the day: “Last time they played, against the New York Giants, they only scored two points. They go on the road into a hostile environment in Kansas City and put up 40 points.”


Michaels on Mike Vick’s lackluster performance: “In this league, you have to win ugly…Vick today had it when he needed it.”

Dungy on Mike Vick: “They’ve been talking all year in Philly, ‘Stay in the pocket. Don’t run. Sit in the pocket and throw.’ If he’s going to do that, they better start protecting him better. He sat in the pocket and got killed. They better have some better pass protection or tell him to start running again.”


Collinsworth: “The only thing that saved Mike Vick in Philly (sic) today was the fact that Brandon Weeden was playing quarterback on the other side. You hate to put it like that…”

Costas: “You hate to be harsh but it’s hard to be worse than this – 12 of 35, no touchdowns, four interceptions and a rating, no misprint, of 5.1 for Brandon Weeden.”

Collinsworth: “But you hate to be harsh.”

Costas: “I hate to be harsh…ouch.”


King on quarterback Matt Shaub, who signed a four-year extension today: “I talked to Matt Schaub today and he said, ‘The great thing about this is now I can think about football only. I don’t have to think about the contract.’”

Dungy on Schaub: “If he can stay healthy, these guys can contend for a Super Bowl.”


Patrick: “The show Hard Knocks continues there for the Dolphins and quarterback Ryan Tannehill.”


King (prior to end of Seattle-Arizona): “It’s turned out to be a non-story. We haven’t seen the kind of huge errors that are determining the outcome of games… I talked to NFL Vice President Ray Anderson, and he told me, ‘We’ve seen nothing that’s stood out as a glaring mistake.’”

Note: Later in the program, King reported that officials incorrectly awarded Seattle a fourth timeout late in the game.


Ward: “The one thing about Ben, every time he was in the huddle, I always knew we had a chance to win every ballgame…He’s a true winner.”

Ward on new offensive coordinator Todd Haley: “I think they brought Todd Haley in to run a more controlled offense instead of the backyard football. Ben loves to make plays on every play, and I think that can be his biggest strength but his biggest weakness as well.”


Ward: “If I’m a Broncos wide receiver, I’m brown nosing the whole time. I’m baking him cookies. I’m cutting his grass. I’m offering to babysit.”

Collinsworth: “If he corrects you on something, which he does a lot, don’t say a word. Because if you talk back to Peyton when he’s telling you exactly what to do out there, you are going to have a major issue and you’re not going to get the ball.”

Below are excerpts from Dungy’s interview with Manning and Costas’ interview with Roethlisberger.


On being settled: “I always thought I’d play for the same team the entire time, but I’m still going through the transition process. Everybody keeps asking me, ‘Are you settled yet? Are you settled yet?’ Really, not even close.”

On what he learned last year: “That’s probably what you miss the most, being in the huddle, being with the guys. What I learned about myself is that I could handle that type of football adversity. It was difficult because of the scenario of the team struggling so bad, but I think the same year that probably the greatest physical gift that the Lord gave me was taken away from me, I was blessed with the greatest gift any of us could have with two beautiful children…I take that trade every day of the week. I got more time with Ashley (wife), and Marshall and Mosley (children), and that definitely did make it a little easier for me.”

On when he learned he’d be playing for another team: “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I was in denial or whatever it was. I didn’t really know for sure until the very end. The hardest part for me was those two weeks of not being a part of a team. I’ve always gravitated to team sports. I’d only known one team for 14 years, but it’s been exciting, meeting new coaches, understanding a little different philosophy here and there, and being around new teammates, young guys that love to play. And it helps to throw in some veteran guys, Brandon Stokely. I’m so excited to have Keith Brooking here because he’s older than me.”

On learning a new system: “That’s been one of the hardest things, learning new terminology, new formations. As you know, in Indianapolis we had a unique language, and it just didn’t carry over to any other team. So that’s been humbling for me. A lot of times these coaches do a double take and say, ‘I thought you were supposed to be this smart quarterback. How come you keep having to run it again?’ There has been no carryover. That’s presented a challenge, but that’s a challenge I’ve embraced.”


On if he expects new offensive coordinator Todd Haley to get in his face: “It will probably be deserved, I hope. If it’s deserved, no problem. I’m sure he will at one point. Every coach, at some point, their temper starts to come out. But when it comes to that time, we’ll be able to deal with it and move on.”

On where he ranks among other quarterbacks: “When it’s all said and done, when I’m retired, I hope they look back and say, ‘Wow, we kind of underestimated this guy. He’s got a lot of wins and did some great things.’ To me, that’s all that matters is wins and losses, and I feel that my record should speak for itself.”

On ranking fourth all time behind Tom Brady, Roger Staubach and Joe Montana in all-time win percentage: “That’s all that matters to me are wins and championships. I don’t think I’ll ever be taken first in the fantasy draft, but, that’s what it is, it’s a fantasy draft. I would hope if you ask that same guy picking the fantasy that if you had to have a game right now and you had to have a win, who would you take? I would hope I’d be at the top of that list. And, if not, prove him wrong.”

Watch a video of the complete interview: