Sunday, October 14th, 2012


“My headline is the 6-0 Atlanta Falcons are finding different ways to win. It’s looking like home field advantage. The NFC is going through Atlanta.” – Tony Dungy on the Falcons “The Ravens are 5-1, but that defense has given up over 200 yards rushing in back-to-back weeks. They have to improve in that area.” – Rodney Harrison on the Ravens “There is no possible way that you can have 22 seconds, and one timeout, and not get another play off. – Dungy on the Cowboys “The Dallas Cowboys have got to be sick about this one.” – Cris Collinsworth on the Cowboys

NEW YORK – October 14, 2012 – Following are highlights for Football Night in America. Bob Costas opened the show live from inside Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, where the Texans are hosting the Green Bay Packers. 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 in America analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, and NFL insiders Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Mike Florio of Alex Flanagan reported from Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif., on the Giants-Niners game.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America:


Dungy: “They are finding a lot of ways to win. They have got Matt Bryant making those big clutch field goals. Even when Matt Ryan was off they found ways, and it was the defense. John Abraham kick-started the day all over Carson Palmer. When they needed that big play to turn the momentum, Abraham was there with the big sack that caused a fumble.”

Harrison: “You must stay away from Asante Samuel. He’s very aggressive. He takes a lot of chances. He likes to jump routes. But Matt Ryan, he had two turnovers last week, he threw three interceptions today. He has to do a better job of taking care of the ball.”

Dungy: “But they are still 6-0.”

Dungy: “My headline is the 6-0 Atlanta Falcons finding different ways to win. It’s looking like home field advantage. The NFC is going through Atlanta.”


Harrison: “Let’s not forget. They did play against the Colts.”


Ward on Jermichael Finley: “It’s probably not the smartest thing to do: to call out your elite quarterback about getting you the ball. Its Finley’s job to get on the same page as Aaron Rodgers, not the other way around. Especially if you want to get the ball thrown your way.”

Ward on playing with elite quarterbacks: “You have got to go to these guys and get on their page even if it takes me getting you a bottle of wine or staying after practice. Do whatever you have to do to get on their page and to get some more attempts.”

Ward on quarterbacks and receivers not seeing eye-to-eye: “You definitely don’t want to call the guy out, and put it out there for the media and for the public to see it. You can do it behind closed doors. Come together and get on the same page and get the thing done right.”

Dungy on Jeff Saturday: “Jeff Saturday is a great player, but he is new and their communication has not been great in there.”


Dungy: “He can do everything. He is smart, he’s accurate, and he is agile.”

Harrison: “You think he’s good inside the pocket, but he’s even better outside the pocket. He has the ability to extend the plays. He’s very difficult to tackle. He’s a great athlete and he puts a lot of pressure on the defensive backs to have to cover for an extended period of time. Also, the wide receivers get a chance to cut off their routes when he is outside of that pocket.”


Collinsworth: The Dallas Cowboys have got to be sick about this one. They caught a break. They recovered an onside kick, and had a chance for the field goal. But there were a lot of time management issues for the Dallas Cowboys in that game. They had opportunities. They basically take the time-out with them back to Dallas. They had opportunities to win that they gave away.”

Dungy: “There is no possible way that you can have 22 seconds, and one timeout, and not get another play off. I’m good with the call to Dez Bryant. Trying to go to him and makes something happen. But then he is tackled. No the Cowboys have to get something going.”

Harrison looking at video: “Look at the guys, look at the effort. These guys are absolutely just walking back to the huddle.”

Dungy: “Jason Garret said, ‘We wanted to run another play.’ Romo has got to have that already called. It should be already called. They should know what formation to get in. Miles Austin is trying to get in position, but it’s too late.”

Harrison: “There is no sense of urgency here. What it says to me is that you don’t trust your quarterback. You should have two plays, in a two-minute offense, to walk up to the line and call either one of those plays.”

Dungy: “If it is taking too long, I’m the coach on the sideline. In 15 seconds, I’ve got to call a time out so I can get one more play off.”

Harrison: “You work on this three times a week. There is no excuse.”


Collinsworth: “The Ravens have won four straight games and they’re starting to look like the team, maybe along with the New England Patriots and other teams, that are starting to pull away.

Harrison: “The Ravens are 5-1, but that defense has given up over 200 yards rushing in back-to-back weeks. They have to improve in that area.”


Dungy: “I’d be very concerned about Philadelphia’s defense. We have talked about the offensive problems, but this is two weeks in a row that they have had the lead. They haven’t been able to stop Ben Roethlisberger, or today Mathew Stafford. That defense needs to come through.”


King: “The Kansas City Chiefs were reported earlier today to have made a two year contract extension offer to embattled General Manager Scott Pioli. The Kansas City Star debunked this report a couple of hours ago and I can confirm this debunking. It’s not true. Pioli has not been offered a contract extension by the Kansas City Chiefs.”


Florio: “On Friday, the four players who have been re-suspended in that bounty case involving the Saints filed an appeal with Commissioner Roger Goodell. I’m told on Monday paperwork will be filed in federal court in Louisiana attempting to block the suspensions. Look for new allegations attacking the overall investigative process.”


Dungy: “They are a better defense than people think. We have to give some credit to that Seattle defense.”


Dungy on Robert Griffin III: “If you play man-to-man and he gets through that line of scrimmage, there is no one left and he can outrun the defense. He is the fastest player on the field many times. This guy is going to be special.”


Harrison: “Alex Smith has not proved that he can bring his team from behind. First against Minnesota and again today against the Giants. He can’t just play from ahead. He has to bring his team from behind.”

Dungy: “The Giants took away their run game early, and that’s what you have to do when you play against San Francisco.”


On being sacked 21 times in five games: “That’s a lot of sacks. We all take our part in that. Whether it’s a protection scheme or one-on-one battles or holding the ball too long, it’s something we need to clean up. Negative plays, sacks, penalties, those are all things we need to eliminate. You can’t win like that. It’s not Green Bay Packer football. It’s not winning football. We know that, we are trying to improve that, but it’s something that needs to happen quickly.”

On how becoming a celebrity athlete has changed his life: “I get recognized a lot more when I’m out. I got to do an awesome thing with you guys at the Super Bowl, and that gave my on-air personality some credibility. I’d rather wrap myself around the team and be a part of the team’s success. With that comes all the individual success I could want, and there is not much else I want.”

On the number of times fans on the street ask him to do the “discount double check”: “All the time. It’s been a blast and has been surreal. But that is probably the number one comment that I hear from fans, along with fantasy football.”

On what fantasy football players say to Rodgers: “There are fans of their team, and then there are fans of their fantasy football teams. The most interesting comments are from fans of other teams, who may on one side of their mouth talk trash, but then on the other side say ‘Make sure you put up points’ or, ‘Make sure you throw it to Jordy (Nelson) this week.’”

On the controversial call in Seattle: “It was tough. It was a rough situation. Unfortunately, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back and got us our real officials back. We took one for the league. Hopefully they will get us back now.”

For complete interview:


On his ability to knock down so many passes: “You come off the line, and pretty quickly you understand if you are going to get to the passer or not. You know if you have a good move. If you get stuffed with your first move, my immediate reaction is where are the quarterback’s eyes? If he’s looking in my direction, then I’m looking to see if he is cocking his arm. Once he cocks his arm, that’s when I jump. I understand there is a chance that I’m going to get hit. A lot of the time, their reaction is to punch me in the gut. And like I have said before, I’m not out here for a pillow fight. I’m not out here to be soft. They can hit me all they want. I’m ready.”

On being a pizza delivery guy: “It’s a great story. I had just left Central Michigan and I had six months before I started at Wisconsin. I was delivering pizzas. It was a good time and a good way to make money. I would work out in the morning and deliver pizzas in the afternoon.”

On a 10-year-old kid who opened the door and recognized Watt: “The boy recognized me, he was really excited and said ‘Mom, JJ Watt is here.’ You could tell he knew I was a football player. So I said, ‘I have your pizza.’ To which the kid said ‘Mom, why does JJ Watt have my pizza?’ It was one of those humbling moments that re-energized me and motivated me. I said to myself, I want to get back to greatness and be better than I have ever been before.”

On being a true athlete: “I pride myself on putting in the time and the efforts to not only make myself a big and strong guy, but also an athletic guy who can do multiple things on the field.”

On having a 55-inch standing vertical jump: “I can do 55 with no running start at all.”

On helping Costas get something off the top shelf: “I’ll stop by the Costas household anytime and help you out.”

For complete interview: