Sunday, October 4th, 2015


That statement really bothered me because all the great players that I’ve ever played with or against, they all play with emotion.” – Rodney Harrison on Ndamukong Suh saying he’s ‘not very emotional’

Owner Stephen Ross is expected to make a decision on Coach Joe Philbin by Monday.” – Mike Florio on the Dolphins

“They can’t give him the ball more until they start blocking better for him.” – Tony Dungy on Eagles RB DeMarco Murray

“Greatest defensive back of all time.” — Harrison on Oakland Raiders S Charles Woodson

STAMFORD, Conn. – October 4, 2015 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints. Bob Costas opened the show live from inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La., and was joined on site by Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth, sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, and NBC NFL analyst Hines Ward.

Dan Patrick co-hosted Football Night, the most-watched studio show in sports, from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1 in Stamford, Conn. He was joined by Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy; two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison; and NFL Insiders Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk on and Peter King. Kathryn Tappen reported from Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo., on the Vikings-Broncos game.

Costas interviewed Saints head coach Sean Payton.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America:


Florio on Philbin’s future with the Dolphins: “Here’s the fact that I’m now told, owner Stephen Ross is expected to make a decision on Coach Joe Philbin by Monday. And I’m told one of the key factors will be demonstrating to key players in that locker room that Ross is committed to making things better, which isn’t all that promising for Philbin.”

Dungy on Philbin: “I’m never a fan of making changes on the coaching staff during the season. I don’t think they help much, but something has to be done in Miami. They are not playing anywhere near their talent level.”

Harrison on Ndamukong Suh saying he’s ‘not very emotional’ in his post-game press conference: “That statement really bothered me because all the great players that I’ve ever played with or against, they all play with emotion. I look at J.J. Watt, the best defensive player in the game, and he plays with a lot of emotion. It matters to him. He cares. This is the reason why a lot of owners, they don’t want to pay guys this type of money with these contracts because once you get the money, you shut it down.”

NOTE: Harrison and Dungy discussed Suh again at halftime of tonight’s game…

Harrison on Ndamukong Suh saying he’s ‘not very emotional’ during his post-game press conference: “I’m a little surprised because when he played with Detroit, he was very emotional. He was a tough guy and sometimes he went past that line. But all the great players that I’ve competed against or played with – the great defensive players – they’re emotional and when they lost, it hurt. Afterwards, you have to face the media, you have to be a professional. That’s all part of it. It’s not just signing a contract and then walking away and thinking everything is fine. You have to compete, but he (also) has to produce.”

Dungy on Ndamukong Suh: “You have to get some production. Miami’s defense is at the bottom of the league in run defense. They only have one sack this year. He (Suh) was supposed to provide that and it’s not happening.”


Dungy on Giants being intercepted late in fourth quarter while trying to close the game out: “Coach (Tom) Coughlin said they didn’t put this game away and he’s right. They had an opportunity. Run the ball. You’re up two scores in the red zone. Just kick the field goal. Run the ball, Tom, and you’ll be fine.”


Harrison: “Geno Atkins, what a difference maker he is. He looks like he’s in Pro Bowl form.”

Dungy: “They’re getting the ball to everybody. They’ve got a lot of weaponry. Cincinnati is a very good football team.”

Ward: “We all know what A.J. Green can do, but the X-factor to me is Tyler Eifert. When healthy, this guy is a matchup problem.”


Dungy on DeMarco Murray: “They can’t give him the ball more until they start blocking better for him. There are no holes for him.”

Harrison on Eagles offensive line: “It used to be the biggest strength of the team, now it’s the biggest weakness.”

Harrison on today’s loss following last week’s win: “I think they took two steps back today.”


Dungy on Todd Gurley: “I coached against Jeff Fisher a lot when he was at Tennessee. This is the formula he wants… he drafted Todd Gurley with the 10th pick so he could dominate the time of possession and turn those big defensive lineman loose once you get the lead.”


Harrison: “I’m officially on the bandwagon…By their bye week, they could be 8-1 or 9-0. Pretty amazing.”

Dungy on biggest difference between 2015 and 2014: “It’s Dan Quinn, the new head coach. He’s brought an attitude to this team…Their offensive line, they dominated Dallas upfront and they did it again today (vs. Houston).”

Harrison: “But the biggest difference is their ability to run the ball consistently.”


Harrison: “This defense is much improved. They’re creating turnovers and they’re getting pressure on the quarterback. This is a really good defense, probably the best in the league.”


Harrison on Panthers 4-0 record: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but they have had an easy schedule. Cam Newton, he’s gotten them out of a lot of tight jams with his legs, he’s made some incredible plays. But defensively, outside of Luke Kuechly, they found someone, Josh Norman, cornerback, he’s really, really good.”


Harrison on Charles Woodson: “Greatest defensive back of all time.”


King on upcoming NFL owners meeting in New York: “The International Committee is going to ask the owners to extend their current deal whereby they have three games in England, every year, to extend that deal through 2025. In addition, they’re going to ask the owners for permission to play a game or two each season in the future in a different country. Perhaps Germany, perhaps Mexico, maybe even Brazil. It could be more international football, not less.”


Payton on how close to 100% healthy Drew Brees will be tonight: “I’d say fairly close or we wouldn’t play him. He’s had a good week. I know he’s got a lot of confidence in what we’re doing and a lot of confidence in his ability to throw it down the field. It really was that simple.”

On looking back at five playoff appearances and a Super Bowl win: “At some point, this train is going to stop in New Orleans for all of us, and I would say it became bigger than football when we first got here through those early years.”

Costas: “Because of (Hurricane) Katrina…”

Payton: “All of that. It was much different than any of us had bargained for…when you win a championship, that team walks together forever. They really do. … I feel like we’re turning the pages and we’ve still got a big chunk in this book left. There’s a lot more here.”

Payton on whether he was a different coach when he returned from his “Bountygate” suspension: “Yeah, I’m sure to some degree I was. I coached for basically one season that year, my son’s 6th-grade team. I was the offensive coordinator. When you won, you felt that same feeling. When you lost, you felt frustrated for those kids. I get to go back now – he’s a freshman in high school – and those same kids that were on his 6th-grade team that had only won a few games years prior, we went all the way to the Super Bowl.”

Costas: “There are some kids on that 6th-grade team, who won’t even play in high school maybe, and they’re going to wind up CPA’s or truck drivers, and they’re going to truthfully say, ‘yeah, I played for Sean Payton.’”

Payton: “We had a 12-play playbook and I went to Kinkos (to get copies). It’s no different than it is here. The trick isn’t the plays. The trick is figuring out who needs to be where. We’re teachers. If we’re not teaching and if we’re not looking to improve every year on our teaching skills, then we become extinct. So, that was a fantastic experience. And, I would say this — I needed it much more than they did.”