Sunday, November 22nd, 2015


“He brought that confidence back to the Cowboys.” – Tony Dungy on Tony Romo

“That’s what happens when you sit on the bench because of James Starks.” Rodney Harrison on Eddie Lacy’s improved play today

“I’m told he currently intends to play next year, even if that’s not for the Broncos.” – Mike Florio on Peyton Manning

STAMFORD, Conn. – November 22, 2015 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals. Tonight’s episode was abbreviated due to a weather delay that pushed back the start of NBC Sports’ coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, which was won by Kyle Busch.

Bob Costas opened the show live from inside University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Dan Patrick co-hosted Football Night, the most-watched weekly 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 Insider Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. Paul Burmeister reported from TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on the Packers-Vikings game.

Collinsworth interviewed Bengals QB Andy Dalton, while Costas spoke with Cardinals QB Carson Palmer.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America:


Dungy on Brock Osweiler: “…Here is the thing that he brings, just this athleticism. To be able to roll to his left, throw on the run, and find Owen Daniels. This is Gary Kubiak’s offense. This is what Kubiak loves about Osweiler.”

Harrison on Osweiler: “And they can actually do more aggressive play calling with this guy because he’s a better athlete.”

Florio on who will be the Broncos QB next week: “Coach Gary Kubiak, non-committal after the game about next week. But I’m told Peyton Manning is absolutely determined to get himself healthy as soon as possible, and by healthy, that doesn’t mean healthy enough to play, healthy enough to avoid the kind of disaster that we saw last week at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. Meanwhile, a lot of people are speculating that Peyton Manning is going to retire after this season. I’m told he currently intends to play next year, even if that’s not for the Broncos.”

Dungy: “I’m pretty close to Peyton Manning, I hadn’t heard that before. Mike’s got a scoop.”

Harrison: “He’s crazy. Go spend time with your family. He couldn’t stay healthy last year; he can’t stay healthy this year. You think he’s going to stay healthy next year?”

Dungy on Manning possibly returning next year for a different team​ (during Sunday Night Football halftime): “And that doesn’t make sense to me. I can see him playing again for the Broncos. I would not want to see him go to another team.”

​Harrison (during Sunday Night Football halftime): “He defied the odds with all these neck surgeries. Walk away from the game. Go spend time with your family. You have nothing else to prove.”

​Patrick (during Sunday Night Football halftime): “Surprising part is there would be another team that would pick him up just for a year, and he would want to learn a whole new system.”


Harrison: “(Recently) I find myself saying, ‘What happened to James Jones?’ But he showed up tonight. He played like a true veteran and he made some key plays.”

Patrick: “I thought Eddie Lacy was a big difference here.”

Harrison: “He was. He ran downhill. It was a sense of urgency, but that’s what happens when you sit on the bench because of James Starks.”


Dungy on Tony Romo: “He brought that confidence back to the Cowboys.”

Dungy on whether the Cowboys can make the playoffs: “Yes they can. Because of the state of the NFC East, Dallas is playing with confidence when Romo’s there. I think they’ve got a shot.”

Harrison: “It’s one game. They still have to play the Panthers on Thursday. That’s a short turnaround for a quarterback that just missed two months of the season. And they still have to play the Packers and play some teams in their division. I’m not sure right now if they can make it.”

Dungy: “Haven’t lost a game with Romo as quarterback yet.”


Harrison on worst loss of the day: “I look at the Atlanta Falcons. You know, coming off a bye, home-field advantage, facing a 40-year-old quarterback. This is a great opportunity for them to gain some confidence and some momentum, and they lost.”

Patrick: “Remember when we were talking about them being 5-0?”

Harrison: “And Matt Ryan, he’s getting worse.”

Harrison (during Sunday Night Football halftime): “Matt Ryan has to play better or their season will end soon.”


Dungy: “You have a chance to move into a tie for first place, playing at home and you get torched by Jameis Winston for five touchdowns.”


On reacting to last week’s loss to the Texans: “This team understands where we’re at. The biggest thing to take away from the loss last weekend – it feels terrible – you can make it seem like we’re 1-8, but we’re 8-1. We know where we sit inside this building and there’s a lot of confidence with this team.”

On his reaction to J.J. Watt’s comments, “Our goal was to come out here and make the red rifle looked like a red rider bb gun.”: “I don’t know how he said it, I don’t know what was asked. I don’t know any of that kind of stuff. I reacted to how it was presented to me. I probably shouldn’t have reacted off of an interviewer rather than me actually seeing what he said. You know, it is what it is. But, that’s behind me. I’m not too worried about it.”

On whether the bond in the locker room makes this Bengals team different from years past: “We have a lot of really good guys on this team, a lot of guys that are friends off of the field. I think that goes a long way. We feel like we’ve got a good team. We just have to keep showing that every week.”

Collinsworth: “A little chip on your shoulders maybe?”

Dalton: “I mean, 100%. I think any time that you don’t achieve a goal, and we’ve got another opportunity to do it, you want to go out there and prove that you’re the best team you can be.”

On how people try to link having red hair with being a good quarterback: “I feel like my hair has been a topic of conversation this year for whatever reason…I finally found a hairstyle and it’s been working for me, and a lot of people like talking about it.”


On Drew Stanton celebrating Andre Ellington’s game-winning touchdown last Sunday night in Seattle: “I’ve seen that 65 times now…I think he started around the 50-yard line and finished around the 20, and there’s a lot of different moves mixed into that one routine, and I find something different that I like a little bit better each time.”

On being fined for pelvic thrust on the team’s sideline during last Sunday night’s win over the Seahawks: “I made a mistake. It was meant to be for friends. I just was fired up and excited to see them. I meant no disrespect to the Seahawk fans. You know that environment they create there is only second to the environment we have at University of Phoenix Stadium. I meant zero disrespect. It wasn’t meant for anybody other than my three buddies.”

On whether there is any lingering resentment about the way he departed Cincinnati, where he played eight seasons and was the first overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft: “Not at all. Not on my part. I look at things positively. Obviously, it’s not just another game, it’s not just another team you’re playing in the AFC North; it’s a team that I used to play for. There’s no doubt I want to win this game and there’s no doubt they want to win this game. So, it’s not just another typical Sunday afternoon.”

On whether there is a sense among himself at 35 years old and teammates Larry Fitzgerald (32) and Chris Johnson (30) that it’s “now or never” for their careers: “I think there’s a sense of this year or nothing. The window closes so fast in this game and this league. We’re so focused on this year that we’re not thinking about Larry being 33 [next year], Chris being 31, and that next number for me. It’s all focused on this year and nothing else matters.”