Sunday, December 6th, 2015


“They blew another game with a bad coaching decision.” – Tony Dungy on the Giants

“They’re sending a message to the rest of the league that they’re getting ready to play playoff football.” – Hines Ward on the Seahawks

“Cam Newton, he’s playing like an MVP, but it’s a lot of pressure going undefeated.” – Rodney Harrison on the Panthers

STAMFORD, Conn. – December 6, 2015 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers. Football Night was abbreviated due to NBC’s coverage of President Obama’s speech to the nation, which aired from 8 p.m. – 8:14 p.m. ET.

Bob Costas opened the show live from inside Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa., and was joined on site by Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth and NBC NFL analyst Hines Ward.

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 Insiders Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk on, and Peter King. Kathryn Tappen reported from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on the Eagles-Patriots game.

Costas interviewed Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America:


Dungy: “I picked them to win the NFC East and they’re making me look bad because they keep making bad decisions in the fourth quarter. They blew another game with a bad coaching decision.”

Dungy on Tom Coughlin going for a TD on fourth down in the fourth quarter: “Nine minutes to go, you’ve got a 10-point lead, 4th-and-2, you can kick a field goal and go up by 13 points. Now they have to score twice, two touchdowns, to beat you. He doesn’t trust his defense. He keeps making these bad decisions.”

Harrison: “He’s done this the entire year. This is what he does. Even if he’s a little stubborn, this is his philosophy.”


Harrison: “This is a one-dimensional team. If Adrian Peterson doesn’t play well, they struggle. Teddy Bridgewater is not there yet to get this team over the hump…Once you shut down Adrian Peterson, you shut down this offense.”


Harrison on the best team in the AFC: “I’m saying Cincinnati. I know you [Dungy] don’t like Cincinnati because you say they don’t do it in primetime, but they’re healthy, and they have a lot of weapons. Defensively, I think they’re really solid. They don’t have a lot of weaknesses on this team.”

Dungy: “This is going to surprise you, but I agree with you. I think at this moment, right now as we sit, Cincinnati is the most complete team.”


Harrison: “I’ve been there. It’s pressure going 12-0, and it seems like it’s starting to wear on them a little. Cam Newton, he’s playing like an MVP, but it’s a lot of pressure going undefeated.”

Dungy: “They seem to be able to do whatever it takes.”


Ward: “They’re sending a message to the rest of the league that they’re getting ready to play playoff football.”

Ward on Russell Wilson: “He’s elevated his play over the past two weeks.”

Collinsworth on Wilson: “His ability to win from the pocket has been what’s different.”

Harrison: “This is the biggest difference in their offense, the vertical passing game down the field.”

Dungy: “I said last week I didn’t like where Seattle’s defense was. They kind of shut me up today. They played great against Minnesota.”

Harrison on if the Seahawks are more dangerous than the Panthers: “I would say yes because of the experience.”


Dungy: “Two weeks ago, we assumed New England was that locked No. 1 seed; everything was going to go through Foxborough. Not so sure now.”


Harrison: “You have to take this team seriously because of their defense.”

Dungy: “They played lights out on defense.”


Dungy: “Denver’s defense, we were in love with them today.”


Patrick: “Break up the Buccaneers!”

Dungy on Jameis Winston: “I don’t think they’re going to be a playoff team this year, but I tell you what, this young man has energized the town. He’s energized the team. The veterans love him because of that type of attitude. He doesn’t believe they’re out of it.”

Harrison: “The moment is never too big for him. When you’re watching him, it never looks pretty, but he has these big wide receivers…where the ball doesn’t have to be thrown perfectly, and it’s really helped them out because they surround him with a lot of talent.”


Dungy on Ryan Tannehill: “I’m not sure he’s good enough to be your franchise quarterback.”

Harrison on Ryan Tannehill: “They have a lot of big play weapons, but I don’t believe the coaching staff trusts this guy. They use him like a game manager and he can’t throw the ball deep. So, I don’t know where you go from there.”


Patrick on Tyrod Taylor: “He’s not a game manager. They expect him to make big plays.”


Florio: “Former Raiders coach and current Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is expected to be a hot candidate for NFL head coaching jobs in 2016. He also could have been a hot candidate for college coaching jobs, but the Bengals kept that from happening. I’m told the Bengals denied requests from USC and the University of Miami to interview Hue Jackson. Owner Mike Brown supports Hue Jackson becoming an NFL head coach again; he just didn’t want to create any distractions during what could be a special season for the Bengals.”

King: “If Hue Jackson is No. 1 (coaching candidate), then Josh McDaniels, the offensive coordinator for the Patriots, is 1A. I believe he will be in demand for multiple teams for head coaching positions this offseason, including the Detroit Lions.”


Collinsworth on Hasselbeck’s success: “It is the year of the weird in the National Football League…If you had said at the beginning of the year that Matt Hasselbeck was going to be 4-0 at this point, and the primary reason why the Colts still have a chance to win that division, no way, no way.”


Ward: “The Steelers must find a way to get pressure on him [Matt Hasselbeck] and find a way to get him out of his rhythm. The strength of the Steelers defense is their defensive line. The guy that you have to watch is Cam Heyward. You can’t just block this guy with just one guy. I think for the Steelers, they need to find a way to rush five guys to create that one-on-one matchup against the banged-up Colts offensive line.”


On his career arc: “It’s like the stock market, buy low, sell high…I think for some of it, the fact that I was a backup to start my career has helped me. If I had just come in and been the starter the whole time, I don’t know that I would have known the value in how to be a good backup. Not only has it been fun working with Andrew [Luck], I feel like he’s made me better. I’m hoping in the 10th year of his career he would look back and say, ‘Hey, you know that old guy I played with at the beginning of my career? That was good. I learned some stuff from him.’”

Costas: “You carried a clipboard, back when guys carried clipboards…”

Hasselbeck: “Yes, now a tablet – that’s how much the game has changed.”

On how much ribbing he and Adam Vinatieri get from their teammates for their age: “A lot. But, it’s sort of funny now. I just try to beat them to the punch. Usually, it’s like trivia. The offensive line play a thing called fact or fiction. They’ll be like ‘Fact or fiction – the Rubik’s Cube was invented before Hasselbeck was born.’ These types of things.”

On his kids being old enough to have a memory of him playing: “Yes, though that means they also remember the bad things that you do. The interceptions. I remember, I’d come home from games when I was playing in Seattle and whether it was a good game or a bad game it didn’t matter because I was getting a hug from two little girls and my son would just want to play basketball or do something like that. Now I come home, and they’ll be like, ‘Hey, what happened on that pass to Coby Fleener? Hey, you need to throw to T.Y. Hilton more.’ [Laughs] Do I really need to get that right now from my middle school kids?”