Sunday, October 9th, 2016


“I could close my eyes and think it was 2006.” – Tony Dungy on Tom Brady’s return

“There’s a chance that Jason Garrett could lose his locker room if he makes a change.” – Rodney Harrison on the Cowboys potentially replacing Dak Prescott when Tony Romo is healthy

“The Minnesota Vikings are destroying people.” – Cris Collinsworth

STAMFORD, Conn. – Oct. 9, 2016 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers. Mike Tirico opened the show live from inside Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc. He was joined on site by Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth and SNF sideline reporter Michele Tafoya.

Dan Patrick 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 and Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy; two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison; and NFL Insider Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ ProFootballTalk. Paul Burmeister reported from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on today’s Bengals-Cowboys game.


Football Night coverage also included Tirico’s interview with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:


Collinsworth on first game with Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett all playing together: “It was sort of wow, and it looked like it could be even wower… They’re going to be the team to beat as you look at the AFC.”

Harrison: “One thing about Tom Brady is that he demands accountability from everyone. And everyone raises their level of play when he’s there, and I think we saw that today.”

Dungy: “I could close my eyes and think it was 2006. Accurate, poise, play-action passing game was on target. He got the ball to a lot of receivers today.”


Dungy: “This defense knows they don’t have to carry the load. They don’t have to gamble and go after big plays. They’re not on the field very much because (the offense is) running so much and taking that clock. I like where Dallas is right now.”

Harrison on whether Tony Romo will start over Dak Prescott when Romo returns from injury: “That’s a situation where you have to be very gentle. If you continue to win, if Dak is continually having success, there’s a chance that Jason Garrett could lose his locker room if he makes a change. He has to understand that it’s not about one individual player. You have accountability to an entire locker room.”

Dungy on Cowboys QB situation: “Jerry Jones said nothing has changed. Well something has changed. This team is playing very well and Dak Prescott brings some things that Tony Romo doesn’t bring, that mobility. He’s helping them and he’s not turning the football over.”

Harrison on how players may view a QB change: “… (If) you’re winning and things are going well and you want this guy to stay and all of a sudden they make a change — you lose respect for your coach.”


Tirico: “This is the time (of year) we know who’s pretty good. Minnesota’s really good. 5-0.”

Collinsworth: “The Minnesota Vikings are destroying people. And they’re destroying really good quarterbacks in back-to-back-to-back-to-back weeks now… (On Sam Bradford) He’s a veteran quarterback. He’s been put through the ringer everywhere this guy goes. He finally has this defense and he can play his way – don’t make the big mistake, let this defense win the game, and that’s exactly what’s happening.”

Harrison on Xavier Rhodes: “He’s one of the best cornerbacks in this league. He’s having an excellent season.”


Harrison: “You have to give offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan a lot of credit. He’s doing a great job week to week adjusting his game plan. Last week it was big plays to Julio Jones throwing the ball down the field. Today it was utilizing his running game.”

Dungy: “They went right for that match up, those running backs on the linebackers. They didn’t test those corners so much, and I thought it was a great game plan.”


Dungy on Carson Wentz: “Despite the loss, he was outstanding today. For the first time, his defense didn’t play well…I thought Wentz was great.”


Dungy on Rams’ fake punt: “Rex Ryan and his group were on top of it. That play turned the game around. Jeff Fisher loves to gamble. When they work they are great, but this turned the game in Buffalo’s favor.”

Harrison: “When I look at the Buffalo Bills, it just seems like they are a new team since they changed offensive coordinators. It seems like they are playing with more energy, and LeSean McCoy looks like the guy we saw in Philly…We always make fun of Rex Ryan, but you have to give him a lot of credit because this team is focused. They go on the west coast and that is a big win for them.”


Harrison: “(Andrew) Luck and T.Y. Hilton, they have chemistry, but at times I think they’re too dependent on the big play. The better teams that they face will force them to go elsewhere.”

Harrison: “They have a chance to win the division, but once they win, they’ll be one and done. This defense is terrible.”


Harrison: “I look at Steve Smith and he is your best player, but the problem is he is a 37-year-old wide receiver. He is coming off a major injury. Once he left the game, then your toughness and your production left. They have some good young wide receivers, but they don’t have a lot of NFL experience.”

Dungy: “It used to be the deep ball that we saw from Joe Flacco. That seems to be gone. They are not getting big plays on offense.”


Harrison: “It’s easy to blame the quarterback, but I look at the defensive side of the ball. They have two high-priced defensive players that have been extremely disappointing. I’m going to start with Ndamukong Suh; you give a guy a $100 million contract, you expect a better effort out of this guy. Not only effort, but the example you set when you’re on the field. (During video of Suh) He needs to hustle; he needs to get to the play. No sense of urgency here. But also they went out in the offseason and traded for Bryon Maxwell. (During video of Maxwell) He was benched last week and here it is, no big deal, no sense of urgency just let the receiver catch the ball, no big deal. They talk about the quarterback (in Miami), but I’m disappointed in those guys.”


Patrick: “Creatively losing yet another game, in another way.”


Collinsworth on Odell Beckham, Jr., getting the ball early in the game: “Believe me, the Green Bay Packers saw him get frustrated when he didn’t get the ball. So what do you think they are going to do early in the game? The Giants want to get him the ball early. The Packers want to keep the ball away from him early because they want to see him implode like he’s done the last few weeks.”

Harrison on how to defend Beckham: “When you’re able to get your hands on him, jam him at the line of scrimmage, push him out of bounds and talk a little trash to him, he gets frustrated, and eventually he’s going to snap…”

Dungy: “If I’m coaching him, I’m telling him, ‘You’ve got to get this under control. Just like you learned how to beat coverage, you’ve got to learn how to control yourself.’”


Tirico: “As we welcome you to Football Night in America, this is football in America. It’s the Packers and the Giants, and a cool night at Lambeau…ideal.”

Collinsworth: “I never get tired of coming here…It brings out some little kid thing in you when you show up in this stadium.”


Florio: “That momentum towards Las Vegas led by owners like Jerry Jones could come up against the more traditional owners like John Mara of the Giants, because the NFL looks at this now and says, is that really what we want to be, that embedded with gambling? It’s one thing to have players in a situation where players can get in their car in Philadelphia and drive to Atlantic City to a casino. It’s another thing to walk out your door and it’s everywhere. For young players, do they want to have gambling that close, all the time? It’s going to be a real issue coming up.”

Patrick: “But isn’t the elephant in the room? They’re embedded with gambling. The betting lines are there…”

Florio: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Patrick: “Of course you don’t.”


On how he keeps the team calm after a bad game: “That’s our league now. You can’t pay attention to that. It’s about playing the right way. It’s about our offense, our guys, and making it look the way we want it to look. The other opinions out there, they’re going to be there. It’s white noise for us. We try to keep the blinders on and stay focused on what we have to do to be successful.”

On New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo, who worked with Rodgers at the Packers as QB coach for two years: “It was fun working with Ben. I saw him as a young coach. We had some fun with him, we’d rib each other a lot. We had a great quarterback room both those years and got to really see him open up his personality. He’s got a great sense of humor. At his core, he’s a grinder. His attention to detail was incredible. There was nothing that didn’t get touched on. I always appreciated that about Ben, and I always appreciated the back-and-forths. He’s always one for a good quip, if you kind of try to take a shot at him. I always appreciated that in his personality.”

On whether the appreciation he has for getting to and winning a Super Bowl is growing: “Painfully so. When you win it, and you go there, you think it’s going to be like that every single year. We follow that up with a 15-1 season, No.1 team in the playoffs, and get beat in our first game. We realized how special that opportunity is and how the difference between winning and losing is so tight in this league.”

On playing at Lambeau Field: “When you play here, it’s not a cliché, there’s no place like home. It’s a special place. I look forward to every opportunity to run over those bricks in the tunnel that the greats have run over in all the years of Packer football. There’s nothing like a night game, Sunday night. There’s nothing like a game like that, where you know the fans have been having a good time all day, they’re excited about the game and looking forward to it. It’s going to be a raucous environment, and one that I don’t ever take for granted, never know when it will be my last time running out here. I hope I have many, many more, but it’s a special place.”