Sunday, October 23rd, 2016


“The public and the media are left to wonder, ‘What in the world is going on here?’ and that has been the sense that has pervaded this since August.” – Mike Florio on the Josh Brown situation

“It just seems like he was ‘sort of’ guilty of domestic violence. You can’t be ‘sort of’ guilty. You either are or you’re not.” – Dan Patrick on Josh Brown’s initial one-game suspension

“Put him in now. It’s obvious Case Keenum cannot take this team to the playoffs.” – Tony Dungy on Rams QB Jared Goff

“I look at Matthew Stafford and it seems like he’s playing with an intensity to prove to everyone that he doesn’t miss Calvin Johnson.” – Rodney Harrison

STAMFORD, Conn. – Oct. 23, 2016 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. Mike Tirico opened the show live from inside University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. He was joined on site by Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth, NFL Insider Peter King, 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. Kathryn Tappen reported from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa., on today’s Patriots-Steelers game.


Football Night coverage also included Tirico’s interview with Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and King’s interview with Tyrann Mathieu.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:


Patrick: “The NFL back in August handed down the one-game suspension to the Giants placekicker Josh Brown. That was for domestic violence. New information came out this past week. Now he is on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. So where are we right now? The overall view of this is what?”

Florio: “We have to go back to 2014. After the Ray Rice case, the NFL came out with a very strong stance against domestic violence, zero tolerance. Giants co-owner John Mara among the voices saying we can’t tolerate this. So part of the new procedure: a six-game baseline suspension for any incident of domestic violence. That’s the rule, six games. Josh Brown, the Giants kicker, gets one game and the public and the media are left to wonder, ‘What in the world is going on here?’ and that has been the sense that has pervaded this since August.”

Patrick: “So I’m part of the media and I’m wondering, why one game?”

Florio: “Part of the formula is mitigating factors can decrease the six-game baseline suspension. The problem here though is the NFL’s position. For example, one of the mitigating factors: Josh Brown grabbed his ex-wife by the wrist and left a mark and they don’t view that as a serious incident of domestic violence. Most people would view any incident of domestic violence as a serious incident. On top of that, the inability to get to the information necessary from Brown’s ex-wife, who wouldn’t cooperate, and from the authorities in Washington, who wouldn’t cooperate. That was viewed as a mitigating factor. Most people would look at that and say that’s not really a mitigating factor either.”

Patrick: “But new information came out this past week, so why didn’t the NFL just wait for this information and then make a ruling on Josh Brown.”

Florio: “The arrest happened in May of 2015. The suspension was finalized in August of 2016, so you could wait a little bit longer. The League’s position would be that they were being pressured by the NFL Players Association to reach a decision. And the NFLPA would say in response to that, ‘That’s ridiculous, we have no power to force you to do anything. You have exclusive control over this. You can take as long as you want. You can wait for the final police report before making the decision,’ and if that had happened, we may never have gotten to this point.”

Patrick: “And the Giants signed him to a two-year contract to start this season. How is this being played out with other teams in locker rooms around the league?”

Florio: “Players, coaches, general managers, and people in the League Office look at this and they’re frustrated for three different reasons. First of all, lack of transparency from the get-go. People not knowing why the League was making these decisions. Also, the failure to get the information that could have avoided this whole problem. And, finally, a sense of hypocrisy, inconsistency – whatever you want to call it – regarding the way that the NFL deals with domestic violence and the way that the NFL deals with issues like drugs, like celebrations, and like the pressure in footballs.”

Patrick: “It just seems like he was ‘sort of’ guilty of domestic violence. You can’t be ‘sort of’ guilty. You either are or you’re not. One game…The League has reopened the investigation. The Giants have said they’ll address this further when they get back from London.”


Dungy: “LeGarrette Blount (127 rushing yards and two TDs) is a good, good football player, but that offensive line today made him look great.”

Harrison: “A bunch of no-name guys that get the job done.”


Collinsworth: “It’s not the first time we’ve seen the Eagles defense make somebody look bad so far this year.”

Dungy: “Great defensive performance to knock off the last undefeated team.”


Collinsworth: “You do have to begin to wonder about the Minnesota Vikings. This is becoming a pretty big Achilles heel for them on that offensive line.”

Dungy: “I’m worried about Sam Bradford, about his health and his psyche if they don’t start protecting better for him.”


Dungy: “All these Kansas City defensive backs can catch the football.”

Harrison: “And they’re looking to score.”

Patrick: “That secondary is great.”


Dungy on Dan Quinn’s decision not to punt in OT: “To me, you have to punt that football. Pin them down there, put the pressure on San Diego to drive the length of the field. Give the defense a chance to make a play.”


Dungy on Jared Goff: “I believe they’ve got to get him ready to get in the lineup. Put him in now. It’s obvious Case Keenum cannot take this team to the playoffs.”

Harrison: “I agree with you. You gave up a lot to get him. You’ve got to see if this kid can play. The time is now, you have to play him.”


Harrison on Chargers OT win: “Give San Diego a lot of credit, Mike McCoy has this team playing hard. They have lost a lot of fourth-quarter games, and for them to hang in there I thought that was great.”


Dungy on Jay Ajayi’s back-to-back 200-yard rushing games: “He has brought something to this team with his attitude. He runs angry, he runs hard, he runs with a passion, and he was the game changer today.”


Harrison: “I look at Matthew Stafford and it seems like he’s playing with an intensity to prove to everyone that he doesn’t miss Calvin Johnson. He is really doing a great job with his aggressiveness throwing the ball down the field to different wide receivers.”


Dungy on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s post-game comments that he should start every game: “I think it goes deeper than just getting benched this past week. I think it goes back to this past offseason when he didn’t get the contract offer that he thought he deserved. I don’t know how you cannot have your starting quarterback in camp. I thought that was a mistake by the Jets front office.”

Harrison: “The Jets quarterback situation is average. I believe they should feature Matt Forte like they did today. I think every single game they should at least give him the ball 20 times. For the life of me, I don’t understand why he used to come out on third down. This is what he is capable of doing, running in between the tackles and obviously catching the ball out of the backfield. Ryan Fitzpatrick needs to stop turning the ball over.”


Patrick: “Seems like every year we say the Titans are a year away. Are the Titans still a year away?”

Dungy: “They’re still a year away…they had a Colts team that was reeling today. They had the lead and couldn’t finish them off. They have talent, but they’re just not quite there yet.”

Harrison on Marcus Mariota: “I think he’s a really good young talented guy, but I think at times he plays too careful, not wanting to make the big mistake. I would like to see him in the fourth-quarter situations be a little more aggressive, kind of take control of the game at times in the fourth quarter. He holds onto the ball and that is why you see a lot of those sacks and those strip sacks.”


Florio: “It’s time for the annual Joe Thomas possible trade talk as the dealine approaches, just nine days away. Last year, they almost got a deal done that would have sent him to the Broncos. This year, teams like the Giants, Cardinals, Seahawks and Vikings all have some degree of interest. A couple of problems though: what the Browns would want in exchange, plus salary cap space for the team that would be absorbing his contract. And if the Browns ultimately decide just to get whatever they can and essentially give Thomas away, don’t rule out the New England Patriots, who would take him if they could steal him…I’m told the Browns are looking for a second-round pick right now. If they get that, they would make the move.”


Collinsworth on Russell Wilson getting rid of the football quicker: “It really has taken a very young and inexperienced offensive line, and made them look pretty good, only 10 sacks so far on the season right now, which is impressive.”


Dungy on attacking Russell Wilson: “Wilson and that lack of mobility with those injuries, I don’t think they have to blitz. I would go away from their normal game plan. Don’t get into mismatches with Jimmy Graham and those dangerous receivers.”



 On how his injury has affected his play: “I just haven’t been able to run as much, but I do like throwing it. I’ve got the guys to go and make the great plays out there. Last year, we were able to sit in the pocket and just get it to true playmakers all day. For me, that’s an extended part of the game…that’s the fun part of the game, where you can extend the play and make something positive happen.”

 On how he’s kept up his energy and enthusiasm: “My first year, I remember when I was flying and getting ready to go to Seattle, I was writing down my goals. One of the things I wrote down was, ‘Treat every day, no matter if it’s Year 1, Year 5, Year 15, Year 20 – treat every day like it’s the first.’ I’ve been able to do that, and that’s the great part about it. You continue to build on that knowledge, continue to see things, continue to anticipate and visualize situations, and hopefully capitalize on them.”

 Mike Tirico: “Why do you guys play so well here in Arizona?”

 Wilson: “Preparation.”

 Wilson on playing against Patrick Peterson and Mathieu: “You’ve got to find ways to make plays, because they’re as good as they can be. There aren’t going to be too many weak moments for those guys, so you’ve got to find it when you can.”

 Wilson on importance of matchups against Arizona: “Every game is important. You just take it one game at a time.”

Tirico: “This was your division. You’re going to tell me this is another game?”

 Wilson: “It has to be. Every game is important. From Game 1 to Game 16, we treat every one the same. The goal is to go 1-0 this week, and then we’ll worry about the rest.”



 On playing many different positions: “When I came in as a rookie, we had a (defensive coordinator) by the name of Todd Bowles. His philosophy was to put his best 11 players on the football field. He would put guys at outside corner, inside corner, box safety, deep safety. His philosophy was to put the best 11 on the field.”

Peter King: “How’d the players like that?”

Mathieu: “We loved it. We took it as a challenge. It made everybody hungry because everybody knew they had a chance to play.”

On how he prepares each week, knowing he can play different positions: “I play slot corner more than I play any other position, so I want to get those (responsibilities) down pat first. As the week progresses, I want to understand my responsibilities as a deep safety. If I’m on the outside, I want to understand what kind of routes I’ll get, what are the route combinations? If I’m in the box, I want to look at the run game and understand the run game and those responsibilities as well.”

On how to prepare for the Seahawks: “When you play against teams like Seattle, they capitalize on every mistake you make. You want your communication to be sharp, you want your fundamentals and your techniques to be sharp, you don’t want to miss any tackles, and you just want to play sound, fundamental football.”

On his approach coming into the NFL: “I didn’t have at true position, which was scary coming in as a rookie. (I thought) ‘What am I going to play? I don’t have a position.’ It was good to know that I found a spot on the field, and that coach would put me on the field because he thought I was one of his best 11.”

Cardinals HC Bruce Arians on Mathieu: “The only guy I can even compare him to is Charles Woodson – a guy that was a dynamic corner and played safety, played in the box, blitzed – did all of the things that Ty does.”

Arians on if more players will play like Mathieu: “I think you’ll see more (players like Mathieu). You have more great athletes in college. We’re not asking them to do as many things in college football as Ty can do. You can get a great athlete, but he doesn’t have the instincts that Ty has. There are a lot (of players) that are bigger and faster, but they’re not Ty.”