Sunday, October 30th, 2016


He’s the leading candidate for MVP.” – Rodney Harrison on Tom Brady

Cam should not have to be the one saying this. His head coach, his owner, and everybody in the organization should be saying this.” – Tony Dungy on Cam Newton’s comments about quarterback safety

“They treat him like Shaq. He doesn’t get any calls because he’s so big. He’s absolutely spot on with this.” – Harrison on Newton

STAMFORD, Conn. – Oct. 30, 2016 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Mike Tirico opened the show live from inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. 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 the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., on today’s Packers-Falcons game.

Football Night coverage also included Tirico’s interview with Eagles QB Carson Wentz.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:


Harrison on Cam Newton’s comments about quarterback safety: “It’s really unfair the way they treat him, because he has a reputation of being a running quarterback. When you look at his size and his strength, and we saw him Week 1 out there in Denver, it’s almost like they treat him like Shaq. He doesn’t get any calls, he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt, because he’s so big. He’s absolutely spot on with this. We talk about the officials each and every week. You have an official looking right at the quarterback, he has to be able to make that call.”

Dungy: “There is no excuse for missing that call. Below the knee, that’s an automatic penalty that should have been called. I feel badly for him because Cam should not have to be the one saying this. You go on public record like this, and it puts thoughts in defenders minds that you are a little gun shy. His head coach, his owner, and everybody in the organization should be saying this. He should not have to say this.”


Dungy on Josh Norman’s comments on officiating: “Official #88 is field judge Brad Freeman, and all he does is watch the wide receivers and defensive backs. These were good calls today. These were not phantom calls. Josh Norman has to understand. If you put your hands in the face, or you grab jerseys, it’s going to get called.”

Harrison: “I know he’s frustrated because he’s out there fighting against one of the best receivers in the league. If Norman watches the tape, he’ll see that they could have made three or four additional calls on him. If he doesn’t change his technique… it is going to continue to happen. He needs to change.”


Harrison on Pete Carroll’s postgame comments about NFL officiating: “These officials have been so inconsistent this entire year. We saw that in the Seahawks’ game against the Falcons, the officials were afraid to call pass interference by Richard Sherman.”

Dungy: “Two calls were pretty obvious. Pete Carroll had a reason to be upset.”


Harrison on Tom Brady: “After missing four games, I think he’s the leading candidate for MVP.”

Dungy on Brady: “You’re not going to fool Tom Brady. He’s seen every coverage and every defense you can throw at him. Right now you would have to say he’s a leading candidate for MVP.”


Dungy: “The big mistake they made was that they tried to fool Tom Brady. You don’t do that very often. He’s seen every coverage and every defense you can throw at him.”


Collinsworth on the upcoming Week 9 matchup between the Broncos and Raiders: “When I was a kid, Denver and Oakland meant something. Guess what, it’s a big deal again. Derek Carr passed for 513 yards today, four touchdowns and no interceptions. There is a touch of the old Raiders as well. They had 23 penalties, for a new NFL record. Next week is going to feel like the ‘good old days’ one more time. It’s going to be insane.”


Florio on Alex Smith: “After the first blow to his head, Alex Smith went to the locker room and received the full concussion evaluation. The Chiefs say, ‘it was the normal NFL mandated concussion protocol implemented by an independent neurologist.’ You can see Smith looked woozy after that first hit, but he was cleared. After the second hit, Smith went back for the evaluation and was not cleared. He was diagnosed with a concussion. Smith will not be allowed to practice or play until he is cleared by an independent neurologist and team physician.”


Harrison on Brock Osweiler: “It’s difficult to get excited about Brock Osweiler because he’s so inconsistent. He’s up and down, and loses his confidence.”


Dungy: “The Minnesota Vikings are the most surprising team in the league right now. Adrian Peterson is out, Teddy Bridgewater is out, and they’re still in first place and playing very well.”


Harrison: “Offensively they don’t know if they want to be a big play offense. On defense, they said we’re one pass rusher, Chandler Jones, away from being a great defense, and they’re not very good.”


Florio on the NFL’s investigation on Ezekiel Elliott:  “The investigation remains open. Roughly a month ago, Ezekiel Elliott was interviewed for more than an hour by the NFL… and the NFL Players Association lawyer was also present for the formal interview. I’m also told that his ex-girlfriend is cooperating, and that is not always something that happens in cases like this. The investigation is open, and the investigation continues.”

Florio on the timing of the NFL’s investigation: “There is no hard and fast procedure. There is no timetable, and there are no deadlines that apply. The process moves as quickly as the league wants it to move. An important thing to keep in mind… If the Commissioner ever comes to a conclusion that the policy may have been violated, then Ezekiel Elliott could be put on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. Which means he’ll get paid, but he will not be allowed to play.”

Patrick: “Everybody is looking for consistency from the league with regards to investigating domestic violence, and I’m wondering about the handling of the Josh Brown case. Does that have any impact on this?”

Florio: “Well that looms over how the NFL is going to handle any of these cases in the short term. Many players are watching this case, and how it plays out with Ezekiel Elliott, because of what happened initially with Giants kicker Josh Brown. He (Brown) got a one game suspension. He is white, and a lot of players are watching this carefully.”

Collinsworth on Dak Prescott and Eagles QB Carson Wentz: “The thing that impresses me most out of them is that they have brought an element of fun to each of their teams. Young people sometimes bring an element of fun to a locker room that hasn’t been that much fun in the past. Certainly in the case of the Dallas Cowboys, I think you see that energy every time they take the field.”


Collinsworth on Wentz: “This is a guy who gets it. He’s a natural leader in that locker room. They really like him. He has all the intangibles. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s got a Ben Roethlisberger type of body. I think there are still a few things to clean up with him, but there’s a good chance this guy is going to be even better in the future than he is right now. Or at least pretty darn good.”


On returning home to North Dakota as a starting QB in the NFL: “It was pretty cool. It was different, because I feel like a kid who just grew up down the street. I don’t feel any different, but everyone looks at me differently now. I don’t let that go to my head. I’m trying to make the most of my opportunities with interacting with the fans. It’s a great place, a great state, and this sport is unbelievable.”

On playing for Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett at the 2016 Senior Bowl: “You could tell he loved the game. He was very passionate, even in the Senior Bowl. He took it seriously and he cared.”

On if he left the Senior Bowl thinking the Cowboys would draft him: “Absolutely. I left there, and everyone is talking. That’s just how it is. I always thought that was an opportunity, but I wouldn’t change the way it played out for the world.”

Tirico: “What would it be like if you were a Dallas Cowboy instead of a Philadelphia Eagle?”

Wentz: “(Laughs) I don’t even want to speculate on that one. I don’t know.”

On being compared to Brett Favre by Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson: “I think you’ll have to ask coach about some of those things. A guy like Brett, to even be in the same breath is unbelievable. The guy just loved the game. I always enjoyed watching him as a kid. To even be in that category is a little ridiculous in my opinion. The way he played the game, the energy that he brought is something that I like to bring. Obviously he had a bit of a gunslinger mentality in him, and I think some of that is in me.”

On tonight’s matchup possibly being the first of many with Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott: “It’s just the next game on the schedule right now. Obviously it’s a big game. A Sunday Night game. We’re pretty fired up about it, but I don’t really put it into this whole ‘Dak vs. Carson’ thing. It’s just another game.”