Sunday, December 4th, 2016


“They don’t sit back and worry about things they can’t control…They’re built to handle adversity.” – Rodney Harrison on the Patriots winning without Rob Gronkowski

“I love this Oakland offense. They’re explosive, they’ve got so many weapons.” – Tony Dungy on the Raiders

“They’re going to need big plays defensively because both of their quarterbacks are average.” – Harrison on the Broncos

“They really feel like he’s going to make the play to win the game in the end.” – Dungy on the Buccaneers and QB Jameis Winston

STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec., 4, 2016 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks. Mike Tirico opened the show live from inside CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash. 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 Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa., on the Giants-Steelers game.

Football Night coverage also included Tirico’s interview with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:


Harrison on Patriots without Rob Gronkowski: “It’s business as usual. They’re not going to complain because they have a lot of weapons…They don’t sit back and worry about things they can’t control…They’re built to handle adversity. All of their backup guys are well prepared. Anytime one of the starters gets hurt, they just fill in with another guy.”

Dungy: “All these guys fill in. Nobody does it better than the Patriots in making adjustments, but I’m telling you, they are not the same offense without Rob Gronkowski. I think this opens up the whole AFC, I really do.”

Harrison, who played with Tom Brady from 2003-08, on Brady’s record 201st career victory: “I’m just really happy and proud for Tom. I’ve been in the locker room, I’ve seen him work hard and sacrifice so much for his teammates. Congratulations, Tom.”

Patrick: “Well, that’s nice that he’s got something positive in his life for a change.”


Dungy: “I love this Oakland offense. They’re explosive, they’ve got so many weapons, they can run the football. But Derek Carr has so much poise for a young quarterback. They’re down in this game and it doesn’t affect him. He played within himself and got that offense going. They can heat up very quickly.”

Harrison: “I’m not a big fan of Oakland’s defense, but I am a big fan of Khalil Mack…When you have a secondary that has question marks – and they’re going to have to play against offenses that can put up points like the New England Patriots, like the Kansas City Chiefs – I think that is going to be their Achilles heel.”

Florio on suspended LB Aldon Smith: “There’s some hope that a decision could come soon (on reinstatement), and if he is reinstated this week, he feels he’s ready to go Thursday night at Kansas City.”


Collinsworth: “This is a defense that has the ability to take over…Kansas City’s defense is getting better and better.”

Dungy: “They know their strengths, they got points from their defense, points from their special teams, and their offense did just enough for them to win.”

Harrison: “Do you believe they can win the Super Bowl like that?”

Dungy: “I think they can, I really do.”

Harrison: “Against the Patriots? Against the Broncos? Those types of teams?”

Dungy: “I believe they can.”

Dungy chose the Chiefs as the biggest threat to the Patriots and Raiders in the AFC.


Harrison on poor defensive play: “It seems like they depend on their offense too much.”

Dungy: “Their offense has given away some points, too, at the wrong time. This was not a great day for Matt Ryan.”


Dungy: “This is what has to have Mike Tomlin excited, the pressure that they’re finally getting, being able to rush four men.”


Harrison: “They’re going to need big plays defensively because both of their quarterbacks are average.”


Dungy: “Defensively they’re playing well…This is a huge win because even if Baltimore doesn’t end up winning the division, now they’ve got this win against Miami, they’ve got the head-to-head tiebreaker, if it comes down to that, for a Wild Card spot.”

Harrison chose the Ravens as the biggest threat to the Patriots and Raiders in the AFC.


Dungy: “I expected their offense to be able to win a shootout, but this was great defense today led by their secondary.”

Harrison on Lions defense: “Very underrated…I wouldn’t want to play them. I like Detroit.”


Harrison on Jameis Winston: “I love his poise.”

Dungy: “This is the thing that he does so well, move around when things aren’t there, just slide a little bit, buy time…These guys believe in him. Keep the game close – it can be ugly – but they really feel like he’s going to make the play to win the game in the end.”

Harrison: “This team is maturing because they could have easily gone to the west coast and said, ‘You know what, we’re still celebrating a win against Seattle,’ but they expect to win these games.”


Florio on Mike Zimmer’s health status regarding his eye surgery: “I’m told he has some follow-up appointments this week. The first question is will he be able to coach in Jacksonville next Sunday and then, if he can, how will he get there? Because of the eye surgery, he may not be able to fly in a pressurized cabin, so will they have to drive him 1,400-plus miles to Jacksonville?”


Florio on Colin Kaepernick’s future in San Francisco : “Under the contract that was revised earlier in the season, he can void next year and become a free agent, and there’s an indication that he will do that. The first question is, in San Francisco, who will be in place to make decisions if he even comes back? Will GM Trent Baalke be back? Will the new GM want him? Will the new GM want a new coach? There are a lot of dominos that need to fall before we even get to the point of what the 49ers decide what to do. One big factor is there will be plenty of veteran quarterbacks available to the 49ers next year, so Colin Kaepernick may have to look elsewhere next year depending upon what the 49ers do.”

Patrick: “And we think Chip Kelly is back?”

Florio: “We do, but you get a new general manager and you just never what is going to happen.”


Harrison on Jordan Howard’s 3-TD performance: “Can he play quarterback?”


Harrison on Ted Ginn Jr: “I’ve been screaming all year for this guy to get the ball more. He’s a big play wide receiver… but he’s also a great returner.”


Collinsworth: “Russell Wilson is the franchise…Russell Wilson is the guy that has to make this thing work.”

Tirico on Michael Bennett: “If you talk to coaches around the league, they’ll tell you he is one of the most disruptive forces on any D-line in the league.”

Harrison on Pete Carroll’s coaching style: “He allows the players to have their own personality… that’s important if you truly want to believe in a coach.”

Dungy on Pete Carroll: “Those players love him because he lets them be themselves even to the point where they get a few, what I would say, unnecessary penalties. He lets them be themselves.”


Tirico: “Let’s start with the state of the Seahawks. After the loss at Tampa, maybe some thought momentum was building, was that a step in the wrong direction? Where are we heading?”

Carroll: “I hope that this is a moment that we step forward. I think you take a step back to take a couple forward could be the case. We have been here before, in past years. I’m hoping this is the moment that really gives us the humility and the focus that allows us to really finish with a great surge here in the last month of the season.”

Tirico: “Russell Wilson has been through a lot of injuries this year. You see him every day. Tell me how difficult the season has been for him?”

Carroll: “Oh gosh, it was so taxing. He never ever took a step sideways, at any time. He was going to practice every day, play every game. He couldn’t get out and do much of anything other than run the team the best he could. He gave us great play. He gave us the chance to win some games. I was just so fired up to watch him go through this and be a leader in that regard, and have such a phenomenal attitude through it all.”

Tirico: “We all love watching you on the sidelines, your enthusiasm, your passion. I like to tell people you are the coolest, youngest 65-year-old guy I’ve ever seen. What keeps you young?”

Carroll: What did you have to bring up the 65 for? [Laughs] I think it is the competition that keeps me going. Every day to me is an important day. We want to have fun. We try to build that in to everything that we are doing. I just feel fortunate to have the opportunity.”

Tirico: “When you were let go in New England as the head coach, you had a year in between, before USC. And you read John Wooden’s book, and you said ‘when you found out Wooden didn’t win a championship until his 60th year as a coach it really struck you.’ Why?”

Carroll: “What hit me right between the eyes was that once he got everything the way he needed it to be, his approach, his language, his practice, his plans, his whole outlook, he kind of embedded it, you couldn’t stop him. You couldn’t beat him anymore. So what I realized in that moment was, ‘I better get my act together. I have got to get going.’ I realize how important it is to have your own beliefs nailed. So that when you stand up and you make your calls, and you make your program come together, you know where you are coming from. That is where it all happened and it was a phenomenal moment for me. I thank Wooden for the inspiration.”