Sunday, December 25th, 2016


 “Live every day to its fullest, don’t waste a day, and be a part of as many things as you can because you never know which one’s going to touch a life that may make a difference.” – Sam Wyche

“If we’re able to get a win tonight, all of that stuff will be in the past for us, and we’ll be right back on the path to the Super Bowl.” – Von Miller

Alex Smith is a veteran quarterback and he’s done a lot of great things – allow him to be an NFL quarterback.” – Rodney Harrison on the Chiefs’ need to be less conservative

“Football at its finest.” – Mike Tirico on Ravens-Steelers

STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 25, 2016 – Following are highlights from the holiday edition of Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. Bob Costas opened the show live from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. 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 two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison. Mike Tirico and Tony Dungy joined the program remotely to discuss the Ravens-Steelers game, which they called at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa., along with Doug Flutie and sideline reporter Heather Cox, who provided a post-game interview with Ben Roethlisberger.

It was announced during the program that the Week 17 Sunday Night Football matchup will be the Green Bay Packers at the Detroit Lions. The winner will be the NFC North champion, while the loser may be prevented from advancing to the playoffs.

Coverage included a Tafoya interview with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, a Costas interview with Broncos linebacker and reigning Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, and an 11-minute feature on former NFL quarterback and head coach Sam Wyche.

In September, Wyche nearly died from heart failure after suffering for 13 years from cardiomyopathy, a degenerative heart condition. However, he was fortunate to receive a last-minute heart transplant that saved his life. Wyche spoke with NFL Insider Peter King about his experience and how it has altered his approach to life. An excerpt:

Wyche to King: “I was maybe hours away from passing, maybe even less than that, and I’m still here talking to you. It’s a miracle.”

King: “What do you do with your second life?”

Wyche: “I’m not going to waste any time. I’m wasting a little time here talking to you (laughs). But other than that the morale of the story is live every day to its fullest, don’t waste a day, and be a part of as many things as you can because you never know which one’s going to touch a life that may make a difference.”

Collinsworth, who played for Wyche with the Bengals, reacting to the story: “He was one of the most innovative, creative, fun, funny, entertaining coaches that has ever been around the National Football League. He would do things that would get us so fired up before the game. We’d be laughing leaving the locker room half the time, but you’d be ready to play…This man was a really a genius among coaches.”

Collinsworth on organ donation: “If you’ve ever contemplated being a donor, and this piece in some way inspired you to do that, I think we would all encourage you to have the chance to save someone’s life. What better, in this Christmas season, could you possibly do than to sign one of those donor cards? I think I speak for Sam on that one.”

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:


Collinsworth: “I think the real story about tonight is the Denver Broncos. Anytime the world champion is on the ropes, and that’s exactly what we have and they (the defense) are no different than they were a season ago – and this is still one of the great defenses of all time – what they’ve been having trouble with is simply scoring points…and now things are starting to implode just a little bit in that locker room.”

Collinsworth: “If they can keep Trevor Siemian upright, they have a chance.”

Harrison on the Broncos defense: “You talk about all of the arguing and the finger-pointing and the frustration…the way you solve that is get back to what you’ve done that got you to the Super Bowl. Come up with big plays and score on defense. You need those leaders like DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller to really step up and control that situation.”


Harrison on the Chiefs’ offense: “I’m really interested to see what Andy Reid’s game plan is. I think they need to be a little bit more aggressive. Alex Smith is a veteran quarterback and he’s done a lot of great things – allow him to be an NFL quarterback.”

Costas: “In the category of understatement, it can get loud here at Arrowhead.”

Harrison on the Chiefs handling the weather: “If I’m looking at both teams, Kansas City is built to handle this weather. They can run the ball, they have a really good tight end, and Alex Smith is used to dink-and-dunk passes. I think they can handle it a lot better than Denver.”


Harrison: “My big concern is on the defensive side of the ball and particularly the secondary. They just give up too many big plays.”


Harrison: “I think Adam Gase should be the Coach of the Year. He’s done a phenomenal job turning that organization around.”


Tirico: “Football at its finest.”

Dungy: “You knew it was going to come down to that fourth quarter. Two Super Bowl quarterbacks, they didn’t back down, just great plays down the stretch. It was an awesome game.”



On his attempt to ice Titans kicker Ryan Succop last week, which backfired: “We literally tried to ice him. It was freezing out there. (laughs) It didn’t work. My hat goes off to Ryan. I blew it on that one.”

Tafoya: “You say you blew it. It’s 50-50.”

Reid: “Well, let’s say this, ‘He made it.’ How’s that?”

On Cairo Santos’ game-winning FG vs. Broncos in Week 12, which hit the upright: “I never watch where the ball goes. I kind of watch the reaction of the kicker and the punter (holder). For all the years that I’ve been a head coach, that’s worked, except that one kick. My punter, who’s the holder, has his head in the dirt in disgust. And my kicker is frozen for a second and then, like he said in his country, ‘if it hits the bar, it’s a good thing.’ I was a bit confused for just a second, but everybody jumped around so I knew that it was good.”

On his relationship with his players: “If you’re going to stay someplace for a long time in this business, you gotta’ win, but you also have to be who you are or else players read through it; people read through it. I just want it to be real. We’re in this business together. It’s a team sport. You better get along, you better work it out and figure it out. Everyone’s got their strengths and weaknesses. If you’re strong in an area and I’m weak in an area, come cover me up and I’ll do the same for you. That’s how we roll.”



Miller on dissent in the Broncos’ locker room following last week’s 16-3 loss to the Patriots: “We lost. It’s just one of those things. When you lose, everybody’s a little frustrated, from management all the way down to the cooks in the cafeteria. Winning really makes things a whole lot better. When you lose, guys argue over coffee, they argue what’s at the cafeteria, ‘We should be running this play; we should be doing this.’ All we have to do is go out there and get a win, and all of this will be in the past.”

Miller on sending every player in the AFC West a bottle of his wine: “I was thinking about some of my buddies on some of those teams. Christmas was right around the corner, and I thought, ‘What could I do for those guys to show my appreciation.’ I said, ‘I’m just going to send all of those guys a bottle of wine.’ Not just the active roster, but everybody that’s on the football team. I really appreciate the AFC West and my opportunity to play in the National Football League. It’s always us against them, these guys against us – for once, I just wanted to even the playing field and let them know that we’re friends off the football field.”

Miller on meeting President Barack Obama and his role on ‘Dancing With The Stars’: “It was great. He told me that his daughters watch ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ and I was one of their favorites. You walk through the airport and you’ve got guys coming up to you saying, ‘Hey, that’s Von Miller from Dancing With The Stars.’ (laughing) I’ve got a whole career other than ‘Dancing With The Stars.’

Miller on comparing last year’s Super Bowl champion team with this year’s Broncos: “Last year, we won, I think it was seven games, within three points or less. This year we’re losing those games. We just haven’t been able to get those wins. I feel like if we’re able to get a win tonight, all of that stuff will be in the past for us, and we’ll be right back on the path to the Super Bowl.”