Saturday, January 7th, 2017


They are not a great football team like they were in their Super Bowl years, but they have game changers.” – Tony Dungy on the Seahawks

“The most important thing outside of health is having confidence walking into the playoffs, and I just don’t think they can have a lot of confidence.” – Rodney Harrison on the Lions

STAMFORD, Conn. – January 7, 2017 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Wild Card playoff game between the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks. Mike Tirico opened the show live from CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash. He was joined on site by sideline reporters Michele Tafoya and Heather Cox.

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.

Football Night coverage also included Tirico’s interview with Seahawks S Kam Chancellor.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:


Harrison: “They’re not going to beat Seattle walking in and running the ball 30 times. It’s going to be up to Matthew Stafford. He’s going to have to spread these guys out. He’s going to have to win the football game, if they expect to move on.”

Dungy on Caldwell: “I coached with Jim Caldwell for eight years. I’ve been in a lot of meetings with him. I know exactly what he’s doing. He’s got his PowerPoint presentation; it says ‘Seattle Seahawks, nine straight playoff wins at home. Super Bowl Champions.’ He’s going to say, ‘That’s perception. The reality is they’ve lost three of their last six, they lost their last game at home. We have the playmakers that can attack these guys. We can beat them if we play our game.’”

Dungy on the Lions taking advantage of the absence of Earl Thomas: “I think they can throw some balls in the seams, deep in the seams in the middle tonight.”

Dungy on the Lions: “You have to believe in yourself. We were there in 2006, our Super Bowl year. We played terrible run defense in the beginning of the season. We’re facing Larry Johnson, the leading rusher in the league, in the first Wild Card game. (People said) ‘Oh, you’re going to get blown up.’ Our guys just said, ‘You know what? We just have to play fundamental football, do our job, and we can go out and win this game.’ We held Larry Johnson to 32 yards.”

Harrison on team’s late-season struggles: “The most important thing outside of health is having confidence walking into the playoffs, and I just don’t think they can have a lot of confidence.”


Harrison: “It’s that one rare team that can turn it off and turn it on. They have confidence, they have experience…This team — yes, they struggle on the road — but when they get at home, they play fast.”

Dungy: “They definitely have a swagger (at home).”

Harrison on the absence of Earl Thomas: “When you have a great free safety with the range that Earl Thomas has – he can cover from sideline-to-sideline – but also, if you miss a tackle in the front seven, he’s a great open field tackler.”

Dungy on the absence of Earl Thomas: “It kind of reminds me of our defense in Indianapolis with Bob Sanders. The defense was designed to funnel a lot of things to him. When he was in there, we were a very good defense. When he wasn’t, you missed that guy making those plays. A lot of things are designed for Thomas to make plays.”

Harrison on Earl Thomas: “You look at him and he’s a small guy, maybe 5’10”, but he brings that intimidation factor. He’s a big hitter. Remember that hit with Rob Gronkowski? Those are the type of things that they’re going to miss.”

Dungy: “They are not a great football team like they were in their Super Bowl years, but they have game changers – Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham, and defensively, you look at Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Kam Chancellor. They have guys who can swing the game in one play and they believe in themselves.”


Florio on whether Bill O’Brien is in trouble in Houston: “No, because this originated as a talk of ‘mutual parting of ways.’ I’m told it’s more coming from O’Brien. He’s not happy there. The organization would like to keep him around — they’ve been to the playoffs twice in the last three years — but this is O’Brien having some conflicts with GM Rick Smith and ready to move on.”


Harrison: “My concern with the Raiders all year has been their secondary — big plays, penalties. It has nothing to do with their quarterback not being there.”


Florio: “I’m told that Chris Ballard, the Director of Player Personnel in Kansas City, it’s been reported that he declined the opportunity. I’m told the Chiefs blocked the opportunity, so the 49ers had to move elsewhere. Nick Caserio, the New England Director of Player Personnel, he was on the interview list. I’m told he declined the opportunity to interview. So, the 49ers are scrambling to find a GM.”


Tirico on Lions WR Golden Tate, a former Seahawk: “What’s it like going up against your old teammate?”

Chancellor: “We’re boys. That’s my guy, man, a funny dude. He’s still my teammate right here in my heart. But when we step between those white lines, it’s a little different. It’s tough love. He knows it.”

Tirico: “Russell Wilson, everybody knows, Doug Baldwin is outspoken, Richard Sherman is outspoken, Michael Bennett loves to talk, but they all point to you as the soul of the team. What is it that you bring that helps the entire mix work out?”

Chancellor: “Something of everything. I’m a guy who’s always been about practicing what he preaches. When it comes to showing how to play, when it comes to listening, saying kind words, when it comes to respecting your teammates and loving your brothers. I say all of these things, but I’m actually living it.”

Tirico: “You miss Earl (Thomas) a lot, don’t you?”

Chancellor: “Oh yeah, that’s my brother.”

Tirico: “What do you miss the most about not having him on the field with you?”

Chancellor: “Just looking him in the eyes, honestly. The look that we give each other when we know it’s time to go there. No matter who it is, no matter how long it’s going to take, no matter how difficult the road may be, I know he’s got my back and I’ve got his.”

Tirico: “Let’s talk about Detroit. Matthew Stafford was injured last three games, the stats haven’t been good. Do you notice there are things he can’t do right now because of the finger injury?”

Chancellor: “You know, when you say injuries and it’s this late in the season, everybody is injured. (Laughs) Everybody has something going on. You just can’t feed into the whole injury and ‘this person can’t do that’ business because you’re going to be surprised on game day when that person does it. He’s definitely capable of doing everything that he does on film. I really don’t pay attention to that part.”

Tirico: “Can you explain these Seahawks to me? We saw you on two Sunday nights, go to New England and win. Almost nobody does that. We saw you dominate the NFC Champs, Carolina. But then, we see you get blown out in Green Bay, and lose at home to Arizona. That never happens. So, you explain the road this year for these Seahawks.”

Chancellor: “It’s just kind of been up and down. We haven’t been as sharp as we should have been. The games we lost we weren’t on the detail. You have to be in your gap, you have to hold leverage. When we don’t do those things, we’re very vulnerable.”

Tirico: “So, are you good enough to get back to the Super Bowl?”

Chancellor: “We are. This is a whole different ball game now.”