Sunday, September 10th, 2017


“I thought it was beautiful. I want to take my hat off to the Cleveland organization.” – Tony Dungy on the Browns pre-game video promoting equality

It almost looked like the Washington Redskins flat out gave up today.” – Rodney Harrison

“I don’t expect to see any sophomore slump or jinx.” – Al Michaels on Dallas QB Dak Prescott

“They could potentially be better than the 2007 Giants defense that beat (the Patriots) in the Super Bowl.” – Harrison on the Giants defense

STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 10, 2017 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Week 1 Sunday Night Football matchup between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. Mike Tirico opened the show live from inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and was joined on site by the Sunday Night Football team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya.

Dan Patrick co-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 head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dungy; two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison; and NFL Insider Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. Paul Burmeister reported from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc., on the Seahawks-Packers game.

Pre-game coverage also included Dungy’s interview with Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and Bob Costas’ interview with Giants WR Brandon Marshall.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:


Florio: “I’m told he is currently at 230 pounds, working out five times a week, and ready to play. He has received a grand total of zero offers since becoming a free agent back in March. A lot of people say, ‘Well, why isn’t he talking?’ ‘Why doesn’t he come out and say something?’ I’m told that he doesn’t want to add to this perception that he is a distraction by talking. He’s ready, he’s waiting, and maybe the phone will ring.”


Florio: “I don’t think the league has a problem with it (but)… the league isn’t going to mandate or direct any team to do this.”

Dungy: “I thought it was beautiful. I want to take my hat off to the Cleveland organization. They did a great thing. They let the players have a forum, a voice. They took it away from the protests of the flag and the anthem, and gave the players a chance to say what they wanted to say. I know Mike said the Commissioner can’t mandate this, but, if I were him, I would encourage every team to try to do this.”


Collinsworth on Ezekiel Elliott the football player (Tirico mentioned that Florio will have a report on Elliott’s eligibility issues later in the show): “I’m going to talk about Ezekiel Elliott the football player now and I’m going to leave the other to Mike (Florio) for a moment. He clearly is one of the best running backs I think I’ve ever seen. There aren’t many guys that size who have the receiving abilities he has; that has the ability to run inside; that has the speed to start inside and get around the corner; that has the hurdling skills to get over people. Let’s face it, he is a great, great player, and a huge difference maker because he is the one who really protected Dak Prescott a season ago. He gave him a lot of single coverage to throw into because everyone had to play against Ezekiel Elliott.”

Florio: “The NFL will decide by tomorrow whether or not to appeal the ruling blocking the Elliott suspension. If the NFL decides to go forward, they could get a ruling before Sunday that would take him off the field. It remains to be seen whether the NFL proceeds in that regard.” Click here to watch the video.

Dungy on impact of Beckham’s absence: “That is huge for them (Cowboys) because they had a matchup problem. They don’t have corners that can cover Beckham man-to-man. It was going to be a lot of zone coverage. That could change tonight…The Cowboys defense now will be able to squeeze down, play a little tighter, keep those short gains down tackle. They don’t have to worry about that big throw down the field to Beckham.”

Michaels on expectations for Prescott’s sophomore season: “He looked confident last year in preseason. He looked very confident during the season. I don’t expect to see any sort of a sophomore slump or jinx…We met with him a couple of days ago, he is a really good kid to be around, he really is. I think he’s going to have another tremendous season.”


Collinsworth on injured Odell Beckham, Jr., who worked out pre-game before being officially deactivated: “I’ve been in that position before, and as a receiver you don’t want to be embarrassed. You don’t want someone out there covering you who you know can’t cover you…it will be interesting to see if he’s ready to play next week.”

Harrison on the impact of no Odell Beckham, Jr. tonight: “You don’t have that explosive player. Odell is very capable of taking a slant 60 or 70 yards, we’ve seen it very often. Brandon Marshall, he was brought here for a reason. They are going to have lean on his veteran experience. And he is going to have to step up and make plays.”

Harrison on Giants defense: “They could potentially be better than the 2007 Giants defense that beat (the Patriots) in the Super Bowl. They have great pass rushers, but also a really legit secondary.”


Harrison: “It almost looked like the Washington Redskins flat out gave up today.”


Harrison on Marshawn Lynch: “He’s a big physical back, but he can do everything. He can catch out of the backfield, he can go in between the tackles. When he’s in the game, there’s just a certain level of energy that he brings…they feel like he’s the missing piece that they finally found for this offense.”


Dungy on the Steelers: “Antonio Brown really saved them today. Mike Tomlin, even though they won, cannot be happy about this: 12 penalties, no run game. They have some things to work on. A win is a win, but the Steelers have work to do.”


Patrick: “I’m not sure if we credit Baltimore or blame Cincinnati or is it a combo platter?”

Harrison: “I’m going to blame Cincinnati. When I look at Cincinnati, they have absolutely no identity on offense since Hue Jackson left.”

Dungy: “I’m going to take the other side. I think the Baltimore defense took some of that identify away.”

Patrick: “It feels like Cincinnati’s regressing.”


Harrison to Texans head coach Bill O’Brien about rookie QB Deshaun Watson: “I’m going to give him some free advice. I’m not even going to charge him for this advice. Start the kid! He is too talented to be sitting on the bench.”

Dungy: “Amen, I agree with you.”


Dungy: “Matt Ryan was the MVP last year and he needed to be today because that defense wasn’t sharp. They had no running game, but Ryan made the big plays to win for them.”


Dungy: “That Green Bay defensive line set the tone. They won the game today.”


Dungy: “We’re not used to seeing Cam Newton play like this. He missed receivers time and time again.”


Collinsworth: “Maybe the running back is back. Ezekiel Elliott last season came in and they go on this great run, only lose three games throughout the course of the year. Then, right off the bat, we see Kareem Hunt come in there with the Kansas City Chiefs, and it was one of those a little bit like Ezekiel. He could run it, he could catch it, showed a little power, and showed a little speed. A third-round pick, a little like David Johnson back with Arizona. And then Leonard Fournette today, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg with this guy. We saw the power today, he ran over two or three people and showed some really good power. Wait until you see this young man break out in the open field. I saw him playing for LSU make some spectacular runs. A rare combination of speed and power that guy is.”



Dungy: “You had a great first year, and you did something that most young quarterbacks aren’t able to do – take care of the football. I heard you say that your mom had a lot to do with that. Tell me about that.”

Prescott: “I just remember coming home from practice one day, and I wasn’t too happy, and told her that I didn’t have a good day, that I threw a couple of interceptions. She was like, ‘Well, why are we practicing interceptions? Those aren’t good habits.’ That’s something that I’ll never forget, but it’s true. Don’t practice bad habits. I don’t give the ball to a defensive player. Teammates ask me for the ball all the time, and I’ll set it on the ground and let them pick it up, but I won’t throw it to them, and I won’t give it to them.”

Prescott on if he dreamed about being the Cowboys QB growing up: “Yeah, 100 percent. It was always, on Sundays, the Dallas Cowboys were on. My dad is a big fan. The moment I got picked, [he was] with seven or eight jerseys of former players, so it’s a dream come true.”

Prescott on teams studying him now in his second year: “I expect teams to change it up a little bit when they play us, especially within the division. As you said, I watched film on them too though, so I can gauge defensive coordinators’ play calling. When he’s aggressive; when he’s not; when he just changes everything up. It works both ways. I’m excited. I’m excited for the challenge and I hope they change things up.”

Prescott on Week 1 vs. the Giants on SNF: “It’s special. It’s the first game of year two for me. Not for one second am I going to say it’s one of 16. We’ve got to start on the right foot. We’ve got to get this win against an in-division team, a team we didn’t beat last year, and get going the right way.”



Costas: “You said at this stage of your career you wanted to be a No. 2 starter, because that meant if someone else was good enough to be the No. 1 guy on such a team, then you’re going to a contending team.”

Marshall: “Absolutely. I wanted to be in a situation where that guy gets the attention, and I was seeing one-on-ones and having better matchups. I truly believe that a great formula for success is where you have two receivers that really can change the game.”

Marshall on his teams’ struggles in previous seasons: “It’s never a wasted year, you learn so much. Each locker room is different and a losing locker room, a losing environment, you learn a lot. It just seems that the last seven or eight years that’s the type of environment I’ve been in. I’ve learned enough from losing. I’m ready to learn from winning.”

Marshall on being more energized by his current situation: “I am, but I’m not anxious, I’m not nervous. For me, the past 11 years have been preparation for this point. I’ve gotten better mentally and physically, so hopefully I’ll be able to display it on a big stage this year.”

Marshall on his chemistry with Eli Manning: “It’s not obviously where Odell’s [Beckham Jr.] and Eli’s chemistry is. What we’ve done to try to make up for it, from FaceTime calling each other, and asking how we would respond to things. I come out of the shower after practice, and he’s standing there doing hand signals and asking me, ‘What does this mean? What does that mean?’ It’s a situation where we’re always on. We should be able to win with our chemistry right now.”