Sunday, September 17th, 2017


“It took me six months to actually sit down and watch the tape because I was just so devastated…This is something that is going to bother both Dan Quinn and Matt Ryan for the rest of their lives.” – Rodney Harrison on losing a Super Bowl

“He is without a doubt one of the great quarterbacks of all time. You can put him up there with anybody.” – Al Michaels on Aaron Rodgers

“I was amazed at their poise because it wasn’t a normal week.” – Tony Dungy on the Buccaneers victory after dealing with Hurricane Irma

“You can see that it’s clearly affecting him.” – Harrison on Cam Newton’s limited play in the preseason 

STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 17, 2017 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Week 2 Sunday Night Football matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Mike Tirico opened the show live from inside the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Tirico was joined on site by the Sunday Night Football team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya, who reported on the many interesting features of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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.

Pre-game coverage also included Tirico’s interviews with Falcons QB Matt Ryan and head coach Dan Quinn.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:


Michaels on the Super Bowl loss: “It’s the ultimate albatross. They even got trolled on opening night in New England when the scoreboard said, 28-3, and they showed the highlights. People here of course are sick of it, they’re sick of what happened in that game, giving up that 25-point lead, and losing in overtime. It’s one thing to say, forget about the past, let’s live in the present and the future. Easy to say — that’s what they have to say — but those are words. How in the world do you do that?”

Harrison, who lives in Atlanta, on the mood of the city: “Cautiously optimistic, which is another fancy way of saying that they’re very nervous.”

Collinsworth on losing two Super Bowls when playing with the Bengals: “You never get over it, you never get over it. I still wake up in the middle of the night and go over plays that we could have done differently, that I could have done differently, could have been a world champion. It was down to the last 30 seconds in one of the Super Bowls that we still had the lead. So they’ll never get over it, so let’s just forget about that concept right now…If you’re going to have a new beginning, not a bad place to have one, right? You come in here, you’re going to get a lot of excitement in this stadium, and, oh by the way, this team blew through the playoffs last year, looked like they were going to blow out the Patriots, and I think they were 20-1 odds to win the Super Bowl. I think they’re a little better than that.”

Harrison on dealing with a Super Bowl loss: “It took me six months to actually sit down and watch the tape because I was just so devastated. It took me about three hours to watch the tape, and I focused one hour on one play, and that’s the David Tyree catch. It’s something that sticks with you because you always think that you let your teammates down, the city, your organization. You think about in history, where you would be? We would have been 19-0. This is something that I have to live with the rest of my life. I had a lot of individual success, but this is something that is going to bother both Dan Quinn and Matt Ryan for the rest of their lives.”

Dungy: “As a coach, I never talked about those losses again because everybody else is talking about them…You have to tell the guys, ‘We cannot do anything about that. The only thing we can do is get ourselves ready to win this year and get back.’”

Harrison on Matt Ryan: “The only way for him to truly, truly get over it – and he’s going to always remember that loss in the Super Bowl – is to go out and win a Super Bowl.”


Michaels on Aaron Rodgers: “He is without a doubt one of the great quarterbacks of all time. You can put him up there with anybody, and he’s really in the prime of his career.”

Tirico: “Do the Packers have what it takes to make another run here for the Super Bowl?”

Collinsworth: “Yes. Ladarius Gunter was their number one cornerback in the Championship Game a season ago. They just cut him. That gives you some idea of how much better they think they are in the secondary at this point in the year than what they were for that Championship Game.”


Dungy on adjusting to injuries: “They do a better job of this than anybody in the league…Whoever they have, Tom Brady can use them. That’s why New England is great.”

Harrison: “The defense still concerns me. They played a lot better this week, but back there in the secondary, you see them while the quarterback is at the line of scrimmage, they’re still talking and they’re still communicating. It’s something with their communication because you see them continually blowing coverages.”

Dungy: “I think their defense is going to be a work in progress.”


Collinsworth: “The thing that stuck out to me about Kansas City today was the effort. We saw some unbelievable effort in this game…If you’re going, ‘It’s New England and who [in the AFC]?’ I think it’s the Kansas City Chiefs.’”

Harrison on his biggest surprise through Week 2: “I would say the Kansas City Chiefs; not the fact that they’re 2-0, but the way they’re winning. They are being aggressive, they’re taking shots down the field — everything that I have been talking about the last two or three years. If this team wants to get to the Super Bowl, and I believe they’re good enough defensively and they have enough weapons offensively to do it, you have to be aggressive.”


Dungy on Seattle offense: “If they can’t do something to get a more consistent running game going, this is going to be a struggle all year.”


Dungy on his biggest surprise through Week 2: “I knew they were going to play good defense. I didn’t think Trevor Siemian would play this well. I think Mike McCoy coming back has really helped him. He looked very, very good today. 2-0 for Denver, that’s a surprise.”


Harrison on Cam Newton: “He’s got wide receivers and running backs in the backfield wide open; he’s just over shooting them. To me, as a player, I used to love playing in preseason. That’s where you get your time, that’s where you get in football shape. Only throwing two passes in the preseason, you can see that it’s clearly affecting him.”


Dungy on the Buccaneers play after dealing with Hurricane Irma: “I was amazed at their poise because it wasn’t a normal week. I was trying to get myself and my family back into Tampa on Tuesday night. A lot of these players didn’t get there until Wednesday, but they played great right out of the shoot.”


Florio: “Even though the Bengals insist there’s a long leash for quarterback Andy Dalton, I’m told it’s not quite as long as the team would suggest. That could be the next move. A.J. McCarron is the obvious replacement, but I’m told there are some guys in that locker room that are starting to bring up the name Colin Kaepernick as a potential Bengals quarterback…Some players are saying, ‘Why not Colin Kaepernick to help fix this mess?’”


Patrick on Jaguars having zero sacks today after 10 last week: “Remember when Jacksonville was Saxonville for one week? Well, it’s over.”


Harrison on Mike Glennon: “You have to change quarterbacks because this guy is not even really giving you a chance to win. He’s turning the ball over. You’re not going to the playoffs. You gave up a lot for Mitchell Trubisky. He’s their No. 1 pick. This is a great opportunity just to play the kid.”


Tirico: “After the Super Bowl, you come in and watch it three straight times, try and flush it – how effective was that?”

Ryan: “It helped a little bit.”

Tirico: “Just a little bit?”

Ryan: “Yeah, just a little bit (laughing). It was one of those things…I really wasn’t going to do it, and (head coach) Dan (Quinn) said, ‘I think it would be good if you just watch it, and get through it, and do it on your own time – but do it early.’”

Quinn on telling Ryan to watch last year’s Super Bowl: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable, knowing that these are hard conversations. The pain was deep and real, and the second guessing that you have, you go through that process – and believe me, I went through it.”

Ryan on losing last year’s Super Bowl: “This is going to be one of those things that provides fuel for me as I move forward the rest of my career. Regardless of what happens this year, hopefully we win Super Bowls moving forward, but you’ll never forget those things.”

Tirico to Quinn: “You’ve been a part of winning Super Bowls; you’ve been a part of losing Super Bowls. You realize how hard it is to get there, even though you’ve been a part of three of the last four. Does that help you in any way transmit to your team that these are separate seasons, there’s no carryover from year to year to year?”

Quinn: “That’s exactly the message of, ‘you put it all in. You empty the bucket for this season.’ That’s what it takes, competing for a championship, it’s as fun as you can possibly imagine. As awesome as it is to win it, I certainly know the disappointment on the other side of it, but the connection that you have as a team, the brotherhood, that strength, that bond, is awesome.”

Ryan on Quinn: “He sets the tone for everyone in our organization – how it goes, how we’re going to deal with this, and much like every other situation that has come up during his time here, he attacks it head on. He doesn’t shy away from anything, he doesn’t shy away from the fact that we fell short of where we wanted to get to, but is also very blunt about, ‘That one’s done, and it’s more important what is in front of us.’”

Quinn on being contacted by Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr after losing last year’s Super Bowl: “I felt it was important, especially for a guy like Steve, who had a lead on Cleveland (in the 2016 NBA Finals), and they came back, and the mindset of the team. You feel that pain. But at the same time, Steve was also the one that said, ‘Dan, this is the life we live as competitors. Go battle for it again like crazy.’ It’s not going to define who we are – ‘17 is here, and how are we going to battle for it in the biggest way?”

Tirico: “Steve won the next year.”

Quinn: “You know, I saw that (laughing).”


Chris McCloskey