Sunday, November 12th, 2017


“You know why he wants to play? He’s got a Super Bowl-caliber team and he’s the best quarterback in the building.” – Tony Dungy on John Elway, who told Mike Tirico he still dreams of playing

“They are no longer just a dome team.” – Rodney Harrison on the 7-2 Saints

“There is absolutely no reason to make a change right now. Keep riding with the hot hand.” – Dungy on the 7-2 Vikings sticking with Case Keenum

 “I’ll tell you this, if I was in Houston’s locker room, I would be highly upset because I know we could do better than Tom Savage. A better quarterback is sitting at home.” – Harrison on the Texans

 “Their defense is a Super Bowl-caliber defense.” – Chris Simms on the Jaguars

STAMFORD, Conn. – Nov. 12, 2017 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Week 10 Sunday Night Football matchup between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos. Mike Tirico opened the show live from inside Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo. He was joined on site by the Sunday Night Football team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya, as well as Chris Simms, co-host of NBC Sports’ PFT Live.

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 Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., on the Cowboys-Falcons game.

Football Night featured Tirico’s interview with Broncos general manager John Elway. In honor of Veteran’s Day and as part of the NFL’s Salute to Service, Football Night featured Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona, who is also a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:


Florio: “Apart from being viewed as a pariah among your business partners, almost like Al Davis, there is a clause in the NFL’s Constitution and Bylaws that would make Jones responsible for the legal fees of the league and all teams if he goes through with this. I was told that one estimate already has that total north of $10 million, if it would come to that. I guess that could help fund the commissioner’s next contract, but it would come out of Jerry Jones’ pocket.”

Patrick: “So Jerry has to pick up the whole tab here?”

Florio: “If he goes forward and loses, he has to pick up the whole tab for everybody.”


Collinsworth: “The Steelers looked terrible, I mean they looked terrible in the first half. This offense should be so much better than what they are. They have all-stars across all layers of that offense, and yet you get the feeling that they just haven’t found their rhythm yet.”

Simms on Steelers defense: “Still too much zone coverage. If they get in the playoffs and play against (Tom) Brady and company, he’s going to pick them apart as usual.”

Harrison: “There is a level of arrogance that comes with the Pittsburgh Steelers because they play well on defense. The mindset has to change. Whenever you play against a bad team, the conversation in the locker room is, ‘Hey, guys. Let’s blow this team out. Let’s get the starters out, get the subs in, and let’s get ready and prepare for our game on Thursday night.’ That is how you avoid injuries. They have had two starters in the secondary that got hurt.”

Dungy: “You say it’s arrogance. I do not think it is arrogance, I think it is immaturity. I know that they have a great leader in Ben Roethlisberger, but some of these guys, Martavis Bryant, they are on a winning streak and he is talking about, ‘I need the ball more, I want to be on another team.’ I think it is just a little bit of immaturity.”


Harrison: “They are no longer just a dome team and the reason why is because they can run the football. They have two different backs (Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara).”

Dungy: “The reason I’m on the New Orleans bandwagon now — that defense. They looked terrible the first two weeks, but they are playing good, solid football.”

Harrison: “It is no longer Drew Brees dropping back throwing 50-plus times, trying to do everything himself…they are just a complete team right now.”


Harrison on Case Keenum: “I would just suggest to coach (Mike) Zimmer, don’t outsmart yourself. (Keenum) has a certain level of chemistry with the wide receivers. They have won five straight.”

Dungy: “I agree with you. Teddy [Bridgewater] is your quarterback, but you are winning with Case Keenum. There is absolutely no reason to make a change right now. Keep riding with the hot hand.”


Dungy: “The big thing Tennessee fans can be excited about is (Marcus) Mariota running the ball. They went a month with no designed runs for him. You saw him scramble today. You saw him make big plays with his legs. He’s on his way back.”

Harrison: “Every time he runs, because he’s been hurt so often, I hold my breath. I don’t want to see designed runs. I want to see him in the pocket, and if the pocket breaks down, maybe escaping.”

Dungy: “Those designed runs are such a big part of their offense. That’s why they’re able to hold the ball for 40 minutes today…They need him to run to be effective.”


Harrison: “I like the Rams, but the next month of the season will definitely prove if they’re 100% serious because you have to deal with Minnesota, New Orleans, Seattle, and Philly.”

Dungy: “I’m all in on them. I love the Rams. They play defense, they’ve got speed, and they’re taking care of the football.”


Simms: “Their defense is a Super Bowl-caliber defense.”


Harrison on team missing Ezekiel Elliott: “We just saw that they’re probably in more trouble without their left tackle (Tyron Smith)…They have to make sure they sure up that protection on the left side.”

Dungy: “That dominating offensive line is what made it last year. Also Sean Lee got hurt today, and that is a problem for the defense. When he’s not in there, this defense is not the same. So they’re going to miss Zeke, but they have got to get those other two guys back in the lineup.”


Florio on Vontaze Burfict’s ejection: “I’m told the league will look at everything – the context of the play, the action involved, pushing away the official’s arm…and also his history of violations, his history of suspensions.”

Harrison on Burfict’s late hit penalty: “This was a garbage, garbage call. Terrible.”

Dungy: “That’s not a penalty.”

Harrison: “Reputation call right there.”

Harrison on Burfict’s ejection: “That’s overreaction right there.”


Florio on Ben McAdoo possibly being fired after a loss to the 49ers: “It very well could happen, if they just feel like there’s no alternative other than to find someone else to lead that team the rest of the year.”

Harrison on two missed tackles by CB Janoris Jenkins: “Talk about lack of effort, lack of toughness. This is why the Giants are so terrible.”


Harrison: “I’ll tell you this, if I was in Houston’s locker room, I would be highly upset because I know we could do better than Tom Savage. A better quarterback is sitting at home.”


Collinsworth on Broncos offensive struggles: “We saw it last week, a lot of man coverage on the outside and they come up and stop the run, and now they haven’t been able to win with the passing game. So that has to change out here tonight. They have to begin to make some of the big plays that these two receivers (Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders) have been making for a long time.”

Dungy: “They’re a good defense, but they got embarrassed last week (allowed 51 points vs. the Eagles). I want to see if they have that pride to show up.”

Dungy on Elway saying he still dreams about playing: “You know why he wants to play? He’s got a Super Bowl-caliber team and he’s the best quarterback in the building.”

Harrison on if the Broncos have a Super Bowl-caliber defense: “They have the talent. They have to stop pointing fingers and they have to stop freelancing. If they can get back to playing good, aggressive one-on-one coverage, then yes.”


Simms on the improved Patriots defense: “They’re getting back to what we’ve seen throughout this Patriots dynasty – bend, don’t break; we’ll hold you to field goals; Brady will go down and score a touchdown. And that’s how they win football games in New England.”

Simms on Tom Brady: “He’s better now at age 40 than when I was there in 2012. His deep ball is the biggest adjustment he’s made…he’s playing better now than ever. It’s truly unbelievable.”


Mike Florio gave a report on possible head coaching candidates for next season. The list included: Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator; Pat Shurmur, Vikings offensive coordinator; Matt Patricia, Patriots defensive coordinator; Teryl Austin, Lions defensive coordinator; Marquand Manuel, Falcons defensive coordinator; and Dave Toub, Chiefs special teams coordinator.

He added, “Jon Gruden has been talking more than usual about coming back. We’ll see if there are any takers.”


Elway on the Broncos’ four-game losing streak: “It’s very tough. And I think it’s tough for everybody in this building because everybody in this building, and really Bronco country, is used to winning. Especially when you go through the way that we’ve lost, you know, with the turnovers. So the way that we are losing, I think is that much more frustrating too. What we’ve got to learn is we’ve got to learn that everybody has got to do their job the best that they can do their job. Don’t make the big mistakes that we’re making. So we got to try to get out of that, and hopefully get back to playing the quality football that we are used to.”

Elway on New England head coach Bill Belichick being on a different stratosphere than other coaches: “He deserves to be there because I think that he is the best coach to ever coach as far as the NFL or really any coach. He is the same every single day and he does not budge. You know what the expectations are when you play for Coach Belichick, and that’s to win football games. Now, he may not do it like everybody else and be a little unorthodox at times, but he’s not afraid to be that way. And then to have a partnership with a guy like Tom Brady is not too bad either, the greatest combination of quarterback-head coach in the NFL.”

Elway on the characteristic that he admires most about New England QB Tom Brady: “His mindset and the way he plays and his competitive nature. When you see him on the football field, there is nothing that is more important to him. And that’s why I think that he will go down as the greatest of all time by the time that he gets done playing.”

Elway on what his game day is like now: “It’s a lot of anxiety. As a quarterback, I had all control inside the lines because I touched the ball every down, and I had no control outside when I was the quarterback because I wasn’t determining who I was playing because that was coming from the outside. But now I’m in charge on the outside putting players on the inside, and now they’ve got all the control on the inside so that’s why it gets tough for me. I get, ‘Oh man, I kind of wish I was inside those lines again.’”

Elway on reminiscing about his playing days: “Yeah, yeah. There are many times that I still have dreams of playing believe it or not after 19 years. It’s much tougher sitting up there in the box watching it than it is down there playing it, but I still miss it. I miss that 28-year-old body is what I miss, Not having to get hit though, that’s OK.”