Sunday, November 26th, 2017


“If they can stay healthy, no one in the NFC can beat these guys.” – Rodney Harrison on the Eagles

 “I don’t know what kind of rabbit’s foot this guy has, but he has been absolutely tearing it up and killing it in the red zone like nobody we’ve seen his age.” – Cris Collinsworth on Eagles QB Carson Wentz

“I don’t like this. We’re micromanaging these catches. That’s a catch to me.” – Tony Dungy on the reversal of Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ touchdown catch

“When things are going great, he’s dancing, he’s partying. But as soon as he hits a little adversity, he pouts. The game is on the line — hustle, get back, you are the captain of this team.” – Harrison on Chiefs TE Travis Kelce

STAMFORD, Conn. – Nov. 26, 2017 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Week 12 Sunday Night Football matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Mike Tirico opened the show live from inside Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa. He was joined on site by the Sunday Night Football team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya, as well as Chris Simms 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. Kathryn Tappen reported from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on the Saints-Rams game.

Football Night included Dungy’s interview with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and Tafoya’s interview with Steelers rookie RB James Connor.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:


Tirico: “Mike Tomlin makes you smile. He gives you more quotes than anyone, but he also gives you consistency and stability, and that is what this Steeler team is really living with right now.”

Michaels: “I think about that every time I come to Pittsburgh. It is about how stable this franchise has been…There’s nobody that we love to have meetings with more than Mike Tomlin…If I had to draft a debate team, he’s my number one pick.”

Tirico: “I’d be with you. I’d try to trade up.” (laughs)

Tirico on Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster being inactive: “No JuJu means no JuJu against Ha Ha (Clinton-Dix).”

Harrison on Tomlin looking ahead to their game with the Patriots: “Being around coach Belichick — and being so focused on that one game at a time — that actually sounds really weird because you do not seem like you are giving your opponent the respect that it deserves when you are sitting back and you are thinking about the Patriots three weeks from now.”

Dungy: “Let me clue you in on something. When I was coaching, no matter who we played, I was always thinking about you guys (the Patriots) so that doesn’t surprise me that Mike Tomlin would be. I do not think this team is going to overlook them (the Packers) at all.”


Collinsworth: “Brett Hundley is a guy that has flashed some good plays. He’s even had a good game. But it doesn’t come consistently enough, you wouldn’t think, to go on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers and knock them off.”

Dungy on Hundley: “Their coaches have to help them tonight. Some of these West Coast offensive coordinators think, ‘Hey, we have got this great system, we have to run every play that we have in our arsenal.’ Do the things that he does well and they will have a chance tonight.”

Patrick: “Is Aaron Rogers that valuable? When he’s gone, they’re an average team?”

Harrison: “Yes he is.”


Collinsworth on Carson Wentz: “I don’t know what kind of rabbit’s foot this guy has, but he has been absolutely tearing it up and killing it in the red zone like nobody we’ve seen his age.”

Harrison: “When they’re on top of their game…they don’t have any weaknesses. It’s all about (overcoming) complacency. If they can stay healthy, no one in the NFC can beat these guys.”


Patrick: “I think that what gets lost with the Rams is their defense. We keep talking about what they have done offensively, and Jared Goff’s development.”

Harrison: “Think about the Denver Broncos, their total collapse on defense. It’s because of (the departure of) Wade Phillips…”

Dungy: “Wade Phillips has some players here. This front seven, if you play them in L.A., you are not going to like that. If they can get home games in the playoffs, nobody is going to want to play them.”


Dungy on if he’d make a change at quarterback: “I would not. Alex Smith did not play well today, but he is not the major problem. There are a lot of things wrong with this team.”

Harrison: “They’re still in first place, and Alex Smith is a veteran. You would not put a rookie in this situation.”

Patrick: “This is an offense that has scored 36 points combined in the last three weeks. We thought they were the second coming of the Oregon offense at the beginning of the year.”

Dungy: “And now they’re out of sync. It’s fundamentals.”

Harrison on Travis Kelce, who did not run after the defender following an interception at the end of the game: “He’s the captain of this team, and this is just absolute terrible effort. When things are going great, he’s dancing, he’s partying. But as soon as he hits a little adversity, he pouts. The game is on the line — hustle, get back, you are the captain of this team. If I’m in that locker room, I’d would go to him and say, ‘If you’re going to be captain of the team, you have to be able to lead, and you lead with effort.’ That’s not good enough…Remember last week when I said Kansas City was not playing with passion, that’s exactly what I was talking about.”


Harrison on E.J. Gaines’ unnecessary roughness call: “This was absolutely one of the worst calls I have seen.”

Dungy: “Wow. I do not know how you can make that call.”


Harrison on the critical moments of the game: “I just don’t trust Blake Bortles.”

Dungy: “Can Blake Bortles win a game for you when your defense can’t dominate?”

Harrison: “I don’t believe he can do it.”


Patrick: “We’ve seen this formula. It’s ugly, but they win…But they cannot run. San Francisco is the worst run defense and Seattle had 90 yards against a team that gives up 133.”

Harrison: “It is just too many injuries to overcome on the Seattle Seahawks’ side.”

Dungy: “I agree. I do not see them being able to withstand against those great teams. They cannot run the football, and they have got to get Kam Chancellor back on defense.”


Dungy: “We do have to credit Steve Sarkisian now. We did not see this. We were in New England waiting to see this — the creativity, the aggressiveness. His players like to play this way. I think we are just seeing him learning his players now.”

Harrison on Julio Jones: “He proved today that he is the best receiver in the league.”


Harrison on who can win the AFC West: “Philip Rivers is the best quarterback in the division. I like the Chargers. Easy schedule as well.”


Dungy on reversal of Austin Seferian-Jenkins catch initially ruled a TD: “I don’t like this. We’re micromanaging these catches. That’s a catch to me.”

Harrison: “That’s not a catch?”


Florio: “If the Raiders don’t rise up and get a playoff berth, Jack Del Rio could be in serious trouble.”


Florio: “I’m told that in order to get any legitimate, in-demand candidates for any jobs there, they are going to have to clean house once again. They did it two years ago. If they want people who have options elsewhere, to lure them to Cleveland, it is going to have to be a clean sweep again — everyone out and start over. We will see if they are willing to do that.”


Tomlin on what he thought when Ben Roethlisberger told him he was considering retirement: “I was thinking that I hope he doesn’t. [Laughs] We’ve had these conversations, you know, when your quarterback gets into his mid-30s. We go to dinner every year at the end of the year, so I called to check on our dinner plans. We’re going to eat…and by the way.”

Tomlin on whether he had to do anything to reassure the team after Le’Veon Bell didn’t come into camp: “No. And, sometimes your team doesn’t need to be reassured. Just do your job. That’s probably the mentality that I had regarding that.”

Tomlin on Antonio Brown throwing a cooler during a game and Martavis Bryant’s comment on Twitter: “See, I played wide receiver. It’s probably one of the few jobs in all of professional sport where you’re so dependent on others for you to have an opportunity to impact the game. I probably have a little bit more patience for some of that than most. It allows me to kind of navigate and not get distracted, and see those guys for what they really are, which is a hard working team that can get off course every now and then.”

Dungy: “What do you do to bring them back on course?”

Tomlin: “Give them the truth. Often times when confronted with the truth of how they are behaving and how it negatively impacts us, they’re reasonable men.”

Tomlin on how he manages to be honest during his press conferences: “I try to get a couple things done. I want to do my professional due diligence and answer questions, but I also want to talk to the football team.”

Dungy: “So you use that press conference to talk to the team?”

Tomlin: “No question. And that’s probably my primary function.”

Tomlin on how good his team is: “I have a lot of optimism. I think it’s a good mix of guys. I think that mix and their willingness just to share their experiences lends itself in a very positive way.”

Dungy: “How good can they be?”

Tomlin: “Oh, we can win it all. We should win it all. I sense that about the group. In terms of talent, in terms of having enough competition, depth, I think we check all those boxes. But, checking the boxes doesn’t run the race.”

Tomlin on how he keeps from focusing on their game against New England in December: “Man, I’m going to embrace the elephant in the room, it’s going to be fireworks. It’s probably going to be part one, and that’s going to be a big game. But probably, if we’re both doing what we’re supposed to do, the second one is really going to be big. And what happens in the first is going to set up the second one, and determine the location in the second one.”


Conner on being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma: “You think you’re healthy and you hear about someone having cancer, and you say a prayer for them and you go about your day. But, when it’s with you, it never leaves. It was tough. It was heavy on me. I really didn’t expect it. I wasn’t scared.”

Conner on how he wasn’t afraid of his diagnosis: “My faith, the way I was raised with my brothers, Glen, Richard and Michael. They raised me to not be scared of anything, and think that they’re not scared of anything. They built me for it.”

Conner on if there is anything he’s better at since the treatment and training: “The way I think, that definitely helped me. I’ve been in a dark place before. You start thinking things, and you learn how to control your mind and see how you can get that winning edge. I believe my mind definitely got sharper throughout this process.”

Conner on how he came out of the dark moments: “With time. Prayer and time.”

Conner on if there is anything he can’t do that he could before the cancer: “No, not at all. I’m good, I’m back 100%. No limit.”

Conner on going through everything and ending up in the NFL: “Everything happened so fast. I’m thankful for everything, and if I could go back, I wouldn’t change anything. A lot of ups and downs like a roller coaster, but I always just focus on the positive.”

Tafoya: “You would not change having to go through cancer and chemotherapy and all of that?”

Conner: “No, not at all. It made me so grateful, and appreciative of everything. It’s like a movie, almost, the way everything played out. So, no, I wouldn’t change nothing. Everything was meant to be, and I’m a Pittsburgh Steeler, so, I’m happy.”