Sunday, December 4th, 2022


“I hope in your lifespan that we have the opportunity to say that there was some intentionality brought to the hiring practices in the NFL to make sure that more minority candidates had an opportunity.” – Maria Taylor to Tony Dungy about minority hiring practices in the NFL

“He’s the most impactful non-quarterback in the NFL. He’s a transformative player…He’s like (Rams DT) Aaron Donald, if not better this year.” – Jason Garrett on Cowboys LB Micah Parsons

“I thought this was the hottest team the way that defense was playing, but this quarterback situation puts a monkey wrench in it.” – Dungy on the 49ers after QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending injury

“They have a very deep and talented defensive line. There’s no weaknesses on this defense.” – Rodney Harrison on the Eagles

Peacock Sunday Night Football Final Streams EXCLUSIVELY on Peacock Following Every Sunday Night Football Game During 2022 Season

STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 4, 2022 – NBC Sports’ presentation of Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season began tonight from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with Football Night in America leading into coverage of Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys hosting Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football on NBC, Peacock and Universo.

Maria Taylor hosted FNIA from NBC Sports’ Studio 1 in Stamford, Conn. She was joined by Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy, former NFL head coach Jason Garrett, former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, fantasy sports industry pioneer Matthew Berry, and NFL Insider Mike Florio. Two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison joined co-host Jac Collinsworth at the site of the game.

In advance of tonight’s game, Colts interim head coach Jeff Saturday spoke to Dungy, who was the Colts’ head coach for seven seasons and won Super Bowl XLI. Saturday, who played for Dungy in Indianapolis at center, discussed his whirlwind hiring in Indianapolis, the response to him taking the job, what he has learned so far, and more. Click here for a link to the entire interview and see below for transcribed highlights.

Cowboys RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard spoke with NBC Sports’ Michael Smith earlier this week about their relationship and sharing the workload in Dallas. Smith joined FNIA in studio tonight to discuss his conversation with Elliott and Pollard. Click here for a link to the entire interview.

Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), Melissa Stark (sideline reporter) and Terry McAulay (rules analyst) are calling tonight’s game. Tirico also reported from the field during FNIA.


Following are highlights from tonight’s edition of Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock:


Garrett on LB Micah Parsons: “He’s the most impactful non-quarterback in the NFL. He’s a transformative player, he makes everybody on the defense and the offense way better. He’s like (Rams DT) Aaron Donald, if not better this year.”

Ezekiel Elliott to Michael Smith on being comfortable sharing the workload with Tony Pollard: “TP, his ability speaks for itself. I just truly believe that our team is better off when he’s getting his touches. He’s got to touch that football just because he’s so explosive…Last year, I had to really come around to it and it definitely was a little hard at first, but at the end of the day what’s important is the team.”

Pollard on his relationship with Elliott: “Everybody eats…It’s kind of like a life lesson. Sometimes when you feel like you should be doing something…and at the end of the day you’re not, it’s all for the greater good.”

Smith on his biggest takeaway from speaking with Elliott and Pollard: “It doesn’t matter who’s better between the two of them. They bring out the best in each other and together they make the Cowboys better.”

Harrison on Elliott and Pollard: “I like both these running backs. I love the fact they support one another, but let’s get honest, Tony Pollard should be the featured back, no question about it. Zeke can’t do the things that Tony Pollard does – take it 50, 60 yards to the house any time, line up in the backfield, in the slot and out wide as a wide receiver.”

Harrison on the rumors surrounding the Cowboys’ pursuit of free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr.: “Anytime you get the opportunity to add another playmaker and add depth to your wide receiver core, you gotta get a guy like Odell Beckham Jr. He’s a difference-maker.”


Dungy on interim head coach Jeff Saturday: “I talked to a lot of people in the building – players, staff, equipment men, everybody – they said Jeff has brought just what he brought in his playing career – toughness, physical practices, accountability and attention to detail. They’re excited about it.”

Harrison on QB Matt Ryan: “He has been a disappointment for this team. He has to come out and play aggressive, take shots down the field and send a message to the Cowboys defense that he’s not going to just check the ball down.”


Tirico on speaking with Jerry Jones about the recent Washington Post article and minority head coaches: “We spoke with Jerry Jones when he arrived here at the stadium this afternoon about this…and he told us about the paper he wrote when he was in college about this entire picture and the times that they were in Little Rock. Talking about how Jerry grew up in a neighborhood that had more African Americans in Little Rock and what he was exposed to during his time. He told us, then and now, he has a deep sensitivity to it and understands the criticism that comes with the conversation.”

Taylor: “It started to center around minority hiring, on the record of both Jerry Jones and the NFL at large. There are still 13 teams that have never hired a minority or a Black coach and the conversation is really about how do you remove some of those hurdles, continue to evolve the role of head coaching? Jerry Jones has spoken to it – there is still some work to do. What does that work look like?”

Dungy: “First of all, I’m going to say that I’m not going to judge Jerry Jones by a 65-year-old picture. I want to judge him by what he’s done in the National Football League and Jerry has been a pioneer in a lot of ways. He’s changed the face of the NFL from a business standpoint, marketing. He’s had an opportunity to change the face of minority hiring and he has not done that. That’s the one criticism I would have.”

Garrett: “One of the comments that Jerry made in answering these questions was sometimes you hire people that you know, and that happens in all walks of life. It certainly happens in football. This is a little bit tricky for me because I played for him for eight years, I coached for him for 14 years, I’m obviously not a minority, and he hired me because he knew me. But coach (Dungy), like when you were hired by coach (Chuck) Noll in Pittsburgh, part of knowing someone is hopefully you made a positive impression over that time. The questions is, what do we do from here? And the idea is we have to somehow get minority candidates who are certainly qualified for these positions, an opportunity to be in front and get to know these owners and have a chance to make a positive impression. There are a lot of ways the NFL has been trying to do that – expand the pipeline at lower levels, have opportunities for minorities to go to the owner’s meetings and talk to these guys, the Rooney Rule. I say double down on the Rooney Rule. Give these guys opportunities to get in front of owners and make a positive impression to get these opportunities to be head coaches.”

Dungy: “And Jerry made a comment about who you know, and that is life in the NFL, ok? I would say this, I got hired my first job in the NFL because my coach knew me, not because I had experience. I had never coached before. Chuck Noll hired me. When I became a head coach, I hired people that I knew, some people that I knew, so that happens, and I think what we have to do is work on how do we get other people known?”

Garrett: “The process to broaden the candidate pool to have these conversations, the NFL started that. I think we need to do more of it. But the other piece of this thing is the spirit – the intentionality of this for these owners. They have to say, ok, let’s slow down the hiring process after the season ends and give us the opportunity to get to know them with the intention of trying to open up the pool to all the candidates to give them a chance to have one of these 32 jobs.”

Dungy: “That’s really important, and it’s not just the owners. Yes, they have a big part in it, but general managers, head coaches. Dennis Green helped me tremendously when I was an assistant coach. He involved me in personnel meetings and things that I wouldn’t necessarily have to have been involved in as just a defensive coordinator, but he wanted me to get a piece of that. And I think we can do that – I did that – intentionally to try to help people be known a little bit more in those circles.”

Taylor: “I think that the big difference is Jerry Jones saying ‘who you know’ versus Xs and Os, and I talked to some young Black assistants that really hope to be in that hiring candidate pool one day. They feel as though maybe they don’t know the right people or the network looks exactly the same or that they’re uncomfortable when they sit down in front of these hiring panels and maybe they’re made up of all white men. So, it’s not just who you know, it’s also who relates to you in the room that has the opportunity to make that decision. I think we’re at a point where we want the head coaching role to evolve in the NFL in the same way as we watched the quarterback role, because my friend here (Dungy) was not allowed to play quarterback and he was an outstanding collegiate one, but then he’s grown into being the first Black head coach of a Super Bowl-winning team and now I hope in your lifespan that we have the opportunity to say that there was some intentionality brought to the hiring practices in the NFL to make sure that more minority candidates had an opportunity.”


Dungy on QB Jalen Hurts: “People are trying to take away his runs and he showed today that he can throw from the pocket and make them pay.”

Simms on the Hurts-A.J. Brown connection: “It’s an unstoppable combination.”

Harrison on Philadelphia’s defense: “They did a great job holding Derrick Henry to 30 yards…They have a very deep and talented defensive line. There’s no weaknesses on this defense.”


Garrett: “They just continue to find ways to win ballgames…They do what teams need to do in crunch time.”


Simms on RB Samaje Perine and the Bengals’ offense: “He’s kind of the third guy after (Ja’Marr) Chase and (Tee) Higgins, they find ways to get him the ball. Whenever he’s in trouble in the pocket, (Joe) Burrow is always looking for (No.) 34…We’re seeing the Bengals start to get a run game here as of late. You can’t just play pass and stop Ja’Marr Chase…This Cincinnati Bengals football team has got it going in a big-time way.”

Dungy: “I have to give a shoutout to that offensive line. Early in the year we kept talking about how much Joe Burrow was getting hit, Kansas City could not get any pressure with just a four-man rush. They really did a great job.”


Taylor on rookie QB Brock Purdy: “He was Mr. Irrelevant in this year’s draft, but he’s totally relevant now.”

Simms on Purdy: “I can’t get over the job that Brock Purdy did. Being thrown in this situation against the Miami Dolphins, he played phenomenal.”

Garrett on Purdy: “He was pretty poised and composed today. He’s going to play in a really good environment. That defense will show up, that run game will show up.”

Florio on QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury: “Kyle Shanahan told reporters after the game that the (left) foot is broken and Garoppolo is expected to miss the rest of the year. So they’ve got Brock Purdy, Jacob Eason will be the backup. They may look to add someone else for the stretch run.”

Simms on the 49ers’ defense: “It’s as good as it gets in football.”

Dungy: “I thought this was the hottest team the way that defense was playing, but this quarterback situation puts a monkey wrench in it.”


Simms on QB Deshaun Watson’s performance: “A guy (who) hasn’t played quarterback in 700 days. I mean the position is hard as it is. If you miss two weeks, you’re going to be rusty let alone two years.”

Dungy: “If anybody thought Deshaun was going to come back and just light it up all day, you’re wrong. You can’t do that.”

Garrett: “He did make some good throws, but he was late with throws, he was inaccurate with throws. Didn’t feel like he was in rhythm, but he did make some splash plays throughout this ballgame.”

Florio on the return of QB Deshaun Watson: “Throughout the game, he was booed every time he touched the ball. After the game, he met with reporters and was asked if he had any remorse for the behaviors that resulted in that 11-game suspension. He declined to answer citing legal and clinical advice. He does have two civil lawsuits still pending, he settled more than 20, and the existence of civil lawsuits hasn’t stopped him in the past from talking. Back in August on the day he agreed to the suspension, he told reporters he maintains his innocence and he’s done nothing since then to change that position, at least publicly.”


Florio on QB Lamar Jackson’s injury: “Lamar Jackson suffered a left knee injury early in the game, left and didn’t return. After the game, coach John Harbaugh said that it’s not season-ending, it’s a matter of days-to-weeks. I’m told they really don’t know what ligaments or other parts of the knee are involved. They’re waiting until tomorrow for the MRI.”

Simms on QB Tyler Huntley: “He was extremely efficient, made a lot of nice reads and some plays with his legs. Gutsy win for the Ravens and Tyler Huntley.”


Simms on QB Taylor Heinicke: “It just seems like he kind of played average all game long and now it’s late in the fourth quarter and he starts making the damnedest plays you’ve seen. He was phenomenal down the stretch…He’s a scrapper, man. He’s like Jason Garrett back in his day.”


Simms on QB Daniel Jones: “His legs are a force. His ability in the quarterback-designed run (game), his ability to scramble and he was extremely accurate throwing the football today.”


Simms on rookie WR Christian Watson: “Christian Watson is one of the stars of the NFL right now, and the go-to target for Aaron Rodgers. Another phenomenal game. He can fly.”


Garrett: “A lot more than just biting kneecaps in Detroit. (Jared) Goff’s on fire.”


Simms on QB Geno Smith: “Geno’s cooking. I’m just saying he’s cooking, that’s all (laughs). He’s hot.”


Click here to watch the full interview, portions of which aired in tonight’s FNIA. Following are highlights of the FULL interview:

On taking the Colts’ interim head coach job

“Quite a whirlwind. I still think it’s tough for me to catch my breath. I have enjoyed it thoroughly, it’s been a ton of fun, but again, just unexpected, and so trying to catch up and figure it out on the fly. It’s had challenges, some of them I have thoroughly enjoyed and some of them have been a little different than I expected.”

On discussing the job offer with his wife, Karen, and ultimately accepting it

“She said, ‘Are you crazy? (laughs) Are you sure, are you crazy?’ … I think this is what it ultimately boiled down to (for) me was I just care about this organization. I don’t think people can grasp how much you care about something that you’ve been in. You know, my adulthood was forged here in this building…It was our family away from our family for so long and so knowing everybody and just the conviction I felt that if I can go help in any way, that’s what I felt strongly about. I told the guys when I got here, it’s because I care…My life was changed because of the Indianapolis Colts, and so to repay that in any way…that was the final decision-maker.”

On what he thought he could bring to the team

“Accountability. Because I was consulting with them…I kind of knew what was going on. And I just knew my personality, from an energy perspective, from an accountability perspective. Probably my greatest concern was the coaches and how would they respond to this? So, I felt pretty strongly I could get the players to buy in because I’ve lived that life and I know how important it is. What I didn’t know was the side that you (Dungy) lived on, from your (coaching) life.”

On what he told the coaches in his first meeting

“I hope you all understand, I’m here to empower you…I am in no way the smartest coach, I don’t pretend to know things I don’t know. I will ask you for help, I will ask you for your opinion and I have no problem if you look at me and go, ‘Hey, this is not right or I see this a different way.’ And I take this from you, that doesn’t mean I’m going to change my opinion (laughs), right? Because I learned that from you (Dungy), we had a lot of discussions where you would listen to me and you’d shake your head and go, ‘I understand, I respect your thoughts. I’m not going to do it that way.’”

On his leadership with the players and coaches

“I made sure that everybody felt comfortable that we’re in this together and that this is a team. I wholeheartedly believe that my job is to support them from a day-to-day perspective, from an organizational perspective, that is my job — to create and cast vision, direction, and then hold the guys accountable as much as I can to make sure they’re doing what the coaches are asking them to do.”

On evaluating players and his expectations for this team

“You and I both know, when you get competition going, enthusiasm and energy follow quickly. I’m not a guy who is all about scripted looks. I want to put people in the most uncomfortable positions they can be in. Whether it was you or Jim Caldwell, I’ve watched those processes work, and my conversation to all of them, to coaches and players, is this process matters. It’s not magical, it’s not going to happen tomorrow, right? From an expectations perspective, I have very realistic expectations. There is a lot of work to be done, but the process matters…It’s simple, but it ain’t easy. That’s really the conviction that I have for what I’m doing.”

On his biggest surprise since taking the job

“Distractions. And when I say that, I say that as kindly as possible, but these things (laughs), right? It’s all of this, it’s all of the extra that you’re asked to do that take you out of meetings. And then probably the biggest thing that I’ve had to learn – and I was told this by (Colts GM Chris) Ballard, Mike Tannenbaum said this to me, a lot of guys, Bill Polian – they said the expectations that you have from your players, being able to breathe that into your players because that’s not the norm. So, if you have expectations that these guys are going to do it this way, you have to teach them and train them because it’s not second nature.”


Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL post-game show produced by NBC Sports, streams exclusively on Peacock following every Sunday Night Football game during the 2022 season. The show is hosted by NBC Sports commentators Kathryn Tappen and Chris Simms, who provide instant reactions to each Sunday game along with highlights and interviews. Football Night in America co-host Jac Collinsworth and analyst Rodney Harrison also provide recaps and insights into the day’s biggest moments from the site of each week’s SNF game. NFL Insider Mike Florio provides injury and news updates. Matthew Berry provides fantasy football analysis and an early look at the fantasy waiver wire.

Football Night in America