Thursday, September 7th, 2023


“You want to be playing high-level football to start to show the rest of the league we’re still here. You have to try to knock us off this mountain, and we’re not leaving quietly.” – Devin McCourty on defending as Super Bowl champions

“He embraces the legacy talk. The chase of seven rings…He’s the face of the sport.” – Chris Simms on Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes

“Thirty-one years in the NFL as a player and coach, he’s easily one of my favorite guys. Easy to see why these guys love playing with him.” – Jason Garrett on Lions head coach Dan Campbell

“I believe in the Lions. Their head coach, Dan Campbell, continues to motivate these guys. I believe in Jared Goff.” – Rodney Harrison

Mike Tirico Interviews NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Dak Prescott and Dallas Cowboys Visit Daniel Jones and New York Giants in Season Debut of Sunday Night Football on Sept. 10 – Coverage Begins with Football Night in America at 7 p.m. ET, Leading into Kickoff at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock, Telemundo and Universo

STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 7, 2023 – NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2023 NFL season began tonight with a special on-site edition of Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock, leading into coverage of the NFL Kickoff Game, as the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Detroit Lions at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

Tonight’s on-site FNIA featured host Maria Taylor, former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, three-time Super Bowl Champion Devin McCourty, and former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, as well as Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison, NFL insider Mike Florio, fantasy sports industry pioneer Matthew Berry, and co-host Jac Collinsworth.

Pre-game coverage also included the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVII banner raising, an on-field sit-down interview between Mike Tirico and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and excerpts from interviews by the FNIA team. See below for the complete interviews found on the NFL on NBC YouTube channel:


Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), Melissa Stark (sideline reporter) and Terry McAulay (rules analyst) are calling tonight’s 2023 NFL Kickoff Game.


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


McCourty on what it’s like trying to defend a Super Bowl title: “That offseason was usually the hardest offseason I’ve ever been through. (Patriots head coach) Bill (Belichick) would come in, he goes, ‘Don’t wear any of the Super Bowl stuff, nobody wants to see it. Last year is over.’ And then he would crush us every single day. But it’s all for this, to be out here, the banner comes down. You want to be playing high-level football to start to show the rest of the league we’re still here, you have to try to knock us off this mountain, and we’re not leaving quietly.”

Garrett: “The distractions when you’re a championship team, they can magnify. The teams that have the best chance have great leadership at their quarterback position and at the head coach position. When I was in Dallas, Troy Aikman’s our quarterback, Jimmy Johnson’s our head coach. They kept everybody in line. I think Kansas City’s got the same thing with (Patrick) Mahomes and Andy Reid.”

Harrison: “The toughest part about repeating as champions is fighting complacency. I don’t worry about the Chiefs because Andy Reid, he’s been a head coach for 25 years and he understands in this league how difficult it is to win even if you have Patrick Mahomes as your quarterback…and I definitely don’t worry about (Mahomes) staying locked in.”

Dungy on his experience as a defending Super Bowl champion with the Steelers: “My second year with the Steelers, we were old school. Our receptionist started answering the phone and saying, ‘World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.’ We said, ‘No, we don’t do that, we’re just the Steelers. We got to go to work.’ I notice all you Patriots guys wear your rings [to McCourty], we don’t wear ours. Joe Greene said, ‘You’ve got one week, young man, to show that off, then put them away. We’ve got more to win.’ I still don’t wear my ring.”

Garrett on Chiefs head coach Andy Reid: “This is an old school football coach. You go to practice, the shirts are tucked in, fast-paced practice, these guys are running. Mahomes and Andy Reid are going to keep these guys locked in. I’m betting on the Chiefs.”

Simms on Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes: “He embraces the legacy talk. The chase of seven rings…He’s the face of the sport. Yet I feel he’s still like, ‘Eh, so what? I’m still a kid in a candy store and I’m just having fun.’ It’s very refreshing.”

McCourty on his experience playing the Chiefs in the 2018 AFC Championship Game with New England: “We thought we were playing great. We’re ahead at the half, they hadn’t scored any points. They scored 31 points in the second half. We knew that playing against Andy Reid and Mahomes, you needed a first-half game plan, and you sure better have a good second half game plan or the points will start to come.”

Simms on Mahomes’ pregame routine: “I had a chance to talk to him about a week ago about all the things he does in this warmup routine — back-peddling, side arms, all the different launching points — and his answer to me was, ‘Practice makes perfect.’ He knows he’s going to have to pull out some of these throws in the game, so he wants to get a feel of it in pregame and be at his best when that time comes.”

Florio on TE Travis Kelce’s knee injury: “There’s no structural damage in the knee. The swelling is going down, but I’m told there’s mild discomfort. It was enough to get the team and the player to decide, out of an abundance of caution, to just wait and hopefully he’ll be back next Sunday.”

Garrett on the Chiefs’ offense without Kelce: “Injury provides opportunity. When Tyreek Hill left here last year, everyone said the sky is falling. They went back, they were the best offense in football, they won the world championship. They’re going to move on, (Mahomes) can handle it.”

Dungy: “Patrick is going to have to be fantastic with this team because the supporting cast is not the same…It’s not the same team and Patrick is going to have to carry this team early.”

Florio on DT Chris Jones: “He said yesterday, ‘I’m just looking for a raise.’ Due to make $19.5 million this year. What happened last year was the Rams gave Aaron Donald, also a defensive tackle, $95 million over three years. Jones, as of Saturday, was looking for $84 million over three years, but Nick Bosa, star pass rusher of the 49ers, got a contract yesterday that pays $34 million per year. That may have changed things. Jones is in the building tonight, he has a suite, and he’s prepared to stay away from the team until Week 8…That’s the deadline for showing up and getting credit for this year and maybe becoming a free agent next year.”

Harrison on Jones: “You can’t replace a Chris Jones. He was the best defensive player in all of football and without Chris Jones, they do not win that Super Bowl. Very disappointed in the Chiefs organization because the guy went out there, he took care of business, and he deserves to get paid.”

Dungy: “He does, but I put myself in Andy Reid’s shoes and you’ve got to support your ownership, your front office. This is a popular player, a great player. You’ve got to make sure there’s no schism in the locker room.”


Harrison on the Lions: “I believe in the Lions. Their head coach, Dan Campbell, continues to motivate these guys. I believe in Jared Goff. The thing that was holding him back last year was their defense and they’re much improved on the defensive side.”

Dungy on the Lions: “I don’t believe yet. I’m a lifelong Lions fan. I was two when they won their last championship. The talent is there but they’ve got to show me.”

Garrett on Campbell: “Thirty-one years in the NFL as a player and coach, he’s easily one of my favorite guys. Easy to see why these guys love playing with him. Culture’s a big word…It’s not about what’s on the t-shirt, it’s about the team you build and him and (Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager) Brad Holmes are hip-to-hip about the kind of guys they want in this football team. They’re a reflection of Dan Campbell, and they’re fun to watch.”

McCourty on Lions QB Jared Goff: “He’s playing as good of football as he’s ever played in his career…That guy they talk about, ‘the past Jared Goff’? That’s not the present Jared Goff.”

Simms on the Lions offense vs. the Chiefs defense: “How big this (Lions) offensive line is, there’s no Chris Jones. Jared Goff thrives in play-action pass…He’ll stand in there and make some big throws down the field.”

Harrison on WR Amon-Ra St. Brown: “When I saw him, he’s a lot thicker than you would imagine. I mean, if you’re going to hit him, you better tackle him…He’s one of the top 10 receivers in this league.”

Taylor: “The Lions are in here very confident. I talked to (Lions LB) Jason Cabinda before the game and he said, ‘We’re going to catch them in a hangover.’ I don’t know if you’re going to catch Patrick Mahomes in one — that’s the guy who led the league in passing yards, won a Super Bowl MVP, a Super Bowl title, and an NFL MVP. No big deal, just a casual season for Patrick Mahomes.”


Tirico: “Season 18 for you as Commissioner. You’ve done this for a little while now.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: “I have. I don’t want to tell you when I started as an intern. It was 42 seasons ago.”

Tirico: “That’s crazy. It gets better every year, it seems. It’s really great for the Chiefs fans tonight because when they won Super Bowl LIV, the next year was COVID, so they weren’t able to have a full house for their banner night. And here are the Lions on a big stage early in the season. What a great way to kick off the season.”

Goodell: “We think it is. The Lions sort of earned this when they finished the season against Green Bay and came out and performed and beat Green Bay in Green Bay. That was really a statement game for them. We thought this was a great way to start the season off against the Super Bowl champs.”

Tirico: “For Kansas City, they have a terrific schedule this year, including a game in Germany, they’re in Frankfurt taking on Miami. I looked at the international schedule again this morning. It may be the best set of games that we’ll see in London and in Germany. Talk about how the league has continued to grow and what do you see as the next steps of the NFL in overseas play?”

Goodell: “Well, we really see football as a global sport, and we’re seeing that kind of reaction. We have five games in Europe this year. We expect to do more games in the future. We’re looking at games around the world. We believe this is our next big frontier. We want to make sure our game is shared with a global audience, and we believe every time we do, they have more and more interest in the game. They’re really sophisticated fans. You’ll see it. They love the game and the more they can get, the more they love it.”

Tirico: “Quick thought: Is there still a possibility that we could see a team permanently based overseas?”

Goodell: “I don’t rule out anything. I think it’s possible. I think the debate we always try to work on: Can you do it competitively, and do it in a way that is going to be fair to not just that team but every other team?”

Tirico: “Next question. Gambling is an issue that is in constant conversation around the league. At Churchill Downs today, the governor of Kentucky placed the first bet in that state. More states it’s legal, you can do it in some NFL stadiums. Are you comfortable with how the league is reconciling gambling as a business entity, for some in the league right now, and players, ten of whom are suspended this year for gambling? Are you comfortable with where it sits right now and trying to protect the integrity of the game?”

Goodell: “Well, Mike, it’s one of the reasons we opposed legalized sports betting, because of the risks with the integrity of the game. That’s always going to be our number one priority. When the Supreme Court overruled that, we have to be in that space. It’s actually helped us with trying to educate our fans, educate our personnel. This isn’t just about players. It affects every league employee, every club employee. It’s pretty simple: if you bet on the NFL when you’re a part of the NFL, you’ve got a problem. And that’s not what we’re going to allow to happen.”

Tirico: “We’ll continue to watch as we go through. Hey, we’ve been watching the commercials. I guess the whole league season is scripted? You want to tell us who wins tonight or should we wait until the end?”

Goodell: (Laughs) “I got it right here, Mike, but I can’t share it with you. I think it’s better when it just rolls.”


Sunday Night Football — America’s No. 1 primetime television show for an unprecedented 12 consecutive years — debuts three days later on Sunday, Sept. 10, with a pair of NFC East playoff teams as Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys visit Daniel Jones and the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. This matchup marks the series-high fifth time that the Cowboys and Giants have met in the opening NBC Sunday Night Football game. Coverage begins with Football Night in America — the most-watched studio show in sports — at 7 p.m. ET, leading into kickoff at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock, Telemundo, and Universo.