FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, January 21st, 2024
NOTES & QUOTES FROM DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS EDITION OF FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA ON NBC AND PEACOCK
“He told me on the field that he’s got that quote taped in his locker right now.” – Tony Dungy on Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield’s response to Lions S C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s criticism
“They’ve got that Detroit ‘313’ grit. They’re a reflection of their coach and they play the right way.” – Jason Garrett on the Lions
“Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is too good and Jared Goff is too smart. I would pull the okey-doke and throw a curveball – don’t blitz and don’t be over-aggressive.” – Chris Simms on how Buccaneers defense should approach the Lions
STAMFORD, Conn. – January 21, 2024 – NBC Sports began its coverage of the NFL Divisional Playoffs today with a special on-site edition of Football Night in America leading into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions matchup from Ford Field in Detroit, Mich., on NBC, Peacock and Universo.
Ahmed Fareed hosted FNIA on-site at Ford Field alongside former NFL head coach Jason Garrett, three-time Super Bowl champion Devin McCourty, former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, fantasy sports industry pioneer Matthew Berry and NFL Insider Mike Florio.
Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison and co-host Jac Collinsworth also provided on-site commentary from Detroit.
Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), Melissa Stark (sideline reporter), Kaylee Hartung (sideline reporter) and Terry McAulay (rules analyst) will have the call for Rams-Lions tonight on NBC and Peacock.
Pre-game coverage included:
- Mike Tirico’s interview with Lions DE and Detroit native Aidan Hutchinson;
- Rodney Harrison’s interview with Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield, and;
- Tony Dungy’s visits to Karl’s Barber Shop in Detroit and Foster’s Barber Shop in Tampa to discuss both teams.
Following are highlights from today’s Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock:
Garrett: “Tampa Bay matches up well with Detroit. They stop the run, they pressure the quarterback, and they have big-time receivers outside. This place is about to explode. It’s a tough environment to come into, but they match up well against this Lions team.”
Simms: “(Buccaneers head coach) Todd Bowles is a blitzer…if I’m him in this one, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is too good and Jared Goff is too smart, I would pull the okey-doke and throw a curveball – don’t blitz and don’t be over-aggressive.”
McCourty: “When we played Jared Goff in Super Bowl LIII, we limited the amount of times that we blitzed because we believed Goff would figure it out…so Tampa may be able to sprinkle the blitz in, but do it at the right time.”
McCourty on the atmosphere at Ford Field: “It was electric last week and it’s going to be important for Detroit. Last week you had (Matthew) Stafford coming back and it was easy to bring that energy. They need to refuel that tank and be ready to go today.”
Garrett: “Head coach Dan Campbell has built the kind of team he wants to coach…smart, tough, disciplined and they fight. They’ve got that Detroit ‘313’ grit. They’re a reflection of their coach and they play the right way.”
Simms: “Jared Goff is the man of the hour. You think the chip is off of his shoulder because he beat the Rams? No, it’s not. He’s as chippy as ever and for a group that has not been in the playoffs, his leadership is crucial in this game.”
Harrison: “General Manager Brad Holmes brought in a lot of talent. You look at the offensive line, Jahmyr Gibbs, Amon-Ra St. Brown, they have legitimate talent. On the defensive side of the ball, you have Aidan Hutchinson and Brian Branch – these guys are bona fide great players.”
Simms on Hutchinson: “He’s the one guy that we look at and say, ‘he can change the game.’ He’s the one blue-chip, superstar player on the Detroit front seven.”
Simms: “I had a chance to talk to Baker Mayfield during the pre-game. One thing he said regarding the crowd noise is that they’re going to be a little conservative early and try to limit the negative plays early on.”
Dungy on Mayfield responding to Lions safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s comments that the Buccaneers would be better if they had a starting quarterback: “(Rodney) asked him if he took that personally – he told me on the field that he’s got that quote taped in his locker right now.”
Harrison on Baker Mayfield: “Most guys lose confidence and are too prideful to admit that…this is a guy who is not afraid to show his vulnerabilities, and that’s a big reason why his teammates trust and believe in him…Baker doesn’t carry himself like a superstar quarterback. He carries himself like an offensive lineman. He just wants to be one of the guys.”
Harrison: “I’m excited to see Antoine Winfield Jr. today. I thought he was the best safety in the NFL this year. Over 120 tackles, six sacks and he led his team with three interceptions. Every week, I’m seeing him do something special on the football field.”
McCourty on Winfield Jr.: “It’s disrespectful that he’s not a Pro Bowler this year.”
Hutchinson on playing high school, collegiately and professionally where he grew up: “It’s all about 20 minutes away from each other, a little triangle. I think about it every day. I pass the old exit I used to take to go to my high school…it’s so surreal.”
Hutchinson on playing for his childhood team: “Growing up with the ‘same old Lions’ phrase – we’re breaking that phrase and creating new phrases. A lot of the little kids growing up are seeing these Lions and can grow up with this and we will have for years.”
Mayfield on his career to this point: “There were definitely times where I lost confidence, where I had to take a step back, look in the mirror and think about, ‘Am I doing something wrong here? What can I do to fix some things?’”
Mayfield on his time in Tampa: “This is definitely the most comfortable I’ve ever been. Part of that comes with the experience and learning the lessons I’ve had to go through along the way.”
Mayfield on Lions safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s comments that the Buccaneers would be better if they had a starting quarterback: “Me having ‘little man syndrome,’ yeah I take that a little personal (laughs). But it’s a competitive sport and the back and forth is always fun – you can’t get too caught up in that.”
— Football Night in America —