“Absolutely he is out from under the shadow and by the time it is all said and done, Eli will reign way bigger than Peyton.” – Michael Irvin on Giants QB Eli Manning
“There is no emerging from Peyton’s shadow. We are having this conversation because No. 18 didn’t play…[Peyton’s] always going to be with Aaron [Rodgers], Drew [Brees] and [Tom] Brady, and we’d be talking about the league’s MVP.” – Marshall Faulk on Giants QB Eli Manning
“What do they say in politics: ‘in the primaries you run to the extreme of the party, but to win the general election you have to run to the middle.’ It’s the same thing in football. You can play to the extremes during the season…But when I get to the playoffs, I have to be a complete team.” – Brian Billick on teams that have success in the playoffs
“I’m not into ranking quarterbacks.” – Giants QB Eli Manning on what he would say if asked again if he was an elite QB
“You’re not going to fool these guys…It’s one of those games where we have to be at our very best.” – Patriots QB Tom Brady on beating the Ravens
La Canfora & Lombardi on Colts’ head-coaching search
NFL GameDay Morning is the FIRST pregame show on the air Sunday mornings at 9:00 AM ET, taking viewers straight up to kickoff. Today’s special six-hour Championship edition of NFL GDM features host Rich Eisen, analysts Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp, Marshall Faulk, Steve Mariucci and Kurt Warner to bring fans the latest news, injury reports, pregame analysis and game previews.
Today, they were joined by former Super Bowl-winners Deion Sanders, Willie McGinest, Brian Billick and Rod Woodson to break down key matchups and preview what is to come in both games on a second set.
‘Sunday Sitdown’ — Patriots QB Tom Brady 1-on-1 Interview with Michael Lombardi
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sat down with NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi for a 1-on-1 interview on NFL GameDay Morning’s ‘Sunday Sitdown:’
On what makes this AFC Championship Game different from the other five he has played in:
“I certainly don’t think you take for granted being in this game because it’s a tough game to get to. Every year that you grow in this league, you realize the challenge it is to win consistently. This is when you really need to be at your best.”
On if the high-scoring offenses puts pressure on the team to score every time they have the ball:
“I wouldn’t say pressure; Coach [Bill] Belichick always says do your job. He says to the offense I’m not putting you out there to punt, we’re not going to run three plays and say, ‘Great job guys, we ran our three plays and now Zoltan [Mesko] is kicking the ball down the field.’ No you’re going out there to score and you’re going to score touchdowns. That’s the attitude we have: when we go out there, we’re going to try to score. We know the defense is going to try to stop us and every week it’s a different scheme; it’s ‘This is what we have to do: we have to get to Brady, we have to jam the receiver, we have to get up in their face.’ OK, we’re going to have our gameplan changes too and we’re going to see if you can stop us. That’s why we go out there and play.”
On facing the Baltimore Ravens defense:
“You just have to be always aware of where [Ed Reed] is at. That goes for this entire defense: you can’t fall asleep for one play against these guys. Whether it’s [Terrell] Suggs on the edge rushing the passer, whether it’s Ray [Lewis] making a huge game-changing play, Haloti Ngata is a phenomenal player, Jarret Johnson is a great player, Lardarius Webb has great ball-skills and can intercept the ball at any time. You can’t be sloppy with this team.”
On if this is different from playing Baltimore in October:
“You want to say no, but it sure is different. Everything in your life you’re putting off this week. It doesn’t matter what it is; you go to bed thinking about the game, you wake up in the night thinking about the game, the drive to the stadium you’re thinking about the game, my drive home I’m thinking about the game. There is not just 10 seconds of the day where playing this game is not the right in the forefront of my mind.”
On what the Patriots will have to do to beat the Ravens:
“I wish it was that easy, that there was one thing. We have to play our best 60 minutes of football, and like I said you can’t fall asleep for one play. They have too many playmakers, they’re too experienced. You’re not going to fool these guys; you have to go out and you have to execute…It’s one of those games where we have to be at our very best.”
To view Lombardi’s entire interview with Brady, visit:
‘Sunday Sitdown’ — Giants QB Eli Manning 1-on-1 Interview with Melissa Stark:
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning sat down with NFL Network’s Melissa Stark for a 1-on-1 interview on NFL GameDay Morning’s ‘Sunday Sitdown:’
On what he attributes the team’s late-season surge to:
“It’s just guys sticking together, not having doubts, not getting worried. When the game is on the line and when it’s crunch time, we start playing our best football. We had games all season either the defense would play really well and the offense was a little off. Or the offense was great and the defense was a little off. We finally got guys back healthy, everybody was practicing all week and then you’d go into games and that’s when we started to play our best football on both sides of the ball.”
On setting an NFL record with 15 fourth-quarter touchdowns:
“Those are the situations you want to be in during the game: it’s the fourth quarter, the ball is in your hands and you have to go score a touchdown or you have to make a play. The thing about that record, it’s kind of a made-up record; you have to be down in a lot of games to get to it, so it’s not the situation you always want to be in. When we needed it, we’ve stepped up and guys have gotten open. It makes my job a lot easier – I just have to hit the open guy.”
On if he has a fiery persona:
“There is one. I’m very competitive. I want to win, I want to do well. It is fiery. I don’t get too high after throwing a touchdown; I feel that’s my job, that’s what I’m supposed to do. After bad plays, I get down but I’m not a screamer and yeller. If I’m mad at myself, I’ll be disappointed in myself but it’s about keeping your head up high, it’s about getting ready for that next series or that next play to be at your best.”
On if he regrets saying he’s an elite quarterback:
“No, I don’t regret. I was asked a question, I thought I had to stand up and say I think I’m a good player, I think I can win games for the Giants, I think I can play at a high level in this game. My dad, he did talk to me and say you might want to make a remark to retract the statement. I said I’m not going to retract anything; I don’t think I answered the question incorrectly. I thought I gave an honest answer and if people want to make a big deal about it, so be it.”
On what he would say if he were asked the same question today:
“I’d say I’m not into ranking quarterbacks.”
On if his relationship with his brother Peyton has changed with him being injured:
“It hasn’t changed. We still talk about the same as we do the other seasons. We talk about what’s going on, how practice is going and things like that…It’s never been a help relationship. It’s having someone to talk to. I have a brother who knows what it’s like to stand in the pocket and you have to make decision. There are guys that trying to hit you and run at you, and you have to make certain throws…Like a therapist: sometimes you have to get some things off your chest, someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through.”
To view Stark’s entire interview with Manning, visit:
Quotes from NFL GameDay Morning:
“Peyton has done a wonderful job, but he’s done it in Indy. Eli is doing what he’s doing in New York, so we will relive Eli’s success and his victories and his glory way more than we will ever relive Peyton’s. So absolutely he is out from under the shadow and by the time it is all said and done, Eli will reign way bigger than Peyton.” – Michael Irvin on New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning
“There is no emerging from Peyton’s shadow. We are having this conversation because No. 18 didn’t play…[Peyton’s] always going to be with Aaron [Rodgers], Drew [Brees] and [Tom] Brady, and we’d be talking about the league’s MVP. That’s what we would be talking about, and Eli would be having a good year. That’s it. There is no way to emerge from Peyton’s shadow.” – Marshall Faulk New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning
“What do they say in politics: ‘in the primaries you run to the extreme of the party, but to win the general election you have to run to the middle.’ It’s the same thing in football. You can play to the extremes during the season; I can have a dominant run, a dominant pass – I can win some games to get into the playoffs. But when I get to the playoffs, I have to be a complete team and that’s what we’re seeing. A more complete team says you have to play better defense.” – Brian Billick on teams that have success in the playoffs
“We heard his resume – more wins than anybody in his four seasons, playoffs every year, won a playoff game every single season. But for me, he gets more scrutiny because Ed Reed hasn’t won a championship, because Ray Lewis is about at the end of his career and he needs to win another championship. So now, he has to grow up.” – Kurt Warner on the criticism Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco receives
“This year when this is all said and done, we’re going to say he’s one or two kind of quarterbacks if he wins it all: is he Trent Dilfer, or is he Ben Roethlisberger? Guys that played with teams that had great defenses, and either you emerge from the shadows and become a great passer, or you become a guy that we continue to call a game manager.” – Marshall Faulk on Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco
“I called him and he texted me back; that means I don’t want to talk to you. [He texted] ‘We good.’ You’re dead wrong Ed, you can’t say that about your quarterback. Your quarterback is like your little sister – you can’t say everything to him.” – Warren Sapp on Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed’s comments about quarterback Joe Flacco
“If you watch what they did against the Saints, it seemed like that was their championship game, that was their Super Bowl.” – Willie McGinest on the San Francisco 49ers following their win over the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round
“The only way they can stay away from a letdown is a healthy dose of Frank Gore and Vernon Davis because you can’t put this onus on Alex Smith.” – Deion Sanders on the San Francisco 49ers facing the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game
“This defense is better than we give them credit for, and today against the Baltimore Ravens they will show up.” – Steve Mariucci on the New England Patriots defense
“When you take Ray Rice out of the football game and insert Ricky Williams, the defense will relax. And when they relax, they’re not relaxing for the normal backup; they’re relaxing for a 10,000 yard rusher, a guy who has carried the ball so many times in this league. When that defense for the Patriots relaxes, Ricky Williams can really take advantage of that defense.” – Marshall Faulk on Baltimore Ravens backup running back Ricky Williams
“They played in eight games that were decided by eight points. They had to come back in the end, they got beat on a last-second drive by the Giants but they faced different situations. To me, that is what the playoffs are all about: you want to know what you have.” – Kurt Warner on the New England Patriots’ regular season schedule
“When we [won the Super Bowl in 2000], you could manage a championship; Trent Dilfer, Tom Brady’s first Super Bowl and even Brad Johnson in Tampa Bay. In today’s game, as good as we were, you can’t manage a championship.” – Brian Billick on the difference in the NFL today from 2000
“What you have to do with Tom Brady and most great quarterbacks is you have to make them think after they touch the football, not prior to. If he understands where they’re at already, it’s too late. It’s over…What Ed [Reed] needs to do is what he does: show one thing and give him something else.” – Rod Woodson on the Baltimore Ravens defense against New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
‘Front Office View’ with Michael Lombardi
On the Baltimore Ravens defense against the New England Patriots:
This whole game is going to be third down; the Patriots force you to play a nickel defense and they’re going to try to attack the coverages, especially if the Ravens try to play a lot of man-to-man, which essentially you have to do to get off the field against the Patriots. If you play zone, Tom Brady is going to pick you apart. What I think the Ravens will do is because they can’t take their leader [Ray Lewis] off of the field is they’ll blitz him or they’ll play him in the middle of the field as a rat type of player where he’ll cut off to a different receiver coming underneath. I don’t think they’ll isolate him in man-to-man because that would be really difficult for him to do especially against Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.
On Joe Philbin named the Miami Dolphins head coach:
It indicates that Jeff Ireland is going to control the personnel and handle the front office, and Joe Philbin is going to coach the team. They’re back to that set up. Obviously that is what the owner Stephen Ross wanted. Jeff Fisher wanted a little bit more of a say in personnel, but I think he has the structure now. It’s going to be critical for Joe Philbin to get that quarterback. Let the Matt Flynn rumors from Green Bay start already because that obviously is the key component for the Dolphins and Joe Philbin in turning this team around.
On the Indianapolis Colts head coaching search:
I’ve got two names for you. Chip Kelly of the University of Oregon; he’d be an outstanding fit for a some team looking for a guy to bring a program and start essentially from scratch with the Colts. And how about Marc Trestman, the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes. He’s won two Grey Cups, he’s an NFL assistant coach for a long time, was on the 2002 Super Bowl team with the Oakland Raiders. He could certainly be an outside of the box type of coach. Kelly and Trestman to me are names. Now, I’m told they are going to talk to Trestman at the Colts; I don’t know if they’re going to talk to Kelly.
On New England Patriots tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez:
Go back to when I was with Bill [Belichick] in Cleveland in 1991: the first thing that he wanted to do was find the next Mark Bavaro. Finally now here at the New England Patriots he does have the next Mark Bavaro. Bavaro was so significant in Bill Belichick’s career in terms of practicing against him every single day and knowing how difficult he was to matchup with. Rob Gronkowski is exactly like Bavaro, perhaps faster down the fielder. That was impactful, and then the Aaron Hernandez element being able to catch the football inside, being able to go outside and matchup, a receiver coming out of the backfield really creates problems. They can control the middle of the field, which is part of Belichick’s mantra: he wants to control and win the middle of the field, and he’s done it really well. The other factor here that is interesting is remember the Patriots moved up ahead of the Baltimore Ravens to pick Rob Gronkowski; the next pick they picked Sergio Kindle. It’s interesting how they had to get in front of Baltimore just to get Gronkowski.
‘Inside Slant’ with Jason La Canfora
On the Indianapolis Colts head coaching search including Jim Tressel:
Jim Irsay has talked to Jim Tressel. People in the league I talked to don’t believe he does [have a chance], except for the Irsay factor: which is he’s taking this franchise back from the Polians. He can take it any way he wants. He had Tressel on the staff last year as a replay consultant. Maybe he ends up on staff somewhere other than a head coach, but clearly there is some affinity for Jim Tressel. They’ve also talked to Jerry Gray, the Titans defensive coordinator. They’ve talked to Pete Carmichael, a rising coach and offensive coordinator with the Saints. My sources say they also want to talk to Brad Childress this week; Mike Zimmer, the Bengals defensive coordinator also is on their hit list as. And maybe there is another surprise candidate to come. Irsay tweeted that he wants a decision made by the end of the week. If that is the case, that indicates their not waiting for any of this final four coaches because obviously they don’t even know who they could interview yet at this time point from those four teams.
On the latest with Peyton Manning:
Here is the next thing to watch: Ryan Grigson, the new general manager there, comes from the Philadelphia Eagles. West Coast offense, attack-minded defense, getting the secondary involved. That is not the Peyton Manning offense with a Tampa-Two [defense] that sits back and doesn’t give up the big play. Very different philosophically. If they hire a coach with Grigson ties – like a Brad Childress, Marty Mornhinweg is also someone they may want to talk to as well – that is another indication they are going a different direction philosophically, schematically. From the cap standpoint, are you going to have Manning and [Andrew] Luck if Luck is the first overall pick? Are you going to sit Luck, even though if you get Childress that is the West Coast system that he knows better than Peyton Manning?
On Alex Smith and Joe Flacco’s contract situations:
Alex Smith isn’t going anywhere. You talk to general managers around the league, they don’t even think he’ll become a free agent. Look at that Kevin Kolb contract: averages about $10 million a year but with contingencies that they can get out of it after any given year without having their cap really blown up or any real negative ramifications. For [Joe] Flacco, he has to win and he has to perform. He knows that if he doesn’t put up better numbers in the playoffs, he’s going to be playing out the final year of his rookie deal. If he steps up and gets them to the Super Bowl and more, then you start looking at that $13-15 million a year stratosphere, that second tier of quarterbacks.
On the reaction to Ed Reed’s comments about Joe Flacco:
Coach [John] Harbaugh wasn’t thrilled about it and he addressed it early in the week. But really in the locker room it’s not a big deal. If you know the personalities involved and how they interact in that locker room, Ed Reed is a little bit like the crazy uncle, especially when it comes to talking to the media. Not going to be super polished, kind of gets on a rift, gets going a little bit. No malice intended in that and Joe Flacco, he deals with criticism constantly; talk radio, all of that stuff. One thing to his credit, he’s always tuned it out. He doesn’t really care what people say, whether it’s Ed Reed or LaMarr Woodley, or whoever else takes shots at him. This thing was squashed early in the week, and actually people in that locker room feel like it may prove to be a positive because you have two guys with different personalities in Flacco and Reed who maybe aren’t hanging out in the locker room a whole lot. They were this week putting this thing to bed, and maybe that bodes well moving forward.”
To view La Canfora’s ‘Inside Slant,’ visit:
On NFL.com, the following video clips from the Championship Sunday edition of NFL GameDay Morning are available for viewing:
Remembering Joe Paterno – Rich Eisen takes a look back on the life of legendary Penn State head coach Joe Paterno.
Making a Golden Star – San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis speaks with NFL Network’s Steve Cyphers about his career thus far.
A Golden Collapse? – Winning takes intangibles, and even with seven Super Bowl rings our analysts know what those are. Deion Sanders, Willie McGinest, Brian Billick and Rod Woodson debate if the 49ers have what it takes or are due for a letdown in the NFC Championship Game.
Motivating the Patriots – Willie McGinest, a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots, has the inside scoop on Bill Belichick’s motivational tactics.
What’s at Stake for Flacco? – Joe Flacco’s performance is about more than getting the Ravens back to the Super Bowl. It’s about claiming overdue respect for quarterbacks with great defenses.
Dilfer, Flacco Comparisons Unfair – NFL GameDay Morning examine the comparison of current Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer.
Manning Up – With Peyton Manning sidelined all season and Eli Manning leading the Giants to the NFC Championship Game, our experts debate if Eli is starting to emerge from his big brother’s shadow.
Who Holds the Rematch Advantage? – Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp and Steve Mariucci discuss if the 49ers or Giants hold the advantage in today’s championship game after having played in Week 10.
Lessons Learned – Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner discuss what the Ravens and Patriots can take from their 2009 Wild Card playoff game in preparation for today’s AFC Championship Game.
Do Players Make the Best Coaches? – Deion Sanders, Willie McGinest, Brian Billick and Rod Woodson debate if former NFL players make better and more successful coaches than their other coaching counterparts.
Pressure’s Mounting – Which of the four starting quarterbacks has the most pressure on him to take his team to the big game? Our analysts debate.
Ravens Defense Must Get Brady – NFL GameDay agrees no matter what offensive schemes the Patriots show, the Ravens defense has to disrupt quarterback Tom Brady if they want any success for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
Scary Blue – The Giants won Super Bowl XLII with a scary pass rush. Albert Breer reports how this year’s team is following the same game plan with 17 sacks in their last four games.
Patriots: Weak Schedule a Disadvantage? – The Patriots struggled against teams this season with a winning record. Will it affect their confidence against the Ravens?
- NFL GameDay Scoreboard & NFL GameDay Final Provide Complete Analysis of Championship Sunday: At 6:00 PM ET on NFL GameDay Scoreboard, host Scott Hanson and analysts Jamie Dukes and Tom Waddle provide comprehensive highlights, postgame interviews and expert analysis of the Baltimore Ravens-New England Patriots game, as well as a preview of the upcoming game between the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers. On NFL GameDay Final at 10:00 PM ET, host Rich Eisen is joined by analysts Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin to provide a recap of Championship Sunday and the first preview of Super Bowl XLVI.
- Week-Long Coverage of the Senior Bowl Practices and Game: For the seventh consecutive year, NFL Network serves as the exclusive home of the Senior Bowl, providing week-long coverage of the practices and game from Mobile, Ala. NFL Network’s daily coverage of Senior Bowl practices kicks off Monday, January 23 at 4:00 PM ET. Tuesday through Thursday, practice coverage airs from 11:00 AM – Noon ET (North team) and 5:30 – 7:00 PM ET (South team). A 30-minute recap show of the day’s action airs Monday through Thursday at 10:30 PM ET. Paul Burmeister, Mike Mayock and Charles Davis analyze each day’s action and preview what is to come during the game, while Rebecca Haarlow and Heath Evans provide reports and player interviews from the practice field. On game day Saturday, January 28 at 4:00 PM ET, Burmeister calls the game alongside analysts Mayock and Davis, while Haarlow and Evans provide reports from the sidelines. Coverage begins at 3:30 PM ET with the NFL Total Access: Senior Bowl Pregame show.
- Pro Bowl Practice Coverage on NFL Network: As the NFC and AFC Pro Bowl squads prepare for the annual Pro Bowl, NFL Network provides coverage of both practices. On Thursday, January 26 beginning at 2:00 PM ET, Fran Charles, Marshall Faulk and Tom Waddle analyze what is to come in the all-star game and provide interviews with players and coaches from Hickman Airforce Base in Hawaii. On Saturday, January 28 at 1:30 PM ET, Charles, Faulk and Waddle anchor the coverage of the final practice before the game on Sunday, January 29.
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