ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown will be on the road for just the second time in the program’s 32-year history. This Sunday (Dec. 17), the three-hour NFL pregame show (10 a.m-1 p.m.) will originate from Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36 in Pittsburgh, down the street from Heinz Field, site of this weekend’s much-anticipated New England Patriots (10-3) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) AFC matchup.
Last night’s Monday Night Football game averaged 11.8 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen, helping ESPN win the night among all networks in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54) for the eighth time this season.
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show will travel to Pittsburgh for the New England Patriots vs Pittsburgh Steelers AFC matchup
“It’s amazing to see the love for Ryan Shazier that is in the league right now. Not just these two teams, but everywhere I go it is all anybody wants to talk about.” – Cris Collinsworth
“That has to be encouraging to Jacksonville fans. Blake Bortles, in a big game, showed up.” – Tony Dungy
“If I were Eli Manning, I would ask for my release.” – Rodney Harrison
“The current thinking, I am told, is that Aaron Rodgers will return when he is eligible to come off of Injured Reserve and play. That would be next week against the Carolina Panthers.” – Mike Florio
STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 10, 2017 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Week 14 Sunday Night Football matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers on NBC. 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.
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. Paul Burmeister reported from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, Calif., on the Eagles-Rams game. Football Night also included Dungy’s interview with Ravens LB Terrell Suggs.
Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:
Tirico on Ravens-Steelers: “In talking to the players and the coaches on the field, they all take a great deal of pride that this is a rivalry out of respect. It is not the nasty nature of what Pittsburgh-Cincinnati has turned into over the last few years. They also — on both sides from shirts to shoes to signs — have Ryan Shazier on their mind tonight. We know he will be watching and we are all thinking of him as well.”
Collinsworth on Ryan Shazier: “It’s amazing to see the love for Ryan Shazier that is in the league right now. Not just these two teams, but everywhere I go it is all anybody wants to talk about. (And) not only a great, great player, but a great guy, and we are all thinking about you right now.”
Dungy on the loss of Ryan Shazier tonight: “I was (in Pittsburgh) two weeks ago. I sat in a defensive meeting, and Mike Tomlin made every comment to Ryan Shazier…Now Vince Williams has to do that plus be that sideline-to-sideline tackler. It’s going to be a big blow to the Steelers, but I think they rise up and play emotional football tonight.”
Dungy on Suggs: “He plays the role of the showman, but he’s really a smart football player.”
Dungy on Ryan Shazier: “It’s been emotional for the Ravens also. I talked to Terrell Suggs. He said when he saw the play — as bitter as this rivalry is, Pittsburgh-Baltimore — it was no longer Ravens-Steelers. He said that’s a brotherhood where all (players) felt it. They’re going to be emotional as well.”
Dungy on the impact of the Eagles win: “(They) stayed in first place…and winning a game without your quarterback, the defense showed up, and made the play at the end. This was a big, big win on the road. They did not want to lose two in a row.”
Florio on GM situation: “They will start with a new GM. They will wait until after the season because former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi is consulting with ownership. Look for former Panthers GM, Dave Gettleman, also a former employee of the Giants and a close friend of Accorsi, to be the front runner. Nick Caserio, the Patriots VP of Player Personnel, and also Eliot Wolf, the Director of Football Operations in Green Bay, (all) candidates to be GM. If it is Gettleman or Wolf, keep an eye on Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz as the possible next head coach. If it is Caserio, there will be plenty of speculation and rumors about Josh McDaniels making a jump to the Giants.”
Dan Patrick: “If you were interviewing for this job, and they said they were going to bring back Eli Manning, would you take this job?”
Tony Dungy: “I would, if I were interviewing, and believe me, I am not (laughter). If I was, I would say, ‘I think he can get this team back to the playoffs. Get the defense healthy, get those receivers healthy, and we can be a playoff team. Let’s go one more year with Eli.”’
Harrison: “If I were Eli Manning, I would ask for my release because I want to go somewhere that I am appreciated, and there is a sense of uncertainty around the organization, and just a fresh start would be great for him.”
Patrick: “Everybody had high hopes for this team. You [Rodney] talked about their defense at the start of the season. We thought maybe they are a Super Bowl caliber team, so that is why I thought, maybe, they bring him back.”
Harrison: “It is just time to move on. He is not appreciated there. They do not respect him. You saw what they did to him last week. I just think it is time for him to move on.”
Harrison: “I would not want to play them because I saw them standup to the bullies. This is a team that can run the ball, they are physical, and they have got a lot of athletes on the defensive side of the ball. You cannot be one-dimensional trying to play against them.”
Dungy: “Blake Bortles played very well against that Seahawks defense. They are going to get a home playoff game. They are going to win the division. If you want to go into Jacksonville and beat them, you better be able to run the ball, and you better be able to stop the run.”
Dungy: “That has to be encouraging to Jacksonville fans. Blake Bortles, in a big game, showed up.”
Harrison: “It just looked like Minnesota was very tired – three straight road games. Never did I think that Carolina could run for 200 yards against this defense.”
Harrison: “They’re fighting for a playoff spot. I don’t understand this offense. I know they fired the defensive coordinator. Maybe they need to think about making a change on the offensive side (Bill Musgrave) because this guy had 31 yards at halftime. They only gave Marshawn Lynch the ball seven times for 61 yards.”
Dungy: “I’m going to stick up for the coaches a little bit. They fired the defensive coach. They still don’t tackle anybody with a new coach. The offensive coordinator can’t call (running) plays when the offensive line doesn’t block…They didn’t show up today.”
Dungy: “The Chiefs did play well.”
Harrison: “Give them a lot of credit. This is the most passion they’ve played with in the last month.”
Harrison: “I like the San Diego Chargers to win the division.”
Dungy: “Los Angeles…(laughter)…I like the Chargers, too. Great quarterback play from Philip Rivers, and I love that defense.”
Florio: “The current thinking, I am told, is that Aaron Rodgers will return when he is eligible to come off of Injured Reserve and play. That would be next week against the Carolina Panthers. Keep this in mind, it was four years ago that he missed a total of eight weeks, when a left collar bone was broken. If he returns next Sunday against Carolina, it will be a nine-week absence for Rodgers. For now, the thinking is we will see him next week.”
Florio on concussion protocol procedures regarding Tom Savage’s injury: “I am told that the people on the sidelines did not have access to that video when the decision was initially made to let him go back in the game. That may be one of the things the NFL looks into — why wasn’t that video available, why wasn’t that factored into the decision?”
Dungy on Jimmy Garoppolo: “My only question to my old safety John Lynch is, ‘What took you so long to put him in the game?’”
Florio: “There are people around the league who say that (John) Dorsey eventually will say to Jimmy Haslam, ‘Look, if you want to do this right, you have to let me hire my coach.’ Nobody knows yet who Dorsey would hire, but there’s a belief that Dorsey knows exactly who he’d hire if he gets the green light.”
ON BAKER MAYFIELD
Florio: “Everybody loves this kid. The comparison everyone wants to make with Baker Mayfield is Johnny Manziel. But the people I talk to – Russell Wilson is the name you hear. A couple of caveats though: Mayfield is less athletic than Wilson, and also maybe a little more reckless with his body.”
TONY DUNGY WITH TERRELL SUGGS
Suggs on his first defensive meeting with the Ravens: “Man, there were so many personalities, there were so many legendary people that you only see and heard about, and you watched them on TV. I watched Ray Lewis win a Super Bowl two years before it. It was just like, ‘Wow, now I’m sitting in the same room with them.”
Dungy: “How did those guys break you in?
Suggs: “Oh, man, one was a pie in the face.”
Dungy: “Who was that?”
Suggs: “Ray Lewis. My first day of training camp, got a pie in the face. It was just like, ‘Hey, you’re a young pup right now. Now you’re up here with the big dogs.’”
Suggs on teaching the younger players about the Ravens defense: “The beauty of youth. I just kind of try to tell the young guys, ‘Cherish every moment, man,’ because there are going to be some seasons when you’re not in the hunt and you’re pretty much just playing to be playing. Now, we’re in the hunt, so, it’s to cherish it, man. These big games, these December games that mean something, you’ll remember every one.”
Suggs on how he refers to the Steelers: “The team in Pittsburgh.”
Suggs on what he calls Ben Roethlisberger: “He’s 7.”
Dungy: “Just 7?”
Suggs: “He’s 7.”
Suggs on who Baltimore needs to stop: “Well, there’s two of them. 26 (Le’Veon Bell), that’s first and foremost.”
Dungy: “First guy you got to stop?”
Suggs: “Yeah. He’s probably the only guy who’s going to touch the ball more than 7. So, 26, then 84 (Antonio Brown).”
Suggs on if he knows any of the Steelers’ audibles: “No, I don’t. I like when they think that I do. I like when Ben tries to call something and I may just say something just to make him think I know it.”
Dungy: “Do you know some things by formation?
Suggs: “I know they’re sliding to me.”
Dungy: “Well, you’ve got to believe that.”
Suggs: “I know they’re sliding to me. I know I haven’t had some one-on-ones in a long time. Tell Ramon Foster to mind his own business. Tell (David) DeCastro to mind his own business and let’s have at it.”
Suggs on playing at Heinz Field: “I love it. It’s my coliseum. It’s my Madison Square Garden. To me, besides my own stadium of course, to be a villain, to go somewhere on an opponent team, I don’t think there’s any place better.”
Suggs on the response he’ll receive at Heinz Field: “I love the boos.”
Dungy: “You think there’s going to be some?”
Suggs: “Oh, yes.”
Dungy: “Do you give it back to the fans?”
Suggs: “No, I play into it. I love it all. Rather they’re yelling for me or against me. I’m loving it.”
–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–
Last night’s Monday Night Football game averaged 10.9 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen, helping ESPN win the night among all networks in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54) for the seventh time this season.
“If you do something like that to someone in the streets, you’re going to jail. He deserves to be suspended one game.” – Rodney Harrison on Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski’s hit on Bills DB Tre’Davious White
“If a defensive coordinator could play quarterback, he would play it just about the way that Case Keenum plays the game. It is one of the really tremendous stories that has been happening this year.” – Cris Collinsworth
“This is not a Corvette. This is a dump truck. This is all they have got. Ugly, but they are winning.” – Tony Dungy on the Titans
“We have questioned their heart, we have questioned their passion, their effort, and now we are questioning their discipline.” – Harrison on the Chiefs
STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 3, 2017 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Week 13 Sunday Night Football matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks on NBC. Mike Tirico opened the show live from inside CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash. He was joined on site by the Sunday Night Football team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya.
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. Paul Burmeister reported from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La., on the Panthers-Saints game. Football Night also included Tirico’s interview with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.
In addition, Football Night featured an interview with actor and Seahawks fan Chris Pratt, who will star in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, as a well as a teaser for the film which will be released next summer.
Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:
Michaels: “Everything is working. The offense is great, the defense is great, special teams is great. I think a lot of honors may be headed their way, and one of them might be Coach of the Year. Doug Pederson has done a magnificent job in Philadelphia.”
Collinsworth: “We want to talk about Carson Wentz and all of the things they’ve done in the passing game, but at their core, the Philadelphia Eagles run the ball and stop the run, and it’s why they’re 10-1.”
Michaels: “Russell Wilson is having a phenomenal year. He’s accounted for all but one of their offensive touchdowns. Obviously he’s their passing game, but he’s also their running game…when it comes to the MVP vote, Carson Wentz right now might be the guy, but Wilson is in the mix – and there’s some guy named Brady.”
Harrison on TE Rob Gronkowski following hit on Bills DB Tre’Davious White: “He’s not a dirty player, but if you do something like that to someone in the streets, you’re going to jail. As disappointed as I am in Rob Gronkowski, I do believe that he deserves to be suspended one game. It’s just unnecessary, for a guy to be down there, he’s unprotected, and for you to purposely jump 270 pounds on him and drive your forearm to the back of his head is just unnecessary…he is a great kid, but he made a huge mistake.”
Florio on potential suspension: “Discipline most likely will be imposed. Consider that White was on the ground, he didn’t see it coming, the play was over, and that blow to the head – there could be significant discipline coming, possibly even a suspension.”
Harrison: “It is just not about X’s and O’s. We have questioned their heart, we have questioned their passion, their effort, and now we are questioning their discipline. Andy Reid has so much work to do within this locker room to get these guys just to focus, just to play hard.”
Dungy: “You said it last week – attitude. I kind of disagreed with you, but today you see it. This was just undisciplined football in the defensive part (of the game). The offense finally gets going, scores 31 points…I do not think Kansas City recovers from this.”
Collinsworth on QB Case Keenum: “Tony Dungy would appreciate this more than anyone – if a defensive coordinator could play quarterback, he would play it just about the way that Case Keenum plays the game…‘don’t screw it up, don’t screw it up for my defense because they are simply that good.’…I am not going to compare him to Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, but it was that same sort of feel. ‘Is the season over for the Minnesota Vikings? They are on their third quarterback, the poor Vikings.’…it is one of the really tremendous stories that has been happening this year.”
Dungy: “They go on the road to Atlanta, make a statement, (play) great defense, and shut down Julio Jones. Case Keenum is playing well for them and what they are saying is, ‘Hey, we can win anywhere. We have got the formula.”’
Harrison on Saints’ 31-21 win vs. Panthers: “(I’m impressed) because of the way they lost last week (to the Rams). They come back and completely just physically dominate the Carolina Panthers. I did not think that they could do that.”
Patrick on RB Alvin Kamara: “He’s the third rookie in NFL history with at least 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in five straight games. The other two players – Eric Dickerson and Franco Harris – big-time stuff there.”
Dungy: “This is not a Corvette. This is a dump truck. This is all they have got. Ugly, but they are winning.”
Harrison: “They benefit from an easy schedule. They are in first place so we have to show some level of respect…one and done in the playoffs?”
Dungy: “Let’s hope that they get to the playoffs.”
Collinsworth on impact of Aaron Rodgers’ potential return to the lineup: “We have that X-factor sitting out there. They get Cleveland next week, and then Aaron Rodgers is back. If they are within striking distance, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Harrison: “They can beat Cleveland and then Aaron Rodgers comes back, but he has to face two of the best defenses in the league – Carolina and Minnesota.”
Dungy on Los Angeles’ playoff chances: “They have the pass rushers and they have the best quarterback play in this division. I think that the Chargers are going to win (the AFC West).”
Florio on QB Kirk Cousins’ contract situation: “His camp has no idea what Washington is going to do when the season ends. Decisions have to be made. Franchise tag, $34.5 million? Transition tag, let him walk away as a free agent, try to sign him to a long term deal?…for now, Cousins’ people have no idea what Washington is going to do.”
Florio on head coach Jay Gruden: “In the offseason, Jay Gruden got an extension, but it was kind of vague as to how much security it really provides. Four seasons and three years with no playoff appearances – what do you do with Jay Gruden? Does it make it easier to turn the page on the quarterback if you do bring a new head coach? So it could be that those two ultimately are tied together.”
Harrison on QB Jimmy Garoppolo: “The quickest way to get your teammates’ respect is to show how tough you are. He stood in that pocket time and time again, he got hit in the mouth and he showed that toughness.”
Dungy on Garoppolo: “I only have one question – why was he not in the lineup before today?”
Dungy on onside kick attempt up 33-9 in the fourth quarter: “I don’t think I would do that as a coach.”
Harrison: “It’s the pros. Be ready for anything.”
MIKE TIRICO WITH PETE CARROLL
Carroll on missing key members of Legion of Boom: “It’s not as big a distraction. We wish we had those guys. To have that level and depth of communication that we developed over the years working together, that’s really an extraordinary characteristic to have on your team. You can’t recapture that for a while. It takes a while to get that done. Fortunately, they’ve kind of set in motion a style and a way to play and a way to approach the game that they’ve also spread to the younger guys, the guys who are coming up now. So we still feel similar, but it’s not the same.”
Carroll on Russell Wilson’s play this season: “It is what it is. We’re going to keep riding it. We’re always looking to improve. We’re always looking to find better ways to do things but right now that’s kind of what the ball game is.”
Carroll on Wilson’s scramble and pass to WR Doug Baldwin against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10: “I started to get excited because I know something good is going to happen out of that now. He’s created so much magic out of that stuff. When Doug (Baldwin) took off, he just looked like he was shot out of a cannon. Then to see the result, him flying down the sideline, that was a remarkable play.”
Carroll on what he sees in the Philadelphia Eagles: “I think they’re a championship club right now. They’re playing like it. They’ve got to finish it too now, everyone has to finish it. We’ll see how they do. They look to have all the magic happening. The quarterback is getting it done, the head coach is getting it done, and the defense is getting it done. They’re doing a lot of great things. It’s a great challenge for us.”
Tirico: “Does it remind you of a Seattle team?”
Carroll: “I would like to think so. These guys are playing great ball and they’re on it. Like I said, you have to finish.”
–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–
Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Cincinnati to face the AFC North rival Bengals and Andy Dalton on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. With a 9-2 record, the Steelers are tied with New England atop the AFC. MNF play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough will call the action from Paul Brown Stadium with analyst Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters. MNF will also be streamed live on the ESPN App. Additionally, ESPN Deportes will televise Steelers-Bengals in Spanish with commentators Alvaro Martin, Raul Allegre and John Sutcliffe.
Week 12 of ESPN’s Monday Night Football has the Houston Texans visiting the Baltimore Ravens. MNF play-by-play voice Sean McDonough will call the game from M&T Bank Stadium with analyst Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters. MNF will also be streamed live on the ESPN App and televised in Spanish on ESPN Deportes with commentators Alvaro Martin, Raul Allegre and John Sutcliffe.
Monday Night Football’s Atlanta Falcons Versus Seattle Seahawks game helps ESPN win the night among key male and adult demos
Sam Ponder and analysts Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss, Rex Ryan and Charles Woodson will preview the NFL’s week 11 games. NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen, Louis Riddick and Adam Schefter, and senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry will also be featured.