“He’s got a smile, he’s dancing, he’s partying.” – Rodney Harrison on Panthers QB Cam Newton during pregame
“He’s not going to be a babysitter. You can’t win with a babysitter at quarterback.” – Tony Dungy on Broncos QB Trevor Siemian
NBC Sports’ Week 1 Coverage Continues Sept. 11 with Patriots-Cardinals on Sunday Night Football
STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 8, 2016 – NBC’s coverage of the 2016 NFL season began tonight with a special edition of Football Night In America at 7:30 p.m. ET, leading into coverage of NFL Kickoff 2016, as the defending champion Denver Broncos host the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of Super Bowl 50. Bob Costas opened the show live from inside Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo.
Costas and Dan Patrick hosted the program from inside the stadium and were joined on-site by Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and NBC Sports Radio. Liam McHugh provided reports from Civic Center Park in downtown Denver, where Dierks Bentley and OneRepublic performed prior to tonight’s game.
Pre-game coverage also included Mike Tirico’s interview with Panthers QB Cam Newton, Bob Costas’ interview with Broncos QB Trevor Siemian, and a feature on Broncos LB Von Miller and his close group of childhood friends, who have all made it to the NFL.
Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), and Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter) called tonight’s NFL Kickoff 2016 season opener featuring the Panthers and Broncos.
Following are highlights from Football Night In America on NBC:
Patrick on the potential effects of warm temperatures heading into Panthers-Broncos: “Temperature at game time should be around 80 degrees. You combine that with the altitude here in Denver, it may play a factor in the fourth quarter.”
Dungy on Broncos QB Trevor Siemian, making his first career NFL start: “I would be worried if I were the Denver Broncos. I know John Elway knows a lot about quarterbacking, but they’ve got a Super Bowl-caliber team with a quarterback who has not thrown a pass in the NFL.”
Dungy on potential impact of Denver crowd: “This crowd is ready to scream at any moment. Those offensive tackles had problems in the Super Bowl. It will be tough with a silent count tonight.”
Harrison on playing against Siemian: “I would love to play against a guy like this because you know he doesn’t have experience…I’d try to intimidate him before the kickoff even happens.”
Dungy on Siemian: “He’s not going to be a babysitter. You can’t win with a babysitter at quarterback. Gary Kubiak is going to have him throwing the ball.”
Harrison on CB Aqib Talib: “He’s a very physical player, but he’s also a very emotional player. We know that this is going to be an emotional game. He has to keep his composure. He had three penalties in the Super Bowl.”
Dungy on LB Von Miller: “Get him matched up on an offensive lineman by himself, he cannot be blocked. Carolina’s going to have to do some things to take care of him or he’ll wreck this game.”
Harrison on how the Panthers may utilize Newton tonight: “It wouldn’t surprise me if they design more runs for him.”
Dungy: “I was worried if the frustration (from Super Bowl 50) was going to carry over into tonight. Cam is loose – he asked us how we were doing tonight.”
Harrison: “Any questions about Cam Newton and will he be ready tonight? He’s got a smile, he’s dancing, he’s partying. He’s going to have a big game tonight.”
Harrison on LB Thomas Davis: “Luke Kuechly gets all of the attention, but Thomas Davis is the emotional leader on this defense. He’s their best blitzer. I expect him in that young quarterback’s face all night.”
Patrick on size of Panthers’ receiving corps: “You would have thought the Cleveland Cavaliers front line just walked by.”
Harrison on the Patriots, ahead of their Sunday Night Football Week 1 matchup vs. Arizona: “First and foremost, Bill Belichick is not saying anything (to his team) about Tom Brady. Tom Brady was not mentioned the last four or five months.”
Dungy on Bill Belichick’s offensive strategy: “I know he will have a different game plan for Jimmy Garappolo than he had for Tom Brady. He’ll take advantage of what he does well, the movement, his mobility, play action passes.”
Florio on potential return of retired RB Marshawn Lynch: “I’m told he’s up in the air about a potential return. Keep an eye on Week 4 or Week 5 for the possibility of an un-retirement of Marshawn Lynch.”
TREVOR SIEMIAN WITH BOB COSTAS
Siemian on his first NFL regular season appearance, a kneel-down last season: “I think it’s going down as the greatest kneel-down in Denver Broncos history, that’s what people are telling me (laughs). It was a cool experience the whole time I was helping out Brock (Osweiler) and doing what I could.”
On the philosophy of the team last season – “manage the ball, play great defense”: “I could see where people are saying that. As a quarterback, you’re not going to be back there babysitting the ball, especially with the kind of players we have on offense. I think the formula in this league is you have to play balanced on offense, have a good defense, and we’ve got a chance to do both these things.”
On nerves heading into his first start: “I think playing, regardless you’re going to have those butterflies, and I think that’s a good thing. For me, I haven’t thought about ‘reigning Super Bowl Champ,’ to be honest with you. I think coach (Gary) Kubiak has done an awesome job at telling us, ‘this is a new year, a new team.’ This is very much a ‘what have you done for me lately?’ business. I think the whole team has been focused that way.”
Click here to watch the full interview.
CAM NEWTON WITH MIKE TIRICO
Mike Tirico: How’d you sleep the night after the Super Bowl?
Cam Newton: “Felt like a baby, crying…a lot of tears. I think this whole process has just made me realize that I’m human. You know, after the Super Bowl, I was distraught. I felt down, I felt bad. I cried because that’s the emotions that I had. I wasn’t doing it for the cameras. I really felt as if we had our opportunities and we didn’t maximize it.”
Tirico on Newton’s Super Bowl 50 post-game press conference: “Any regrets about the two and a half minutes, the thirteen questions and what people said afterwards?
Newton: “No regrets…I don’t want to have a sob story to say, ‘Well, I shouldn’t have done that.’ I wouldn’t be in the position I am right now if I would not have done the things I’ve done.”
Tirico: “But Cam, don’t you understand that some people see you after you lose, which you didn’t do a lot of last year, and they say, ‘Where’s the guy who was doing this (gestures) and the dabbin’ and all of that – don’t you have to take the bad with the good, and be better about how you take the bad?”
Newton: “Yes, that’s why I’m embracing this whole process.”
Tirico: “You went the summer without watching the Super Bowl. Why?”
Newton: “Because I didn’t want that feeling to come back until now. It’s not a good feeling. You know I was watching and Dancing with the Stars and certain people there that I’m fans of…”
Tirico: “So that got under your skin – you see him doing the victory tour…not disrespecting him, but it just bothered you that it wasn’t you doing all this?”
Newton: “No that’s not it. It’s just…he can do whatever he wants, but I just know that his team defeated my team. Just seeing him on TV is just what reminded me like, God, he got the better end of the stick.”
Click here to watch the full interview.
–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–