“Had he not gone to prison, I don’t think that it would have ever come.” – “Football Night’s” Tony Dungy on Mike Vick’s improvement
“What he did, that’s inexcusable.” – “Football Night’s” Rodney Harrison on Vince Young
NEW YORK – November 21, 2010 – Following are highlights from NBC Sports’ “Football Night in America.” Bob Costas hosted the show live from Lincoln Financial Field and was joined on site for commentary by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. Co-host Dan Patrick, analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, and reporters Peter King and Mike Florio covered the news of the NFL’s eleventh week live from NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios. Alex Flanagan reported from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., on the Colts-Patriots game.
EMBED NBC SPORTS VIDEO: Video highlights from “Football Night” and other NBC Sports programming are available to be embedded on media websites at NBCSports.com. Click on the following links for:
Costas’ interview with Mike Vick:
Patrick & Dungy on Mike Vick
King on Vince Young, Jeff Fisher and Bud Adams:
Florio on Brad Childress:
MIKE VICK INTERVIEW: Following are highlights of Bob Costas’ two-part interview with Mike Vick:
Vick on praise from Tom Coughlin for last week’s performance: That’s a great compliment coming from a great coach. It’s one thing to be out there and be in the groove and things are clicking because every game is not going to be that way. You just got to be ready for whatever situation that may come about and may surface. You’ve got to enjoy those though. You’ve got to enjoy games like that because they only come around every now and then.
Costas: The Giants have knocked five quarterbacks out this year. Are you mindful of that?
Vick: I’m very mindful of it which is more the reason why I’m going to try and stay away from those guys. We know the type of pressure they bring. We know how ferocious they can be on third downs. We just have to take care of those guys up front.
Costas on Vick’s time away from the game: It turns out your better than ever. What’s the reason?
Vick: I was one of the ones who was thinking, man, am I still going to have it? Am I still going to have the elusiveness, the speed, the mobility? Just having a year to sit was probably the biggest thing to ever happen to me.
Costas: In Atlanta, your reputation was last guy in the building, first guy out. You had a lot of talent. You probably didn’t do all you could have to maximize that talent.
Vick: Yeah. This time around, I just wanted to work harder than I ever worked before, not shortchange myself. I didn’t put in the hard work and the time and the effort. I didn’t dedicate myself the way I do now.
Costas: Do you feel like you cheated the Atlanta organization?
Vick: In so many ways, I do. I feel like I cheated the organization. I didn’t give them my all. I gave them everything on the field, 100 percent, but sometimes that’s not enough.
Costas: Even I can see, when you step up in the pocket, the linebackers are in that moment of hesitation.
Vick: Nine times out of 10 now, I don’t feel like running the ball. I’d rather get it out of my hands, get it downfield. Back in the day, four or five years ago, I felt like I rushed everything. Now, I’ve learned patience. I think it helped me tremendously.
Costas: What was the darkest moment for you at Leavenworth?
Vick: The darkest moments were just not being able to go home every day…It was obviously a big deal in terms of seeing your family. It’s just that you can’t go anywhere. You’re confined to one space around a lot of people. It’s like you’re trapped. There’s nowhere to go. Every night before I went to bed, I always prayed that something would happen that would expedite the process of me getting out. But it never did and I think that taught me patience.
Costas: Was there some pivot point where the light went on in your head? You’re in the midst of this experience because of your own actions but where you said to yourself, ‘Wait a minute. I get it now or at least I think I get it now.’
Vick: I think I said that about four or five months of being there and then I realized I wasn’t going home for another 13 months…Even after the first day I felt like I had learned my lesson. It only takes for them to slam the doors on you one time for you to know that ‘Look, this is serious. I can’t live my life this way. I’m not supposed to be here. I’ll do better.’ After four or five months, I started to get comfortable in that environment and I had to pinch myself and say I’m not supposed to be here. I should be at home with my family or in somebody’s training camp right now. That really put things in perspective of what I had done and the consequences I had to suffer. It cut me deep and it hurt. I had to get through that to make me the person I am today.
Costas: What was it like when Tony Dungy walked through the doors?
Vick: When Tony first walked through the door, I just wanted to give him the biggest hug. I was nervous, obviously, just being in that environment. Just him coming all the way out to Kansas, I thought it was special. I wanted to take that time and express to him what my thoughts were, how I was feeling and how I wanted to live my life moving forward, and what suggestions he could make to help me. We had an open dialogue about everything. I left that meeting with a sense of security that I could go home and feel positive about certain things that were going to take place in my life.
Costas: We know the way sports and celebrity in America work at least for some people. If you play well and stay out of trouble, at least conspicuous trouble, that’s redemption. But real redemption may mean something more than that. What does it mean to you?
Vick: Redemption is doing the right thing all across the board. It’s easy to talk the talk and say, ‘Yeah. I’m going to be here speaking to this group of kids or I’m going to work with the Humane Society.’ You’ve got to do it and you’ve got to be consistent about it. You just can’t be doing it just for perception. It takes time. I think my life was always going to be a work in progress. I’m just going to continue to chase success, on and off the field. I think if I do that, I think redemption will come.
DUNGY REACTS TO VICK INTERVIEW: Dungy, who has mentored Vick, reacted to his comments in a ‘Football Night’ interview with Patrick.
Patrick: “Let me go back to 18 months ago when you first visit Michael Vick in prison. Why did you go in the first place?”
Dungy: “We had met each other at a press conference several years before and I took a liking to him. We both like to fish. We talked about going on a fishing outing and it never quite materialized. He’s in jail now for dog-fighting and his attorney called me and said ‘He needs some help. He’s getting ready to come out. I want somebody to help him and I think you can.’”
Patrick: “You also counsel a lot of inmates and now you have a celebrity inmate but everyone knows you’re doing it. Any negative feedback?”
Dungy: “There was. When people found out that I was going to Leavenworth to see him, I got a lot of calls, a lot of letters. ‘How could you do this after what this guy did?’ But I feel like that’s what I do and I’ve seen a lot of people. As you said, he just happened to be famous and a case that people knew about. But it was important to me to try to help a young man who was looking for help.”
Patrick: “Set the scene. You go into Leavenworth. This is hardcore prison. You see Michael Vick. You heard what he said (in the interview), ‘I wanted to hug you.’ What was your thought?”
Dungy: “I wanted to hug him too. I’ve visited a lot of places but this is…Leavenworth prison. (We’re in a) small room…He’s not in a Falcons uniform. He’s in an orange jumpsuit with an ID number. I’m looking in his eyes and trying to find out, what is he all about? After about three hours, I felt good about talking to him.”
Patrick: “What are some of the things he brought up, on-the-field, off-the-field?”
Dungy: “We really talked about where he wanted to go from here. He made some mistakes but how are you going to make it better? What are you going to do? He talked about being a better father, about being there for his kids. He had a daughter who was six months old when he went into prison. He felt like he didn’t know her. He wanted to be there for them. He talked about kids who had bought his jersey and he wanted them to wear it proud and know, ‘Hey, this isn’t a bad guy. I made a mistake but I’m not a bad guy.’ Then he talked about wanting to play again and be a better quarterback. And I said, ‘The first two, I can help you with. The last one I can’t help you with.’”
Patrick: “Did he talk about (cheating the Falcons)?”
Dungy: “He did. That’s why he felt like he could be a better quarterback. He told me, ‘I watched the Super Bowl game and I knew how close we were with the Falcons. I didn’t give it everything I had. I didn’t prepare the way you to tell me Peyton prepares. I can come out and I can prepare. I can help a team win. I could be better.’ And he was right.”
Patrick: “Would he be this good of a quarterback without prison?”
Dungy: “I don’t think so. I think it took that for him to realize that this game that he was so gifted to play and it came so easy for him. He owed it more. He owed the game of football more. Had he not gone to prison, I don’t think that it would have ever come. And he wouldn’t have met Andy Reid. I think Andy has helped him personally and he’s helped him as a quarterback. He and Marty Mornhinweg have helped him develop as a quarterback and a man.”
Patrick: “You get a second chance. Explain to me how (his) brother sets up a birthday party…a former associate in the dog-fighting ring is there and gets shot. How does Michael put himself in that position?”
Dungy: “He doesn’t know what’s going to happen but he goes. He makes a bad decision going someplace where you just can’t go. I think that was a critical time for him. We talked a lot about decision making, about responsibility, and how one mistake can change the whole course of your life especially when you’re in a position when you can’t afford another mistake. He saw it happen first hand and I think that really was a critical point where he said, ‘I just can’t do that. I got to start to part away from things I used to do.’”
Patrick: “It seems like Michael Vick can handle adversity. It’s success he has a problem with, which would lead me believe, if I’m an owner of an NFL team, do I want to give him an NFL contract?”
Dungy: “That’s a problem and that’s what he’s going to have to face now. But, I really believe the Philadelphia Eagles, Jeff Lurie, Andy Reid, they know this guy. They believe in him just like I believe in him. I think he’s going to make it. I think he’s going to be a guy who can tell young people ‘I made some mistakes. Let’s learn from them and not make them again.’”
Patrick: “Does he understand, it’s one strike and you’re done with the Commissioner?”
Dungy: “I sat in on a conference call with the Commissioner and Michael. He understands one foul ball and he’s done. He knows the lay of the land.”
Costas on Vick: “This is a genuinely unique player.”
Michaels: “Over the past 25 years, the most spectacular performances individually I can remember on a primetime game: ‘86 Bo Jackson runs around the left side, runs over Brian Bosworth, runs through the tunnel, winds up in Tacoma. That was Bo Jackson’s introduction to the NFL; ‘93 had Brett Favre the day after his father passed away. That spectacular performance he had against Oakland; and the third of that trilogy would have to be what Michael Vick did last Monday night, which was over the moon.”
Collinsworth: “You’re talking about in Michael Vick a guy that has 11 touchdown passes, zero interceptions, and without any argument is the most exciting player playing the game right now.”
Dungy: “This is the one time New England needed a stop and they got it in second half.”
Harrison: “The last four years they haven’t been able to stop…for this defense to come up with the most critical play in the game, it gives them a lot of confidence.”
Dungy: “Bill Belichick punted this year and relied on his defense, and they came through for him.”
Patrick: “You’re watching that and I said, ‘Why not settle for the field goal?’ You said, ‘It’s not in Peyton’s DNA.’”
Dungy: “They were going for the win. He thinks he had it. He’ll be thinking about this throw for a long, long time.”
Dungy: “My big winner today is the New England Patriots. That was a great win (and) winning back-to-back against Pittsburgh and Indy. Their defense finally coming up with that stop when they needed it. A great, great win for them.”
King: “I asked Jeff Fisher after the game, ‘Is Vince Young your quarterback of the future?’ He said, ‘We’ll talk about that at the end of the year. I’m not going there right now,’ which leads you to believe that obviously there’s some question about him being the quarterback of the future. But Bud Adams, the owner of the Titans, there’s no question he wants Vince Young to be the quarterback of the future and there is the problem.”
Harrison: “I’m very disappointed in Vince Young. I thought he got over this immature stage in his career. He’s the quarterback, the starting quarterback, on this team. Guys look up to him. He’s supposed to be a leader. What he did, that’s inexcusable.”
Dungy on Randy Moss: “I didn’t see how this was going to work. Maybe it will but he didn’t catch a lot of balls from Tom Brady and he didn’t catch a lot of balls from Brett Favre. How is he going to catch a lot of balls from whoever the Titans quarterback ends up being.”
Dungy: “The Jets have won these games. They believe in Rex Ryan. They believe in (Mark) Sanchez that they can make these plays at the end but they got a lot of help from Houston. We saw Houston blow one last week the same way. That was inexcusable at the end of this game. You got to use outside technique. The coaches had their corners playing inside technique when there’s no timeouts left.”
Harrison: “No timeouts. Free safety Eugene Wilson has to understand that Braylon Edwards, he’s the go-to guy deep. He has to keep him inside and force the ball to be thrown inside…”
Dungy: “There’s no way, with no timeouts and that short of time, you can’t let a guy catch the ball on the sideline. All those defenders should have been outside protecting the sideline. Make them throw the ball in the middle of the field.”
Harrison: “This happened two weeks in a row. Somebody on that defensive side of the ball needs to be fired.”
Dungy on if the Jets are lucky or good: “Both. Mark Sanchez is making plays. He’s got them believing. They have big play guys. Santonio Holmes has given them a big lift. But the last two weeks we’ve seen dropped interceptions by Cleveland, bad coverage here. But, they’re good enough to take advantage of it.”
Harrison: “(Sanchez’s) going to have to continue to make plays because they’re not running the ball and that defense isn’t as strong as it was last year.”
Dungy on translating Mike Tomlin’s postgame comments: “The officials let this game get out of hand. It was ridiculous. If I say that as Mike Tomlin, I’m going to get fined so I’ll let Tony Dungy say it for him.”
Dungy on possibly benching Brett Favre: “I’m not sure what he’s going to do but, if I’m Brad Childress, I’m playing him because I’m still trying to win games and I think he gives me the best chance to win.”
Harrison: “How’s he giving you the best chance of winning? You’re 3-7 with this guy. He’s thrown 20 interceptions. How does that give you a better chance to win?”
Dungy: “I went and got him because I didn’t think Tavares Jackson was as good.”
Harrison: “But he’s not good right now.”
Dungy: “This is a team to look out for down the stretch.”
Harrison: “Atlanta is a really good team. If they want to be an elite team, they have to score more touchdowns in the red zone.”
ON BILL PARCELLS
King: “I talked to Parcells yesterday and he said, ‘No. I’m not coaching again.’ And I don’t think Parcells is going to do that franchise architect kind of thing. He’s going to be 70 years old next opening day.”
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