“It was an awful decision by Mike Shanahan.” – “Football Night’s” Rodney Harrison on pulling Donovan McNabb
“They gave up.” – “Football Night’s” Dungy on the Cowboys defense
NEW YORK – October 31, 2010 – Following are highlights from NBC Sports’ “Football Night in America.” Bob Costas hosted the show live from the Louisiana Superdome and was joined on site for commentary by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. Co-host Dan Patrick, analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, and reporter Peter King covered the news of the NFL’s eighth week live from NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios. Alex Flanagan reported from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on the Vikings-Patriots game. Costas’ halftime essay addressed next week’s meaningful Chiefs-Raiders game.
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Al Michaels & Cris Collinsworth get spooked:
Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Peter King on the Cowboys
Costas’ interview with Drew Brees:
Costas’ interview with Mike Tomlin:
Dungy’s interview with Ryan Clark:
Costas: “I am not 100 percent sure that Halloween really ratchets things up all that much in New Orleans. On the way over here I passed five people, three of them are dressed like zombies, two as Lady Gaga. I asked if they were going to a Halloween party and they said ‘its Halloween?’”
Michaels: “Every night in this city is Halloween or New Years Eve.”
Collinsworth: “When you think about it, we’re the freaks in the coat and tie out here tonight. This is pretty crazy.”
Costas: “A representative from the Guinness Book of World Records is on hand to certify tonight’s game as a record for the most people in Halloween costumes in one place at one time. Dan Patrick whose October 31, 1976 dorm party at Dayton somehow escaped notice.”
Patrick displays picture of Costas as a child in a cowboy costume: “And I’m glad, no picture or video. By the way, Bob, you got into the festive spirit back when you were a little guy. Cowboy Bob?”
Costas: “Quite a look. It was my audition for the Village People.”
Dungy on Wade Phillips: “He was right to say they’re embarrassed because as a coach in that situation, you lose your starting quarterback you say, ‘We’ve got to run the ball and we got to play defense.’ They really didn’t do either. We saw the short yardage runs. They couldn’t get it in with Marion Barber and the defense really fell apart.”
Harrison: “Dallas, you’re at home. You’re 1-5. This is a desperation situation. When we looked at this game, no intensity, no sense of urgency and I looked at you and said, ‘Coach, these guys are quitting.’”
Dungy: “They did. And David Garrard now wants to go in and renegotiate his contract. They made him look like a Pro Bowler.”
Patrick: “Wade Phillips is a defensive minded head coach. They have been porous. They have been terrible on defense.”
Dungy: “Two weeks in a row, four touchdown passes by the opposing quarterback. This is a time when you have to dig down as a defender and say, ‘We’ve got to carry the team. Our offense is wounded and we’ve got to do it.’ And they gave up.”
King: “Just like Rodney noticed from a thousand miles away, David Garrard noticed the exact same thing about the Dallas Cowboys from across the line of scrimmage. He said to me and I quote, ‘It just looked like they weren’t into the game like an NFL team should be.’ He noticed that they had sort of a ‘woe is me’ kind of feel. The key thing that happened after this game is that Jerry Jones, who has steadfastly refused to ever say that there is any chance he would get rid of Wade Phillips during the season, seemed to leave a little bit of an open. After the game he said, ‘I wouldn’t have red blood in my veins if I wasn’t thinking about a lot of things right now.’ If he does make a change, it will either be Jason Garrett, the offensive coordinator as interim coach, or Joe DeCamillis, the special teams coach, just to finish the year.”
King on McNabb being pulled at the end of the game: “Obviously Donovan McNabb’s contract is up at the end of this year and now the Washington Redskins have to be asking themselves, General Manager Bruce Allen and Coach Mike Shanahan, ‘Do we want to pay Donovan McNabb $15 million a year going forward if we don’t know if he should be in the game at the two-minute warning?’ And does Donovan McNabb want to play in Washington?’”
Dungy: “If I’m Donovan McNabb, I’m hot. I’m your starting quarterback. As a coach, I can’t take you out of the game when we have a chance to win if I believe in you. This tells me they don’t believe in him.”
Harrison: “What does it tell you about the coaching staff if they had the entire summer, spring, and two months within the season to prepare yourself? This guy is a veteran quarterback. He’s not a rookie quarterback. Never pull him out especially for Rex Grossman, are you kidding me?”
Harrison on Mike Shanahan’s decision to pull McNabb: “It was an awful decision by Mike Shanahan. Donovan McNabb is not a rookie quarterback. He’s a veteran guy. What type of statement are you making to your team saying that I am pulling my best player and sitting him on the bench in the most critical situation of the game.”
Dungy: “What you’re saying is ‘I don’t believe in my quarterback.’ And to me, you cannot do that unless you plan on making a quarterback change.”
Harrison: “Donovan grows bitter at this point. He has two weeks to marinate on this and he’s sitting there saying, ‘This happened to me in the past. That situation didn’t work out. Why would you replace me with Rex Grossman?’”
Patrick on Jets punter Steve Weatherford, who attempted a fake punt deep in Jets territory: “I don’t know if Rex Ryan threw his punter under the bus completely, maybe an arm or a leg or two.”
Dungy: “He did and he should have gone under the bus with him because that’s the coaches fault and the punters fault. You’ve got to punt the ball on fourth and 18.”
Harrison: “You’re the New York Jets. Don’t even give your punter that option. You’re one of the best teams in the league. You can play defense. You can run the ball. Just punt the ball.”
Adrian Peterson to Alex Flanagan on Favre’s injury: “After he unbuckled his chin-strap, I saw him leaking a lot under his chin so I knew immediately he was going to go back and get that cleaned up, stitches or something…It was bleeding a lot so I don’t know the extent of the injury but it was coming out pretty fast.”
Harrison at halftime on Randy Moss’ postgame remarks about the Patriots: “Randy had stability. He had a great head coach. He had a great quarterback. They did a terrific job of protecting Moss from all of the distractions. Now he’s playing on a Minnesota team that’s 2-5 and facing a lot of uncertainty…he’s definitely going to get better numbers in New England.”
Dungy on today’s win says: “They can make field goals and they can beat the Cincinnati Bengals so that’s not saying a lot.”
Harrison: “But Tampa Bay went into Cincinnati and beat them too. I want to see if the Miami Dolphins are for real, they got the Baltimore Ravens and they got the Tennessee Titans next, we’ll see what happens.”
Patrick: “Well they got the Ravens where they want them, on the road.”
Harrison on Matt Cassell: “It’s no surprise with me looking at Matt Cassel and that two-minute drill. When I played with him in New England, he used to give the defense fits going up and down the field not throwing interceptions. He didn’t throw any interceptions today.”
Patrick: “You’ve got to figure, Oakland at 4-4, a team to be reckoned with.”
Dungy: “This is old Raiders football: great pass rush, power running game and some explosive passes to some fast receivers. Al Davis is smiling today.”
Harrison: “I like Jason Campbell and I hated him in Washington (laughs). But the guy is playing smart football and he is not turning the football over. He’s depending on the run, spreading the ball around. That’s what you have to do if you’re Jason Campbell. Avoid the turnovers.”
Dungy: “This is the time they usually get going and they’re playing the way San Diego has always played. They have got to go to Houston next week and we’ll see if they can continue it but they were explosive today.”
Harrison: “This is a big win for San Diego but they are still playing inconsistent.”
Patrick: “They did not look like a team that is one of the elite in the NFC.”
King: “This was probably Mike Singletary’s best day as head coach of the 49ers…You heard it here first, two weeks from today against the St. Louis Rams off their bye, I believe that the 49ers will go with Troy Smith, not Alex Smith, as their quarterback.”
Michaels: “They’re a different team without Reggie Bush. Forget what his numbers are, when Reggie Bush is in the lineup the other defensive coordinator has to spend a lot of time thinking about him.”
Costas: “I’m told the Saints do have a plan to throw James Harrison off. They’re all going to show up tonight dressed as Roger Goodell.”
Following are highlights of Bob Costas’ interview with Drew Brees:
On Super Bowl hangover: We knew that. It’s tough. Maybe the biggest trap that people fall into is just the fact that you think as Super Bowl champions you can just walk on the field and everybody is going to rollover for you and be intimidated by you. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. It’s still about us though. It’s about our ability to execute and to focus and to do all the right things on Sunday; to pay attention to the process throughout the week, our practice, our preparation. At this point, we obviously haven’t performed at the type of level that we know we can and we know we will.
On inconsistency and three losses: One of those was a pretty tight loss to Atlanta. The last two losses to Arizona and Cleveland have really been due to turnovers and other things that we…we know the difference between winning and losing in this league and what it takes to win football games…unfortunately, we have not done those things. It starts with taking care of the football, turnovers. It’s all about correcting those things and getting back on track.
On Twitter helping choose his newborn son’s name: Being in south Louisiana, I got a lot of the Bo recommendations, and not just Bo, but Beau and Beaux. So I thought that’s kind of variation of Bowen and, in fact, as a kid, Bowen might be called Bo.
Following are highlights of Bob Costas’ interview with Mike Tomlin:
On last week’s play where it appeared James Harrison changed his style of play and pulled up Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown: In that particular instance, they were painting a picture that they wanted to see. The way I viewed that play was that Ronnie Brown caught the ball clean and ducked out like a savvy veteran football player. He’s the person that eliminated the contact as opposed to James pulling off. I took exception to using James in that way.
On the NFL deciding to enforce greater discipline mid-season: When you start looking at things that you discussed in the off-season and adjusting during the season, you’re doing it from an emotional standpoint. Usually emotional decisions aren’t good ones. It was an overreaction to a couple of unfortunate incidents that occurred a few weeks ago.
Tomlin on changes in QB Ben Roethlisberger: As a player, I think he’s enjoying the monotony more. That’s natural. That’s human nature. When something is taken away from you, you have a greater appreciation for it once you have an opportunity to get it back. As a person, more than anything, it’s about taking an accounting of where he is and what’s important to him. A lot of times in life, we all get off the mark a little bit especially when you experience the kind of success that he has. It can be trap door, if you will. He’s really assessing and evaluating, not only what’s important to him, but who he surrounds himself with and how he conducts himself.
Tomlin on Super Bowl hangovers: I don’t know why people are surprised by that. It’s tough to walk the journey and win it one time let alone two times back to back. Your off-season is shorter. There’s more obligations in that off-season that happens to be shorter. There’s a lot of things that can get you off track when you are defending Super Bowl champs. To me, it’s not a shock at all.
Following are highlights of Tony Dungy’s interview with Steelers S Ryan Clark, who is dedicated to making a difference in his hometown of New Orleans:
Clark on wanting to make a difference: “Pastor Sterling Mealancon…talked about his vision, he talked about what he wanted to build here and I said ‘I want to help ya’ll build that building.’ So the first thing he asked me, I guess I don’t look much like a football player, ‘are you a contractor?’ And I was like no, not exactly.”
Sterling Mealancon on Clark’s help: “Ryan has been a tremendous help; I must say that without Ryan’s help not a lot of things that we have done thus far would have been possible.”
Clark on building houses for church members: “I thought that was amazing. I remember sitting here one day and he’s talking about putting members of the church in new homes. I had never heard of that ever, I’ve seen people building churches. I’ve seen people get more pews and more members into a church. But, never said you know what you never owned a home, you’re a single mom, you have children, let’s find a way to get you in that home.”
BOB COSTAS HALFTIME ESSAY
Football fans of a certain age can remember when every game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders was a big deal. Dating to the glory days of the old AFL and for a while, post-merger, they were actually the powers of their division. Their matchups were seen in primetime with Howard, Frank and Dandy Don on ABC. Or, in the late Sunday afternoon slot with NBC’s Curt Gowdy and Al Derogatis.
The “A” teams for what was then always an “A” game. Rumpled John Madden and dapper Hank Stram. Len Dawson and Daryl Lamonica… Fred Biletnikoff and Otis Taylor among their targets. Buck Buchanan and Ben Davidson… Willie Lanier and Ted Hendricks. A great and often bitter rivalry with a cast of characters the whole nation knew.
Well, it’s been a long time since the Chiefs were very good. And since a January 2003 Super Bowl appearance, the Raiders are a combined 33-87.
But wait… Now, Oakland’s won three out of four, which gets them to 4-4 just in time for a visit from the now 5-2 Chiefs. These teams sport no household names. And the last ongoing connection to their storied rivalry is Al Davis, apparently determined to go out with his boots on but whose team has surprisingly rebooted to the verge of contender status, giving this coming Sunday’s matchup at the Coliseum a certain throwback flavor. It might even be enough to spark a sellout so the Silver and Black can see the blackout lifted.
The Raiders and Chiefs in a meaningful game. Go figure. It’ll almost seem like old times.
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