“Look for the Vikings to sign a long-term deal and to build a new stadium in Minnesota, so that they will not be a candidate to move to Los Angeles.” – Peter King
“Privately, I’m told, the Jets are beginning to consider at least the possibility that (Mark) Sanchez isn’t the answer.” – Mike Florio
Long-Form Features Recounted Bears-Packers Historic Rivalry & Told Heartwarming Story of Bears Fan Who Benefited From Packers Fan
NEW YORK – December 25, 2011 – Following are highlights from a special Christmas-night edition of Football Night in America. Bob Costas hosted the show live from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., and was joined on site for commentary by Sunday Night Football commentators Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. Co-host Dan Patrick and commentators Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Peter King and Mike Florio covered the news of the NFL’s 16th week live from Studio 8G at NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios in New York.
EMBED NBC SPORTS VIDEO: Highlights from Football Night and other NBC Sports programming are available to be embedded at NBCSports.com. Click the following links for:
Bob Costas’ interview with Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy:
Feature on Bears fan whose life was saved by Packers fan:
Patrick: “New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh. I’m not sure your order, but we would agree, those are the three best teams in the AFC.”
Dungy: “It kind of changes moment by moment. Right now I’d have to say New England first, they’re on a seven-game winning streak; and then Baltimore and then Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s got some injuries.”
Harrison: “I like Pittsburgh at No. 2. I like Baltimore at No. 3 because they can’t win on the road.”
Dungy: “The Cowboys have a great receiving core and they can attack the Giants, if they can protect up front.”
Harrison: “The way you slow up a pass rush is run the football.”
Florio: “Every indication is (that) the swelling will go down and (Tony) Romo will be available Sunday night against the Giants.”
Harrison: “I like Baltimore, but Cincinnati has a chance. They have to change that mentality, come out and play loose. Don’t get caught up in the moment…Come out and play aggressive, take it to the Baltimore Ravens.”
Dungy: “They’ve got to stop Ray Rice. I don’t like the way Baltimore’s played on the road.”
King: “Look for the Vikings to sign a long-term deal and to build a new stadium in Minnesota, so that they will not be a candidate to move to Los Angeles…The Vikings are going to stay in Minneapolis.”
King: “Talked to Leslie Frazier today. Yes, ACL tear for Adrian Peterson and probably also MCL damage. He told me, ‘Adrian is going to attack this rehab viciously, but everything is going to have to go perfect if Adrian Peterson is going to start opening day 2012.’”
Florio: “Privately, I’m told, the Jets are beginning to consider at least the possibility that Sanchez isn’t the answer. He’s under contract for two more years.”
Michaels: “It’s been the tale of three seasons.”
Costas: “Cutler is scheduled to have the pin removed from his broken thumb on Tuesday. If the Bears somehow win tonight and the Falcons win tomorrow night in New Orleans, thus keeping Chicago’s playoff hopes alive, in that case, Cutler says he’ll try to practice this week in hopes of playing next week in Minnesota.”
Because of the unique Christmas-night broadcast, Football Night presented two long-form features that capture the spirit of the holiday (Transplant) as well as intensity of the Bears-Packers rivalry (Rivalry in the Heartland).
Football Night traveled to Illinois and Wisconsin to tell the story of a 30+-year Bears season-ticket holder and father of three, who, two years ago, was in need of a liver transplant. As he was losing strength and hope, a match was found from a 32-year-old Wisconsin mother, who died suddenly of a brain aneurysm.
When the liver recipient began corresponding with the donor’s parents, he learned that they were all Packers fans, giving him and his family new perspective on the rivalry, particularly after last season’s NFC Championship game, when the Packers defeated the Bears.
Two weeks ago, the families met for the first time. One family’s loss allowed another to stay together, and the Bears fan to keep attending games with his family members.
RIVALRY IN THE HEARTLAND
This Sunday, Football Night presented a special, extended, in-depth look inside the stories and people behind the NFL’s most-constant, hardest-hitting rivalry, dating back nine decades to the dawn of the league: Bears vs. Packers.
The film, Rivalry in the Heartland, is nearly 15 minutes long, and featured interviews with current and former star players and coaches, including Aaron Rodgers, Brian Urlacher, Paul Hornung, Jim McMahon, Mike Ditka, Donald Driver, Lovie Smith, Willie Davis and a number of fans of both teams, who bring the passion and intensity of the rivalry and the contrasting styles of the cities to life.
The film showcased the memorable but not always lovable characters from the franchises’ early years and legendary championship teams led by Halas and Lombardi, right through modern times with the Fridge and Favre and last year’s NFC Championship Game.
Following are highlights from Costas’ interview with Aaron Rodgers & Mike McCarthy:
AARON RODGERS & MIKE MCCARTHY WITH BOB COSTAS
MCCARTHY ON POSSIBLY SITTING STARTERS NEXT WEEK: “The problem is, and I don’t think people realize, you’re playing with 46 players on Sunday, so you start messing with a number of players, and we’re not a healthy team to begin with, we may not be in a position where we can rest people.”
RODGERS: “There’s a lot of freedom in the offense (for me to change calls)…There’s a trust that’s developed (with McCarthy) over four years of starting. I can anticipate his calls and he understands how I see the field.”
–NBC Sports Group–