“McCarthy doesn’t fit the recent mold of young and new and off the Shanahan/McVay tree. But he’s had a year of continuing education to remake the guy fired after a bad end in Green Bay.” – King
“Man, you don’t want to draw the Bills in the playoffs.” – King following the Bill’s victory over the Steelers on SNF
“I keep wondering if Philip Rivers will be the quarterback to usher in the Chargers to their new home in L.A.” – King
“They’re learning how to deal with success…so, they’re going to have a letdown every now and then.” – Rodney Harrison on the 49ers on The Mike Tirico Podcast
STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 16, 2019 – Peter King speaks with former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy about how he is using this year away from coaching to his advantage as he prepares to pursue his next coaching opportunity in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also recaps Week 15 as the playoff race comes into focus and hands out his awards from the weekend.
Additionally, across NBC Sports, on The Mike Tirico Podcast, Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Florio recap Week 15, while Florio and Chris Simms break down all of the action across the NFL on PFT Live and Chris Simms Unbuttoned.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
King: “It would be unfair to say that Mike McCarthy has reinvented himself in the 54 weeks since getting fired by the Green Bay Packers. However, as he prepares for what he hopes will be a second chance to be an NFL coach come January, tinkering is most definitely happening.”
McCarthy on his firing from the Packers: “I loved every day there. It’ll always be that way for me, and nothing can change it – not even the way it ended. I’m proud of that place.”
King on how McCarthy has spent this year: “So he has worked alone some days, and other days with three other coaches – including former Saints head coach Jim Haslett, who commutes from his home in Cincinnati – who he hopes will be the nucleus of his next coaching staff.”
McCarthy on if becoming stale led to his dismissal: “I think [getting stale] is a convenient criticism. I don’t agree with it, but like with anything when you are criticized, you need to shed a light on it and look at it. I think this time with the other coaches has given me that opportunity, and you have to be honest.”
King: “McCarthy doesn’t fit the recent mold of young and new and off the Shanahan/McVay tree. But he’s had a year of continuing education to remake the guy fired after a bad end in Green Bay.”
McCarthy on what he’s learned this year: “As a play-caller, you’ve got to stress the defense and one of the things watching all these teams has shown us is how good some teams are at challenging the eye discipline of the defense…We call those things ‘nuisances’ for the defense.”
King on the Bills clinching a playoff spot Sunday night: “Man, you don’t want to draw the Bills in the playoffs…(Bills cornerback) Tre’Davious White, smart and anticipatory and tough, bolstered his all-pro campaign with two more interceptions off Devlin Hodges.”
White to King about the Bills’ poor playoff history: “We’re our own team. We want to write our own story. When we go to New England, it’s a big game, but we’ll do what we’ve done all year.”
King on NFC West: “Can’t imagine there’d be a better game 256 (the Sunday-nighter in Week 17) than Niners-Seahawks at Century Link if the winner gets a bye in the NFC playoffs and the loser is the fifth or sixth seed. I’d guess the only way that gets trumped is a Tennessee-Houston AFC South Championship Game.”
King on the Buccaneers: “The Bucs are suddenly dangerous. They’ve won five of six, averaging 31 points per game in that impressive run, and no matter who they play at wide receiver, Jameis Winston finds a way to hit them…It’s all lining up for Winston to enter a sixth year as Tampa quarterback in 2020, and rightfully so.”
Winston to King: “Of course I want to be in Tampa. But we’ve got to finish the season first. Whoever makes that decision, I hope it ends up with me staying.”
King on the Bengals potentially having the first overall pick: “The Bengals have done some strange draft things in the history of the franchise (passing on Steve Young, for instance), but it’s almost impossible to fathom that they’d pass on (Joe) Burrow or trade the pick.”
King on the Raiders’ last game in Oakland: “It’s a travesty, regardless of the behavior Sunday, that Oakland will not have an NFL franchise anymore, and probably never will again. The passion and the love of team and sport is something exceeded in very few NFL markets.”
King on the Chargers: “I keep wondering if Philip Rivers will be the quarterback to usher in the Chargers to their new home in L.A., or if the franchise will rip the band aid off and start with someone new (Cam Newton? Teddy Bridgewater?), or someone exciting and temporary (Tom Brady?).”
KING’S WEEK 15 AWARDS
Team of the Week: Newtown High School Football Team, Newtown, Conn.
King: “Seven years to the day after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown…quarterback Jack Street threw deep down the right side to wideout Riley Ward, who scored the walkoff touchdown. And great on NBC for importing the team, coaching staff, cheerleaders and mascot into the NBC Studios for a tribute at halftime of the Sunday night game.”
Offensive Players of the Week: Julio Jones, Atlanta, Kenyan Drake, Atlanta, Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay, & Malcolm Perry, Navy.
King on Jones: “There are impressive stats, and then there is this: Julio Jones, in his first nine years in the NFL (with two games left), just passed Jerry Rice for yards receiving in the first nine years of a career.”
Defensive Players of the Week: Tre’Davious White, Buffalo, & Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville.
King on White: “As Cris Collinsworth said throughout the telecast, White is an emerging superstar who’s playing a vital role – that of shutdown corner – for a team that will likely have to beat Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes (and maybe Tom Brady) to reach the promised land this year.”
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of The Mike Tirico Podcast:
Tony Dungy on the Cowboys win: “I think we see what Dallas is capable of when they’re firing on all cylinders…Offensively, they got back to Ezekiel Elliott. I think that’s the way they have to play.”
Rodney Harrison on the 49ers: “They’re learning how to deal with success and how to handle all of the media attention that they’re getting. So, they’re going to have a letdown every now and then.”
Mike Florio on the Texans: “The Texans showed some resilience. They’re just one of these teams that they get some success and they can’t handle it and then they fall back and they put it all together again…For now, they’re going to be the team that emerges from the AFC South.”
The following are clips from last night’s edition of Football Night in America:
- Simms Breaks Down Wentz’ Game-Winning TD: Chris Simms draws up the Eagles’ game-winning touchdown which helped them stay in the NFC East title chase with a Week 15 win.
- Michele Tafoya with Duck Hodges: Michele Tafoya sits down with Steelers QB Devlin Hodges to talk about his experience at Samford University and his drive to make it to the NFL.
- Thanks Mom (and Dad): Edmunds Brothers: Tremaine, Trey and Terrell Edmunds made history when they all took the field during the Bills-Steelers game on Sunday night. The trio says thanks to their parents for making it all possible.
- Mike Florio on the Patriots: Mike Florio discusses the NFL’s investigation into the Patriots’ taping of the Bengals sidelines.
- Liam McHugh with Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier: Steelers legends Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier join Liam McHugh on Football Night in America to talk about the 1974-75 Steelers and their playoff run to give Pittsburgh its first Super Bowl title.
- Week 16 Preview: Mike Tirico, Rodney Harrison and Tony Dungy preview Week 16 as the Chicago Bears host the Kansas City Chiefs on SNF.
- Week 15 Sunday Night 7 Picks: The Football Night in America crew make their Sunday Night 7 picks for Week 16’s Bears-Chiefs matchup.
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage heading into Week 15:
- Mike Florio and Chris Simms, with guest Peter King, discuss all things NFL on PFT Live, including handing out their Week 15 superlatives, sharing updated power rankings, and making their Week 16 game picks.
- On Chris Simms Unbuttoned, Simms deep dives into film of two games from Week 15 decided by the fans.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.