“Hello from Tokyo…There is nothing that unites American sports fans, or for that matter all of America, like the Olympics.” – Tirico
“Imagine if the Super Bowl were played once every four years. This is their Super Bowl – and most only get one chance to win it.” – Tirico on Olympians
“I do think there is a scenario where both of them are playing. If Jameis (Winston) is the starter I think Taysom (Hill) is seeing a lot of action at quarterback, maybe even more so than he did with me.” – Drew Brees on the Saints
STAMFORD, Conn. – July 19, 2021 – NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico guest authors this week’s edition of Peter King’s Football Morning in America from Tokyo, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. Tirico, the primetime host of the Olympics on NBC, discusses the Tokyo Olympics and speaks with his new NBC Sports teammate Drew Brees.
The Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics is this Friday, July 23 on NBC and competition begins tomorrow night, Tuesday, July 20, across the networks of NBCUniversal.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
Tirico: “Hello from Tokyo, where the NFL used to play some preseason games and the world is readying for the most unique and challenging Olympics since the Modern Games began 125 years ago. The Games are on schedule to start competition Tuesday night, with the Opening Ceremony on Friday morning (U.S. time).”
Tirico on life in Tokyo: “Our NBC team and other broadcasters from around the world are working essentially within an Olympic bubble. We are permitted to go between our accommodations and work locations for the first two weeks in the country. We are testing often, wearing masks, and following protocols while preparing to broadcast over 7,000 hours of Olympics action back to America. It makes for a first-of-its-kind run-up to these delayed games.”
Tirico on the impact of the Olympics: “There is nothing that unites American sports fans, or for that matter all of America, like the Olympics. At some point over the 17 days that begin with the Opening Ceremony, some athlete who you have perhaps never heard of and might not ever see compete again, will lift you from your couch – have you bursting with patriotism, give you chills and might make you shed a tear.”
Tirico on Olympic athletes: “Almost all Olympians will never make the median annual NFL salary ($860,000 last year). Yet, the athletes you are about to see (American and International) are the best in the world at what they do. They have the most significant judgment of their accomplishments come down to minutes or even seconds, usually four, but this time, five years in the making.”
Tirico: “Imagine if the Super Bowl were played once every four years. This is their Super Bowl – and most only get one chance to win it…So, when you sit and watch them over the 17-night run of the games, appreciate their sacrifice instead of searching for the item that might divide. Be thankful they have given of themselves to play for a team that helps unite.”
Tirico: “Drew Brees for the first time in 29 years is not getting ready for (training) camp. His season will be with us at NBC – in the studio as an analyst for Football Night in America and in the booth for Notre Dame’s home games.”
Brees to Tirico on missing football: “I have been preparing for the next chapter, I’m excited about it. There is a feeling of gratitude and appreciation for all that the game gave me. I still have a chance (at NBC) to be connected with the game and stay involved, but I am excited to be able to pursue some other passions that I haven’t been able to up to this point.”
Brees on the Saints’ quarterbacks situation: “Both guys have such a love for the game…and you can see it in the way they play…Whatever happens, in terms of whoever is the starter, I do think there is a scenario where both of them are playing. If Jameis (Winston) is the starter I think Taysom (Hill) is seeing a lot of action at quarterback, maybe even more so than he did with me.”
Brees on Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert: “I don’t think I’ve seen an athlete quite like him. We played them last year, and I was impressed. Then I saw him at mini-camp in OTAs and was amazed at how big and strong he is…He is good, smart and has those leadership qualities. You talk about building an offense around a guy, he can be a 15-year franchise guy.”
Brees on Notre Dame Football: “I am excited to see (new defensive coordinator) Marcus Freeman’s impact and I like the brand of football the offense is playing with (offensive coordinator) Tommy Rees. What they are doing conceptually reminds me of what we see in the NFL.”
NEWS & NOTES
Tirico on the Cowboys: “We expect no shortage of news and conversation out of Dallas camp between now and seven weeks from Thursday, when the Cowboys visit Tampa Bay for the Kickoff Game on NBC. It’s the perfect place to start the king-sized season, in the newly minted city of champions on the night Brady and the Bucs put up the second Super Bowl banner in Tampa history.”
Tirico: “Some of my favorite people in our business have their own Sunday/Monday routines – my friends who are also in host chairs for network NFL pregame shows…So, I asked each pregame host for which team or teams they are most interested in watching this year and why.”
Rich Eisen to Tirico on the Packers: “Without a doubt, the most interesting team is the Packers, who have been the most interesting team in the NFL since Draft Day. We will be on seat’s edge until Aaron Rodgers shows up. Or doesn’t. Either way every snap means so very much.”
Samantha Ponder to Tirico on the Rams: “I can’t wait to see what Sean McVay does with Matthew Stafford. A home Super Bowl with a new but veteran QB feels like a realistic expectation after last year. Matthew’s ability and experience with Sean’s creativity and energy is going to be so much fun to watch.”
James Brown to Tirico on the Bills: “I am excited to see what unfolds for the Buffalo Bills, who have an excellent coaching staff headlined by Sean McDermott and coordinators Brian Daboll and Leslie Frazier. They have a top-five QB in Josh Allen, whose year-by-year growth is impressive. Tough, talented and a well-liked leader. And a dangerous, clutch wide receiver who is also HAPPY in Stefon Diggs. Ingredients for continued success.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continue the NFL discussion.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 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 PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.