“He’s been great in this regular season, but he needs to win a playoff game.” – Tony Dungy on Carson Palmer
“Aaron Rodgers has to do a better job of recognizing where the blitz is coming from.” – Rodney Harrison on key for Packers tonight
“As long as they’re healthy, it doesn’t matter where they go.” — Harrison on Patriots
“I thought the Patriots had a brilliant game plan today.” – Dungy
“He is healthier than he has been at any point this season.” – Mike Florio on Peyton Manning
STAMFORD, Conn. – January 16, 2016 – Following are highlights from the Divisional Playoff edition of NBC’s Football Night in America. Bob Costas opened the show live from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., to preview Packers-Cardinals. Costas was joined on site by Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth, sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, and NBC NFL analyst Hines Ward.
Dan Patrick co-hosted Football Night, the most-watched weekly studio show in sports, from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1 in Stamford, Conn. He was joined by Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy; two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison; and NFL Insider Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com.
Former NBC broadcaster Jim Simpson, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 88, was remembered for his 50-year broadcasting career. In addition, NBC Sports extended get-well wishes to ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this week.
Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was interviewed.
Following are highlights from Football Night in America:
Tafoya on heavy Packers fan presence at the game tonight: “When these teams met here three weeks ago, the Cardinals offense played the entire game using a silent snap count for fear of not being able to hear. They’ll be using it again tonight.”
Dungy on Carson Palmer: “He’s been great in this regular season, but he needs to win a playoff game. There is pressure on him.”
Ward on Bruce Arians moving Larry Fitzgerald to the slot position: “The true playmaker (in Bruce Arians’ offense) plays the slot position. The two reasons for Larry Fitzgerald’s success this year: one, he’s a big receiver so he is usually going against smaller, inexperienced guys; and, secondly, it’s so hard to defend one of the best receivers in the game with a two-way go route (which allows him to choose his route).”
Dungy on Cardinals’ wide receivers: “Green Bay’s secondary will not be able to cover these guys.”
Ward on if the Packers got their mojo back last week: “No, I’m not buying it. Arizona’s defense got after Aaron Rodgers in the first meeting, and tonight I expect the same.”
Harrison on the Packers’ offensive problems not completely being caused by the offensive line: “Aaron Rodgers has to do a better job of recognizing where the blitz is coming from, getting rid of the ball, and avoiding all of those negative plays.”
Patrick: “Chiefs on a franchise-record 11-game winning streak, but winning streaks die in Foxborough.”
Dungy on Alex Smith throwing 50 passes: “The Chiefs need to be balanced. New England does that though. They take away what you do best; take you out of the game. I thought the Patriots had a brilliant game plan today.”
Harrison on where the Patriots will play next week: “As long as they’re healthy, it doesn’t matter where they go.”
Harrison on Patriots: “Julian Edelman, what a difference he makes. We talked about that offensive line struggling two weeks ago. Now it seems like they’re all healthy and ready to go.”
Florio on Peyton Manning: “He is healthier than he has been at any point this season, even in Week 1.”
LARRY FITZGERALD INTERVIEW
On coach Bruce Arians moving him into the slot: “Coach Arians has a great understanding of guys and their abilities, and where he sees them best suited to help the team have success. I love Coach Arians, and if he asked me to move inside and block or do whatever he asks me to do, I know it’s in the best interests of this team. I just want to be able to have team success.”
On playing into his early 40s and catching Jerry Rice’s career statistics: “I still think it’s a little unobtainable to be honest with you. Over 1,500 career receptions, over 190 touchdown catches, 20,000 receiving yards. He set the blueprint for greatness. That’s kind of how I look at it. If you want to look at greatness, you don’t have to look very far. Jerry Rice is at the top of the mountain.”
On the epic playoff matchup with the Green Bay Packers in 2009: “It was a shootout. There wasn’t much defense in that game. Two Hall of Fame quarterbacks dueling it out for the ultimate prize. It was great to be able to get out of there with a win. But Aaron Rodgers sure does scare me. He can make all of the throws.”
On how deadly Aaron Rodgers can be once he gets a hot hand: “He’s the reigning MVP of the National Football League. Anytime he steps on the football field, he is going to be a problem to deal with.”
On how often he thinks about the Super Bowl XLIII loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers: “There are not too many days that go by that I don’t think about it. Those opportunities don’t come very often. We understand that it’s very tough to get to that position, so everything that we do now in terms of our preparation this week and the week before and throughout the course of this season has prepared us for this one moment.”
–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–