“This is the one guy that I would not want to play in the playoffs.” – Rodney Harrison on Eli Manning
“Philadelphia has to be pleased with Carson Wentz. He’s their quarterback of the future. This record is not all on Carson Wentz.” – Tony Dungy
“Landon Collins should be Defensive Player of the Year.” – Harrison
STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 22, 2016 – Following are highlights from Football Night in Philadelphia, which aired prior to Thursday Night Football tonight on NBC and featured the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. Bob Costas opened the show live from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa. He was joined on site by Super Bowl-winning and Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy and two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison.
In addition, NFL Network host Rich Eisen and NFL Network analysts Michael Irvin, Marshall Faulk, and Steve Mariucci provided coverage from a set outside of the stadium.
Football Night coverage included a feature on Giants QB Eli Manning, who discussed the 2016 Giants and playing games in Philadelphia.
Tonight’s pre-game show also show shared the inspirational story of 13-year-old New York Giants fan Deven Jackson, who despite losing both his legs to a bacterial meningitis infection, has shown the world he can still be a Giant.
Following are highlights from Football Night in Philadelphia on NBC:
Dungy on the Giants defense: “You have to give Giants general manager Jerry Reese a lot of credit. He has put the pieces together and brought guys in, but sometimes it takes time to get that chemistry. It’s not only learning their assignments, but learning each other. That has been the big improvement over the course of the season.”
Harrison: “I look at Landon Collins, a guy who made such a jump from year one to year two. I think he should be Defensive Player of the Year.”
Harrison on Olivier Vernon: “He’s a high-priced free agent. He started slow, but now he’s one of the best defensive players. And without JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul), he’s going to have to have a big night. More pressure on him to get to the quarterback.”
Dungy on Manning: “Everyone looks at Eli and they see how laid back he is, but I promise you he has the same mental toughness, the same competitiveness, and the same killer instinct as his brother Peyton.”
Harrison on Manning: “All the talk about Eli and his numbers being down, maybe he’s not the same player. One thing I know, and I know this first hand, if you get him in the playoffs, he is a very dangerous guy. And I found out in the biggest game of the year, in the Super Bowl. He is an excellent quarterback. This is the one guy that I would not want to play in the playoffs…And the one thing I noticed, too, is he’s not turning the ball over in the red zone like he did last year because now he has a defense, and he trusts that that defense will stop people and get him the ball back.”
Harrison on the playoffs: “The players don’t want to hear anything about confusing playoff scenarios. They understand one thing: if they win tonight, they can spend the weekend and have a great, merry Christmas. And that’s the best present of all, getting into the playoffs.”
Harrison: “This defense was expected to carry this team, and time and time again they’ve made a lot of costly mistakes.”
Dungy on Carson Wentz: “Philadelphia has to be pleased with Carson Wentz. They know they’ve got the right guy. He’s their quarterback of their future. He’s playing well. This record is not all on Carson Wentz.”
Dungy on Darren Sproles: “Darren Sproles looks very energized in the warm ups. He told me he’s healthy and expects to have a big impact tonight.”
Dungy: “If I’m there, I’m telling that defense, ‘You were number one in the AFC last year. You took us to the Super Bowl. Go win this game. If we have to win 2-0, and you have to score the safety, go do it. We’ve got to win.’”
Note: The Chiefs host the Broncos on Sunday Night Football on Christmas night.
INTERVIEW: Below are excerpts from Manning’s feature. If used, please note the mandatory credit: “In an exclusive interview airing on Football Night in Philadelphia.”
ELI MANNING IN HIS OWN WORDS
On the Giants defense: “The defense has been unbelievable, just their ability to not let teams get going. Sometimes a team will make a big play or get into scoring position where the defense has been outstanding holding them to field goals or getting interceptions and turnovers. Hopefully they can continue to do that.”
On how this year’s team compares to prior Giants’ Super Bowl winning teams: “This team has some similarities to our Super Bowl winning teams, just with the ability to win close games. I think that’s what good teams do.”
On Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.: “Odell is a very passionate person. He wants to be great. He practices that way, and he plays in the games with great passion. He’s an extremely explosive player. As a quarterback, you understand if you can throw an accurate pass to him and hit him in stride, there’s a great chance that can lead to touchdowns. And you also know throwing a five-yard pass can lead to 70-yard touchdowns very quickly.”
On playing in Philadelphia: “I have a lot of fond memories of playing in Philadelphia. One that sticks out is when we were down big in ‘06 (Trailed by 17 points entering the fourth quarter in Week 2 of 2006), and came back in the fourth quarter, and ended up hitting Plaxico Burress on a (31-yard) touchdown in overtime to win the game.”
On the atmosphere at Lincoln Financial Field: “Any time you play in Philadelphia, it’s going to be a rowdy crowd. You know it’s going to be a packed stadium. It’s going to be loud. The fans are going to be all over you, but you’ve got to enjoy those situations and that opportunity to try to silence the crowd.”
Coverage of tonight’s game will also be simulcast on NFL Network and live streamed on NBCSports.com (desktops), the NBC Sports app (tablets and connected TVs), Twitter, NFL Mobile from Verizon, Watch NFL Network, and NFL Game Pass (International).
–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN PHILADELPHIA–