“I really didn’t like the timing, I didn’t agree with it.” – Tony Dungy on the firing of Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher
“I think he’s the best defensive tackle in all of football. He gets overshadowed because he’s on a losing team.” – Harrison on Rams DT Aaron Donald
“I am amazed at the swagger of the Seattle Seahawks in this building. There’s something about being here.” – Dungy on CenturyLink Field
“For the life of me I don’t understand why this guy is not the focal point of the offense.” – Harrison on Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham
STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 15, 2016 – Following are highlights from Football Night in Seattle, which aired prior to Thursday Night Football tonight on NBC and featured the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks. Bob Costas opened the show live from CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash. 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.
During tonight’s coverage, Costas addressed the passing of sports broadcasting legend Craig Sager (full transcript below).
Football Night coverage also included a report from Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ ProFootballTalk, and a feature on Seahawks DE Cliff Avril’s charity, The Cliff Avril Family Foundation, which educates young people about healthy living. Avril and his teammates recently built a school and held clinics in his native Haiti with the foundation.
Following are highlights from Football Night in Seattle on NBC:
Dungy on the Seahawks’ problems: “None of their superhero players play offensive line. That’s where they’ve been weak, and that’s where the Rams have given them so many problems, dominating with that defensive line.”
Harrison on the Seahawks overcoming losses: “This is a team that has a lot of experience. They feel like, ‘You know what? We’re never going to panic…we can beat those great teams at home.’”
Harrison on Kam Chancellor: “He is the emotional leader of this team.”
Dungy on CenturyLink Field: “I am amazed at the swagger of the Seattle Seahawks in this building. There’s something about being here. They know they didn’t play well last week, but they are so confident.”
Harrison on Jimmy Graham: “For the life of me I don’t understand why this guy is not the focal point of the offense. We talk about his size – he’s 6’7” – he’s quick, and he can find openings in the defense. Get Jimmy the ball.”
Dungy on Russell Wilson: “If I was Pete Carroll in the Seattle locker room, I would go to Russell Wilson and say, ‘Look, I know you had a bad game last week. You don’t have to prove to me that you’re a great quarterback. You don’t have to prove it to these fans. We don’t need exotic plays tonight, just do the job.’”
Dungy on the firing of Jeff Fisher: “I really didn’t like the timing, I didn’t agree with it. You’re trying to change the culture, and it’s not fair to new coach John Fassel to only have a couple of days to try to implement changes. To me, if you were going to make a change, you should have waited until after this game. That would have given you a better chance to win.”
Harrison on Todd Gurley addressing the team’s struggles: “I’ve played on a lot of teams, and I’ve never had a second-year player come out and criticize the team publicly. It speaks to me about the lack of leadership in that locker room.”
Harrison on Aaron Donald: “I think he’s the best defensive tackle in all of football. He gets overshadowed because he’s on a losing team.”
Dungy on Jared Goff: “I would have liked to see Jared Goff start opening day. They saw enough in this young man to trade for him and take him with the No. 1 pick in the draft. Get him in the lineup. That’s how you learn to play quarterback in this league.”
Harrison on Goff: “He always talks about the confidence he has in himself, but the problem is, he doesn’t have confidence in his offensive line.”
Florio on Rams’ Head Coach search: “I’m told that the process will begin on Friday, and the Rams intend to engage in a wide-ranging search with a lean towards an offensive coach. That will make Patriots; offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Falcons’ offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan obvious potential candidates. One key factor will be the future roles of people like General Manager Les Snead and C.O.O. Kevin Demoff in the Rams football operations.”
ON POSSIBLE TWEAKS TO THE THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL FORMAT:
Florio: “I’m told that the union will take a closer look at Thursday Night Football in the off-season, but they are reluctant at this point to recommend getting rid of it because of the fact that it generates a lot of revenue. One possibility would be to give every team that plays on a Thursday a bye on the preceding Sunday.”
Dungy: “I really think they should [tweak the format]. Richard Sherman has a complaint on the players’ side, but coaches have always said how unfair trying to prepare is. Giving teams a bye before that Thursday game would be the best thing to do.”
NBC’s NFL coverage continues this Sunday, Dec. 18, with a Sunday Night Football matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys.
Dungy on Jameis Winston: “He has really captivated the city of Tampa, he’s captivated that locker room as well. Those guys believe in him. He has taken over that leadership role and it’s been awesome to see.”
Harrison Winston: “We’ve seen the last couple weeks that these young quarterbacks have trouble playing on the big stage. Last week we saw Derek Carr struggle against Kansas City, we saw Dak Prescott struggle on Sunday Night against the Giants. The lights will be even brighter this Sunday night, the question is, can he handle that stage?”
BOB COSTAS ON THE PASSING OF CRAIG SAGER
Costas: “The sportscasting fraternity, and millions of sports fans, lost a friend today with the passing, at age 65, of Craig Sager. He had fought a long battle with leukemia, often returning to the air in between his ongoing treatments. In the best sense of the word, Craig was a character. He turned the role of sideline reporter into something distinctive. First, and most obviously, with his unique wardrobe choices, but, second, and more importantly, with his irrepressible good nature. The joy he conveyed was every bit as important as the information he conveyed. We know we speak for so many of you when we convey to his family, his colleagues and all who enjoyed his work for so long, our sympathies and our appreciation for the pleasure of his company.”
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 SEATTLE–