“He’s the best quarterback in the game right now…He can beat you with brains and brawn.” – Chris Simms on Bills QB Josh Allen
“They got this guy to be the Mariano Rivera, the closer, when the other team has the ball with two minutes left (to) throw that 95 mile-per-hour fastball and win the game.” – Tony Dungy on Bills LB Von Miller
“When you’re a Super Bowl champ, you’re going to lose some people, you’re going to have some holes…I think it’s going to be tough for the Rams to repeat and I don’t think they do it.” – Dungy on the Defending Super Bowl Champion Rams
“I see why they should be favorites in the AFC…This team, they’re aware of all the expectations. They’re not putting added pressure on themselves.” – Rodney Harrison on the Bills
Tom Brady and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Visit Dak Prescott and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Dallas in Season Debut of Sunday Night Football in Three Days on Sept. 11 – Coverage Begins with Football Night in America at 7 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock
STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 8, 2022 – NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2022 NFL season began tonight with a special on-site edition of Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock, leading into coverage of the NFL Kickoff Game, as the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.
Tonight’s FNIA featured host Maria Taylor, Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy, former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison, fantasy sports industry pioneer Matthew Berry and NFL Insider Mike Florio, who contributed remotely from his home studio. Jac Collinsworth and former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett contributed from Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., where they are calling the Fighting Irish’s home opener against Marshall on Sat., Sept. 10, at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.
Pre-game coverage also included the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI banner raising, NFL Kickoff concert performances by J Balvin, and excerpts from numerous interviews by the FNIA team. See below for the complete interviews found on the NFL on NBC YouTube channel:
- Chris Simms with Bills quarterback Josh Allen
- Rodney Harrison with Bills linebacker Von Miller
- Maria Taylor with Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford
- Tony Dungy with Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles
NBC News also reported on the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), Melissa Stark (sideline reporter) and Terry McAulay (rules analyst) are calling tonight’s 2022 NFL Kickoff Game.
Following are highlights from tonight’s special NFL Kickoff edition of Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock:
Harrison on the Bills’ expectations this season: “I see why they should be favorites in the AFC…This team, they’re aware of all the expectations. They’re not putting added pressure on themselves. When I was there, they were having a good time — they were laughing, they were smiling, they seem very loose and very confident.”
Dungy: “The thing I worry about with them – same thing happened with us in Indianapolis – you keep losing in the playoffs and everybody talks Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl, you have to get past Kansas City. I think they have to focus on the season (and) not worry about Kansas City so much.”
Cris Collinsworth: “This is a franchise that hasn’t even been to a Super Bowl in almost 30 years and yet, they are that kind of favorite. I think it’s amazing just considering how tough the AFC is going to be.”
Simms on QB Josh Allen: “He’s, to me, the best quarterback in the game right now. He’s got incredible talent, he’s a great leader, he works hard, he’s smart, and what he does on the football field, it’s hard to stop…What puts him over the top, to me, he’s the second-best running quarterback in football behind Lamar Jackson…He’s a very special player, he’s a superstar, he can beat you with brains and brawn.”
Dungy on LB Von Miller: “They got this guy to be the Mariano Rivera, the closer, when the other team has the ball with two minutes left (to) throw that 95 mile-per-hour fastball and win the game.”
Simms on Miller and Buffalo’s defense: “They needed a playmaker on that defensive line to take a little pressure off of (Sean) McDermott and Leslie Frazier. The defensive line in general, I’m excited to see what Buffalo brings to the table. A lot more big people in the middle, they’ve got incredible depth, so it’s going to be exciting to see. They need to protect these young corners tonight.”
Simms: “What we noticed at the Buffalo practice a few weeks ago, I notice that same energy here today. It’s a team on a mission…They’re hungry.”
Harrison on the Rams as defending Super Bowl champions: “You know how difficult it is to win one Super Bowl, but then to try to come back and recreate that same energy, that passion, that sense of urgency, it’s very difficult to do. When I look at the Rams, they have everything that they need in order to repeat – they have talent, they have leadership, they have a great coaching staff – but I still don’t believe they will repeat.”
Dungy: “When you’re a Super Bowl champ, you’re going to lose some people, you’re going to have some holes. Their starting left tackle is new, their second wide receiver, their best edge pass rusher is not here. Those are big holes to fill…I’m with you, I think it’s going to be tough for the Rams to repeat and I don’t think they do it.”
Harrison on the Rams’ defense: “I know they lost Von Miller, I think this defense is still going to be excellent. You look at defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, he’s done a wonderful job replacing Brandon Staley. You look at the continuity that they have on that defensive line. They still have Aaron Donald who’s the best player on the planet. They add Bobby Wagner, who’s a tackling machine from sideline to sideline, this defense is still going to be for real.”
Dungy on QB Matthew Stafford and head coach Sean McVay: “That Stafford-McVay relationship was excellent last year, but it will grow even more. I know my second year with Peyton (Manning), I learned what concepts he liked, what he didn’t like, and how to push him and challenge him a little bit more. They will grow this second year, no question.”
Taylor on Stafford: “Matthew Stafford said this offseason that if you looked at what he knew about this team and offense a year ago at this point, it’s so small in comparison to what he knows now. So he was playing from behind a year ago, now he’s playing ahead.”
Berry on the Rams’ receivers: “(Cooper) Kupp is so versatile, one of the best wide receivers in football – fantasy and real life. I think Allen Robinson has a big game…Sean McVay wants to attack that inexperienced Bills secondary that doesn’t have Tre’Davious White tonight.”
Garrett on Week 1 game against Dallas: “There’s some issues down there in Tampa, particularly on that offensive line with three new starters in the interior. Tom Brady is at his best when they’re balanced. They have to run the football against these guys, they have to throw it quick and they have to pick their spots throwing it deep because Dan Quinn, he’s going to move those guys around. Micah Parsons, Demarcus Lawrence, they’ll be all over the place.”
Garrett: “They have to quiet the game down. They have to hand the ball to Zeke Elliott time and time again in the middle of the defense. It might not be real productive, but they have to be patient and then make some plays with run after the catch…One thing they can’t do, throw it 58 times like they did last year (in the 2021 NFL Kickoff Game). They have to be balanced. That’s the formula against this (Tampa Bay) defense.”
Florio on QB Lamar Jackson’s contract situation: “There are two problems between the Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson to this point. First, he doesn’t have an agent. Now he’s never had an agent, but he is in the process of negotiating an unprecedented contract without the assistance of pretty much anyone. And at a time where he’s focusing on playing football, he has less time to negotiate with the team…I’m told he recently spoke with at least one agent, but for now he has no plans to hire one. The second problem is the five-year fully-guaranteed contract that the Browns gave to quarterback Deshaun Watson earlier this year. Lamar, who was the MVP of the league in 2019, has every right to want a contract like that, but the Ravens have every right to say, ‘We’re not doing it’ and that’s been their position. They refuse to do a fully guaranteed contract. So the question becomes what is the best they will do and does it make sense for Lamar Jackson?…What he needs now is someone who can talk to the Ravens and then talk to him about all the risks of taking the deal, not taking the deal, and how everything can play out moving forward.”
Sunday Night Football — America’s No. 1 primetime television show for an unprecedented 11 consecutive years — debuts in three days on Sunday, Sept. 11, as seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit Dak Prescott and the defending NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. With a win, Brady will break a tie with Aaron Rodgers (22 wins each) as the winningest quarterback on Sunday Night Football since the show debuted during the 2006 NFL season. Coverage begins with Football Night in America — the most-watched studio show in sports — at 7 p.m. ET, leading into kickoff at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock and Universo.
—FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA—