“If they win the Super Bowl today, it’s the final line in one of the great scripts in professional football history.” – Mike Tirico on the Bengals’ turnaround
“You have the franchise who needed a quarterback in Joe Burrow, and then you have the quarterback who needed a franchise in Matthew Stafford.” – Chris Simms on the Super Bowl LVI quarterback matchup
“They are a young, confident team that is used to winning…And that’s exactly what this Cincinnati Bengals team is doing — building a winning culture.” – Drew Brees
“He’s big on legacy…But he also told me this: if he wins a Super Bowl, there’s a strong possibility that he can walk away from the game and retire.” – Rodney Harrison on Rams DL Aaron Donald
“It wasn’t just a rule, it was a process, and the process is broken right now.” – Tony Dungy on the Rooney Rule and hiring process
“Super Gold Sunday” — the Biggest Day in Sports Media History — Continues with Primetime Olympics Coverage on NBC & Peacock Following Super Bowl LVI
STAMFORD, Conn. – Feb. 13, 2022 – NBC Sports’ presentation of Super Bowl LVI began today with a five-hour Super Bowl LVI Pregame Show on NBC and Peacock, leading into coverage of Rams-Bengals from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.
The Super Bowl LVI Pregame Show featured host Mike Tirico, who opened coverage from SoFi Stadium. Tirico is making an unprecedented sportscasting double, hosting tonight’s Olympic primetime show as well as NBC Sports’ Super Bowl halftime show and the Lombardi Trophy presentation after the game.
Maria Taylor made her Super Bowl hosting debut, starting Sunday’s pregame show at the famed Santa Monica Pier, before heading to the field at SoFi Stadium. At halftime, she will provide viewers with a “moments-away” look at what’s to come in the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show from backstage and on-field locations. After the game, Taylor will anchor from the main set at SoFi Stadium.
Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees made his Super Bowl television debut on the Super Bowl pregame show alongside Football Night in America colleagues and Super Bowl champions Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison.
Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms joined Taylor at Santa Monica Pier before making his way to SoFi Stadium, while Jac Collinsworth made his Super Bowl debut, working on the field alongside Harrison.
NBC Sports insider Mike Florio reported on all the news surrounding Super Bowl LVI from on-location in Los Angeles, and insider Peter King presented additional commentary and features on untold Super Bowl stories. Steve Kornacki, NBC News’ celebrated political correspondent, made his “Super Sunday” debut on the pregame show.
Throughout the pregame show, Michael Holley and Michael Smith from Peacock’s Brother From Another reported from the AFC and NFC team hotels, and Access Hollywood’s Kit Hoover took viewers inside the NFL Tailgate at SoFi Stadium with celebrity interviews and musical performances from The Chainsmokers.
NBC Sports’ Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rutledge Wood embarked on a “Super SoCal Adventure,” bringing viewers to various L.A. locations throughout the pregame show, including popular destinations like Venice Beach, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Hollywood Chinese Theater, and Universal Studios Hollywood.
Player and coach interviews throughout today’s pregame show included:
- Chris Simms with Rams head coach Sean McVay
- Rodney Harrison with Rams DT and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald
- Maria Taylor with Rams QB Matthew Stafford and his wife, Kelly
- Tony Dungy with Bengals head coach Zac Taylor
- Drew Brees with Bengals QB Joe Burrow
- Jac Collinsworth with Bengals DE Sam Hubbard
NBC News’ Lester Holt also interviewed President Joe Biden. Click here to watch.
Features throughout the Super Bowl LVI Pregame Show included pieces on the Untold History of the Super Bowl, Snoop Dogg’s youth football league, the 1939 barrier-breaking UCLA Football Team, Tom and Judy Coughlin and the Jay Fund, the story of three doctors saving a distressed passenger on a flight back from last year’s Super Bowl, and more.
Following are highlights from today’s Super Bowl LVI Pregame Show on NBC and Peacock:
ON SUPER BOWL LVI
Simms on the quarterback matchup: “You have the franchise who needed a quarterback in Joe Burrow, and then you have the quarterback who needed a franchise in Matthew Stafford.”
Brees on his pre-game Super Bowl experience: “Sitting in the Super Bowl locker room, that was different. It was hard not to let your mind wander and wonder, seven hours later, would I be a Super Bowl champion? And my life changed forever.”
Brees on playing against QB Matthew Stafford: “We knew we were going to have to score a lot of points because of Matthew Stafford on the other side. One thing that’s always stuck out to me about him is his arm talent and combine that with the playmakers they have on this offense, and that equals big play opportunities.”
Dungy on Stafford: “Sean McVay can dial up a lot of things, but you have to have the quarterback who can deliver…When he dials up big chunk plays, the 65-yard strike, Stafford can deliver.”
Simms on Rams head coach Sean McVay’s leadership: “We always talk about the culture that he has made so special at the Los Angeles Rams…He’s the general, but I give him a lot of respect because he listens to the troops and he’s able to leave his ego at the door…They’re buttoned up, but they’re not on edge. They’re special that way.”
Simms on WR Cooper Kupp: “I think the first thing everybody has to do is respect the specimen of Cooper Kupp…The one thing I think people don’t really realize about Cooper Kupp, and it doesn’t do it justice on TV, is how big of a human being he is…This is not some jitterbug like Wes Welker or Julian Edelman. And then to put that all in together, he can run routes like them.”
Harrison on the Rams defense: “Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris has done a great job taking over from Brandon Staley. He had the number one defense, but (Morris) took over and got his guys to buy into what he is teaching.”
Harrison on Aaron Donald: “He’s big on legacy, and he doesn’t want to be known as a defender that accomplished so many individual things, but never won a Super Bowl. But he also told me this: if he wins a Super Bowl, there’s a strong possibility that he can walk away from the game and retire…He just talked about wanting to spend more time with his family, and he talked about his body. He said he’s worked really hard on his body year-round, and he’s achy.”
Tirico on Donald: “We’re in L.A., it reminds me of Shaq (O’Neal). Physically dominant at his position where there are very dominant people, but he needed help to win a title. Aaron Donald could be at that moment in his career.”
Harrison on the Rams’ locker room motivation: “They have a lot of respect for Sean McVay, but they love Aaron Donald, and they want to win this game for Aaron Donald.”
Brees on LB Von Miller: “Von Miller is a closer. He is a game-ender…He’s also the king of the sack-fumble. If you need a play in the fourth quarter, final drive to end the game, it’s going to be Von Miller.”
Tirico on the Bengals turnaround: “It’s a Cinderella story…Two years ago, two wins. Last year, four wins. If they win the Super Bowl today, it’s the final line in one of the great scripts in professional football history.”
Cris Collinsworth on this Bengals team advancing to the Super Bowl: “These guys are so young. I was 22 years old when I went to the Super Bowl (with the Bengals) … I don’t really know if they know what they’re accomplishing here with this run…It can very much change the lives of these young people out here playing today if they can come up with just one more (win).”
Brees on the Bengals’ confidence: “They are a young, confident team that is used to winning. I remember when we all got to New Orleans in 2006, Sean Payton told us, ‘We’re not responsible for the sins of the past. We have an opportunity to blaze our own trail.’ And that’s exactly what this Cincinnati Bengals team is doing – building a winning culture.”
Tirico on Burrow: “Sometimes a young guy with an edge rubs people the wrong way, he has the most embraceable cockiness of any young quarterback I’ve been around in the NFL.”
Brees: “He has instincts and intangibles, things that attract his teammates to him, and it also makes him a really, really good quarterback at a very early age.”
Simms on Burrow’s movement: “He’s a natural. There’s nothing he can’t do on the football field. The accuracy, the decision-making, it’s all top-notch. But it’s his ability to move in the pocket and to extend plays…He just has this unbelievable sense about him to feel pressure…I think this will be a huge part of the football game today. This is the best pass rush in football, the Los Angeles Rams. Joe Burrow is going to have to make three or four plays with his legs today if the Bengals want to win this game.”
Harrison on Ja’Marr Chase: “He’s a rookie wide receiver, but he carries himself like a veteran. He reminds me of my ex-teammate Randy Moss.”
Harrison on the Bengals defense vs. the Rams: “You have to be smart if you want to play for the Bengals because they make a lot of checks, they make a lot of adjustments. The thing they do better than anybody, they do a great job of disguising coverage, which really helped us [the Patriots] win a lot of Super Bowls…You cannot allow Matthew Stafford to come to the line of scrimmage and know exactly what you’re doing.”
ON WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
Florio on new sexual harassment accusations: “I’m told for the first time ever, there is a sense among ownership that the time may have come for Daniel Snyder to move on.”
ON MINORITY COACHES
Michael Smith: “White people, white owners, white executives, white coaches – they have to take up these conversations, take up this fight, and come up with solutions that they created and that they often benefit from. I feel like we’re at Sal’s Famous in Do The Right Thing, asking ‘Why ain’t no Black people on the wall?’ Meanwhile, business just keeps booming. It’s got to be important enough to them to effectuate change. I spoke recently with a current Black offensive assistant coach, who’s got an opportunity for a career-changing promotion with another team, but the team he’s with right now is denying him that move, claiming that it’s a lateral move. Meanwhile, they won’t promote him to that same position within his own organization…People say the answer is Black ownership. The league needs Black ownership, sure, but that lets white owners off the hook. White owners just need to hire more Black coaches, it’s really that simple. They have to be accountable and this has to be important enough to them to make this a real change.”
Michael Holley: “I recently had a conversation with Art Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Our conversation reminded me of what the Rooney Rule was intended to be, what the original spirit of it was. Art’s father, Dan, was very passionate about a multi-layered approach to finding a head coach. It went like this: Number one, identify quality coaches of color. Number two, thoroughly and fairly interview them. Three, if you’re going to hire them, and this is where we get tripped up, provide resources and support so they will be successful. None of this one-and-done nonsense. The answers are right there in Pittsburgh.”
Dungy on the Rooney Rule: “It wasn’t just a rule, it was a process, and the process is broken right now. For minority hiring, yes, but for coaching in general…The system is not working. My number one reason why it’s not: the process is rushed. We’re putting everything into a three-week period of time. We’re interviewing, we’re trying to make decisions, and that period of time is during the playoffs. It can’t be done right, it can’t be done fairly. My proposal would be stop the process, slow it down. Number one, print a job description just like all corporations do. ‘This is what I’m looking for in a head coach.’ Then number two, have a moratorium on interviews and hiring until after the Super Bowl…Don’t hire until 10 days after the Super Bowl. That will let the owners slow down, gather information, and make better decisions.”
Dungy on the head coach hiring process: “The minority coaches that get interviews invariably are in the playoffs. Last year, Eric Bieniemy did five interviews in three days. I walked through it with Leslie Frazier of the Buffalo Bills this year. Over a weekend, he had an interview with the Bears, an interview with the Giants, and, oh by the way, trying to prepare to stop the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s not fair. They don’t get to show what they’re really all about. They don’t get to be as detailed.”
Brees: “In my 20 years, I had one Black quarterback coach or offensive coordinator, and of all those (other) quarterback coaches or coordinators, many of them went on to get promotions to becoming coordinators or head coaches in other places. So certainly that was a pipeline and that’s been proven with a lot of the recent head coach hiring’s…It’s a very offensive-driven league, they’re looking for guys that can develop quarterbacks, but there hasn’t been a pipeline of Black candidates that have been allowed to be in those positions for elevation. So, I think it would be a great pipeline of progress to have more Black candidates in those positions of coordinator or quarterback coach that would get the opportunity to become head coaches.”
Dungy: “I get so sick of hearing about this pipeline being not there. We didn’t think there were a lot of Black quarterbacks back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. They were there, we just didn’t give them an opportunity. I think it’s the same thing with minority coaching now.”