“I see this like Bulls-Pistons in the early ‘90s.” – Drew Brees on Bills-Chiefs
“The first thing you have to do is change the culture and you don’t change the culture by not flying home with the team. Twenty-eight years in the NFL and I’ve never heard of that.” – Tony Dungy on Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer
“This Browns running game may be as good as any in football.” – Chris Simms
STAMFORD, Conn. – October 10, 2021 – NBC Sports’ presentation of Week 5 of the 2021 NFL season began tonight from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., with Football Night in America leading into coverage of Bills-Chiefs on Sunday Night Football on NBC and Peacock.
Mike Tirico hosted FNIA from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1 in Stamford, Conn. He was joined at the desk by Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy and Super Bowl XLV MVP Drew Brees. Co-host Maria Taylor was joined in Studio 1 by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms.
Two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison – who held his own umbrella in the rain before getting an assist from Chiefs mascot K.C. Wolf – joined co-host Jac Collinsworth at the site of the game. NFL Insider Mike Florio provided reports from his home studio.
Pre-game coverage featured Taylor’s interview with Bills QB Josh Allen. Click here to watch the interview.
For the first time ever, Football Night in America and Sunday Night Football are streaming on Peacock Premium every week this season. Viewers can sign up here. Peacock Premium is included at no additional cost for Comcast’s eligible Xfinity X1 and Flex customers and Cox Contour customers.
Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter) and Terry McAulay (rules analyst) are calling tonight’s game.
NBC Sports’ new post-game show Peacock Sunday Night Football Final streams tonight exclusively on Peacock following Sunday Night Football.
Following are highlights from tonight’s edition of Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock:
Dungy on the Bills: “They have to understand the gap is not that big. They’ve played close games against the Chiefs, they just haven’t done it when it counts. I think Josh Allen is in the same place that Lamar Jackson was in Week 2 – you’ve got a great team, you’re playing well, but you’ve got to beat the Chiefs. He’s just got to relax and play his game tonight.”
Brees on the matchup: “I see this like Bulls-Pistons in the early ‘90s…the Chiefs have been a nemesis to the Buffalo Bills, but the Bills have improved, their defense is playing lights out and this is that opportunity for them to get over the hump…will this be the night where they can beat the Chiefs?”
Dungy on the Chiefs’ 2-2 start: “It’s kind of a Super Bowl hangover. My first meeting in the NFL as a player, Chuck Noll is my coach and he says, ‘You don’t win championships making extraordinary plays, you do the ordinary things better than everyone else.’ That’s where Kansas City is struggling to me.”
Brees on the Bills’ defense vs. Mahomes: “When you do get a free rusher, you have to find a way to keep Mahomes in the pocket and get him down. Don’t allow him to buy time and make the play…When you do have the opportunity to get Mahomes down, you have to because if he can extend the play, it’s going to be a long day.”
Dungy: “Blitzing is suicide against these guys. Look for Buffalo to play this four-man rush and count on those defensive lineman to get Mahomes down.”
Harrison on Arrowhead Stadium: “I played at a lot of stadiums, this is the loudest stadium I’ve ever played in.”
Mike Florio on head coach Jon Gruden’s reported comments on NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith: “Some in the league office feel that Jon Gruden won’t be suspended by the league. Even though a very strong statement was issued on Friday by the NFL, this happened at a time when he was employed by no NFL teams. The Raiders could possibly take action, but again, this is something that occurred in 2011, years before he returned to the Raiders as a head coach.”
Dungy on Gruden: “We heard Jon Gruden say he addressed this, he gave his side of it. He said that it wasn’t racial, he was making a comment about DeMaurice Smith and he basically attacked his character. I would accept that and just say that it was an immature way to do it, it wasn’t the right way to do it. It was 10 years ago and I’m not going to chalk everything up to racism. I think we accept his apology, move forward and move on just like he did with his team.”
Tirico on Gruden: “In being honest with the audience, I think I should weigh in a little bit here because I was with Jon at that time. (He spent) seven years as my partner on Monday Night Football – I probably know Jon better than anyone in the league on a personal level. He said he was ashamed by the comments in the email. The comments in the email are wrong. But my experience kind of parallels Tim Brown, who played for Jon, a Hall of Fame wide receiver. He said he never experienced or saw anything that would say Jon was racist in any way. That is exactly the experience I had those seven years, traveling three days together on the road every week.”
Dungy on QB Trevor Lawrence’s performance vs. the Titans: “This is what you like to see from Trevor Lawrence – quick decisions, accurate throws. He’s getting better and better.”
Dungy on circumstances surrounding head coach Urban Meyer: “I took over a team in Tampa that had 13 straight losing seasons, just like Urban Meyer stepped into a tough situation. The first thing you have to do is change the culture and you don’t change the culture by not flying home with the team. Twenty-eight years in the NFL and I’ve never heard of that. You’ve got to be there for your team all the time.”
Brees: “You need to foster that foundation of feeling like you’re doing everything you can to put your team in the best position to win. At the end of the day, the most successful teams are the ones that are player-led. You can see them starting to come together…I know they’re winless, but I think they need to be encouraged with watching their quarterback continue to develop…even though it hasn’t resulted in wins yet, I think this a team that will have success as the season goes on.”
Brees on the Saints’ offense: “It was a little sloppy. I don’t see just the rhythm, tempo passing game that just complements the run game. You get some of these splash plays, and then you get some of these well-timed, well-designed third-down plays…But besides that, the first- and second-down moving the ball, possessing the ball, just haven’t really seen that rhythm here over the last few weeks.”
Dungy on QB Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense: “The big play came back today in the passing game today…These passes are a result of the running game being effective, 147 yards rushing today really got that offense going.”
Simms on the Browns’ running game: “The two-headed monster. (Nick) Chubb and (Kareem) Hunt were phenomenal in the football game. This Browns running game may be as good as any in football.”
Simms on rookie QB Justin Fields: “He looked good today. High-percentage passes, run the ball and play through your defense – Chicago, you’re going to have a chance to win every week (if you do those things).”
Simms: “The ways that Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense can constantly get Davante Adams the football is truly amazing. It helps everything else in their offense…the ability to find ways to get the ball to Adams is as impressive as there is in the NFL.”
Simms: “The big thing in New England is, who can make a play? On both sides of the ball. Every drive has to be three, and four, and five yards at a time, and it’s just hard living that way. I think that’s something we’ve got to keep our eye on…to just take a little pressure off them always having to execute over and over and over.”
Brees: “FYI, do not play man-to-man coverage against this team if you cannot get pressure on the quarterback. There are just too many weapons on the field, and when given time, Tom Brady is going to find them.”
Dungy on QB Dak Prescott: “He’s playing with great confidence and he has a chemistry with these receivers now.”
Dungy on Arizona’s 17-10 win over San Francisco: “Sometimes when the offense isn’t clicking – this is a team used to scoring points in bunches – their defense steps up and kept them in the game.”
Dungy on rookie QB Trey Lance’s first start: “Lance did some good things offensively, but he was inconsistent throwing the ball and he missed some open receivers.”
Simms on rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase: “He took a lot of flak all preseason, right? He can catch, we know that, and if you leave him one-on-one, he is becoming a nightmare that way. You can’t cover him one-on-one. His ability to accelerate off the line of scrimmage is as good as anyone in football.”
Florio on QB Joe Burrow’s injury: “Burrow was taken to a hospital for evaluation for a throat contusion. I’m told the team believes he was poked in the throat at some point. Before he was evaluated at the hospital, he expressed a belief that everything will be fine.”
Harrison: “The last time I talked about their defense, they won the Super Bowl. But they were outstanding today…I’m surprised by the Philadelphia Eagles defense – they did a great job today.”
Simms on rookie TE Kyle Pitts: “That was a familiar combination all day – it was (Matt) Ryan to (Kyle) Pitts…Who throws posts down the middle to the tight end in a big situation? He’s unreal.”
JOSH ALLEN WITH MARIA TAYLOR
Allen on his throwback pre-game playlist which includes Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Billy Joel: “I’ve got seven songs that I have to listen to right before I come out – Can’t Help Falling In Love With You (Elvis Presley), She’s Not You (Elvis Presley), The Stranger (Billy Joel), That’s Life (Frank Sinatra), Put Your Head On My Shoulder (Paul Anka), Fly Me To The Moon (Frank Sinatra), and The Joker (Sammy Davis Jr.)… It keeps me calm, it keeps my heart rate down. I play better when I’m loose and relaxed.”
Allen on his love for movies and how his “videographic memory” helps him read opposing defenses: “I have so many different movies that I just absolutely love. Some people have photographic memories, I almost have a ‘videographic memory’ where I can watch movies in my head.
Taylor: “Does it translate to the field at all? What does that look like?”
Allen: “If we see a clip on film, I can cue back and see if they’re pressed a little on this side, I say, ‘I saw that clip, I saw him run out and then they brought two people…’ so then I just get the protection set and trust the rules.”
Allen on growing up working on a farm and his least favorite farm chore: “Moving irrigation pipes. It’s 110-degree weather, extremely hot, you have to wear long sleeves because if you touch it with your bare skin it’s going to burn you. You’re just picking it up and putting it on. So you’re sweating, it’s hot…it’s brutal.”
Taylor: “So preseason camp is nothing for you then (laughs).”
–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–