And we round out a busy Sunday with the last press release from the networks, NBC’s quotes from Football Night in America which includes Bob Costas’ long-winded halftime commentary that again made no sense. I used to be a big Costas fan, but these last few years have made me dislike him. Whether it was his work on HBO or his commentaries that smack of elitism, I’m really down on him right now.
Anyway, we have the quotage from tonight’s Football Night in America.
“Maybe it’s time to reboot the system.” – “Football Night’s” Bob Costas on the NFL’s Instant Replay system
“I didn’t try to minimize what we did at all.” – Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels to “Football Night’s” Peter King on the team’s video taping scandal“I don’t know if they’re great or even really good. But they’re dangerous.” – “Football Night’s” Dan Patrick on the BearsNEW YORK – November 28, 2010 – Following are highlights from NBC Sports’ “Football Night in America.” Bob Costas hosted the show live from Lucas Oil Stadium and was joined on site for commentary by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. Co-host Dan Patrick, analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, and reporters Peter King and Mike Florio covered the news of the NFL’s 12th week live from NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios. Alex Flanagan reported from Soldier Field in Chicago on the Eagles-Bears game.Also included below is Costas’ halftime essay on the NFL playoff picture.ON BRONCOS’ SPYGATE(Later in the program) King on speaking with Josh McDaniels postgame today: “I talked to him minutes ago and we obviously talked about the report earlier on Fox Sports where it was said in a staff meeting on Friday that Josh McDaniels basically minimized what had happened in Denver versus what had happened in a systemic way in New England. And he told me and I quote, “I didn’t try to minimize what we did at all. What we did was very serious and I feel bad it’s being represented that I have any inside knowledge of the New England situation because I really don’t.” I also asked him, are you worried that you are just not going to be able to right this ship and you are going to lose your job? And he said, ‘I have no control over that. I’m just going to try to coach this team the best I can and get wins down the stretch.’”
ON INSTANT REPLAY SYSTEMCostas narrated a piece about the NFL Instant Replay system that highlighted numerous controversial plays from this season. Patrick, Dungy and Harrison then reacted to the piece.Costas: “With a growing list of reviewable plays and with so many evenly matched teams playing close games, replay challenges can have enormous impact. The result is increased pressure on coaches with some keeping the red flags in their pockets in key situations. Sometimes at significant cost…Overall, the replay system has been a plus. But on those occasions when its design complicates its core function, providing an efficient mechanism to correct obviously erroneous calls, then maybe it’s time to reboot the system.”Dungy on a solution: “I think it’s the college system where they review all scoring plays. We were at the Notre Dame-Army game and a play happened right in front of us, looked like a touchdown. They looked at it quickly, saw that it wasn’t, put it back at the one-yard line. It only took a minute. I think they can do that. It would take a lot of pressure off the coaches.”Harrison: “The players don’t care. They think, ‘Review every single time you get an opportunity. We don’t care.’”Patrick: “We saw this in the Falcons game today. This could have ramifications in the playoffs because this was a call that should have been reversed with Tony Gonzalez. It’s a fourth-down call and he doesn’t make the catch. But Mike McCarthy, the visiting coach, he can’t replay this.”Dungy: “Right. He’s not going to get a view of this. The home team is not going to show this in the stadium. This happened just outside of two minutes. If it had happened in the two-minute situation, it would have been reviewed and overturned automatically.”Harrison: “The bottom line is, the players just want the officials to get it right, whatever that entails…Whatever it takes because we don’t want our playoff hopes or our Super Bowl hopes to get affected by one missed call.”ON ANDRE JOHNSON-CORTLAND FINNEGAN FIGHTDungy: “When I was at Indy, we played against Tennessee twice a year. I always warned my players, ‘You have to keep your cool, especially against Cortland Finnegan. He’s going to try to get on your nerves.’”Harrison on the Titans: “This is no surprise to me. This is their personality. They’re dirty. They’re cheap. Whenever we played this team, the coaches would always say, ‘Guys, beware. They’re going to take a cheap shot at you. They’re going to try and provoke you to doing something.’”Patrick: “You paid the price, too. They went after your knee when you played.”Harrison: “They tore my knee up.”ON CHARGERSCostas: “Peyton Manning is already established as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Phillip Rivers is quickly establishing himself as one of the elite quarterbacks of today.”Michaels on Rivers and Manning: “It wouldn’t surprise me if either of these guys wound up winning the MVP award…Philip Rivers has everything that Manning does except an MVP award and a Lombardi Trophy. But Philip Rivers, while some people haven’t been looking, has been having one of the most spectacular seasons ever.”Collinsworth: “This football team now, you have to say, they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, if they can get there. To me, it is so clear cut that they are the most talented football team (in their division).”Harrison on Rivers: “I think he’s the MVP.”Patrick: “But you look at an offense that’s great, a defense statistically that’s been great, they’re 5-5, why?Dungy: “Only one reason. Early in the season, special teams really let them down… They’ve had four punts blocked and it’s really just lack of communication…(While describing a play) the guard blocks the wrong man. He blocks number four instead of number three. They’re going to let someone come clean. This has happened four times to San Diego and it’s only happened six times to the other 31 teams. That’s why they’re 5-5.”Harrison: “Great teams and great coaches realize the importance of special teams. When I played for Belichick he said, ‘I don’t care what your accolades are. I don’t care how many Pro Bowls you’ve been to. If you’re a starter or not, you’re going to play on special teams. I played on three Super Bowl teams and we only had two punts blocked over 50 games.”ON COLTSCostas: “It’s inevitable that some day Bill Polian is going to be in the Hall of Fame.”ON FALCONSHarrison: “Not only the best team in the NFC, probably the most physical. They came out with Michael Turner and completely dominated this Green Bay defense, and Matt Ryan made some key throws.”ON BEARSPatrick: “I don’t know if they’re great or even really good. But they’re dangerous.”Cutler to Flanagan: “It’s just attitude. The offensive line is really taking responsibility. I have a lot of pride in that and you know they played well today…We want to fly under the radar. We’re not worried about anybody else. We’re worried about the guys in the locker room, our coaches, our systems. We just got to keep winning. We don’t want a target on our back. The more we win though, people are going to start taking notice.”Peppers to Flanagan on how the defense has been carrying the offense: “We carry each other. We’ve been playing well on defense but offense, they’ve been coming along for the past couple of weeks. We carry each other at times and that’s how it works.”ON VIKINGSDungy on Leslie Frazier: “He was excited. First game, they get a win. He had talked about protecting the ball and controlling the line of scrimmage. They did it and he was really happy.”ON 49ERSKing on Mike Singletary: “Very thin ice. Unless Mike Singletary has a remarkable last month or so with this team, I think he will be fired at the end of the season. Two of the candidates for this job: No. 1 is going to be Jon Gruden. No. 2, unless…Jim Harbaugh takes the Michigan job before that, I believe the Stanford coach would be very high on the 49ers list.”ON BUFFALOHarrison on Fred Jackson: “Best player you’ve never heard of.”
Bob Costas’ Halftime EssayBack at Lucas Oil Stadium, where we note that over the past decade, by Thanksgiving or so, they are usually ready to print playoff tickets around here. But in this particularly unpredictable season, the injury-ravaged Colts need a comeback win tonight just to nudge a game in front of Jacksonville in the AFC South.And it’s like that everywhere you look. If San Diego wins tonight, no division leader will hold a lead of more than a game. Several divisions are deadlocked. Looking at it another way, only eight of the 32 teams are without a realistic playoff shot as we hit the season’s final month.A final month that will include likely division-deciders Indy versus Jacksonville; Eagles and Giants; Bears at frozen Lambeau on January 2; Baltimore-Pittsburgh next Sunday night; Jets and Patriots the night after that. Now that one, Jets and Patriots, could determine not only the AFC east, but home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs. And then there’s New Orleans and Atlanta two nights after Christmas.In case you haven’t noticed, at the moment, it’s Atlanta that surprisingly holds the upper hand in the NFC at 9-2 after today’s key win over the packers. This may be the perfect year for a team like the Falcons. Certainly not overwhelming, instead, consistent and efficient. With Michael Vick now an Eagle, it’s the former Boston College Eagle, Matt Ryan at quarterback. In most precincts, ‘Matty Ice’ is not exactly a household name, at least, not yet. The Falcons also have a very good coach, but one who practically defines low profile. I mean his name is Mike Smith — to be any more generic than that, he’d have to be John Doe.But in a season like this, it may be an under-the-radar team that ultimately soars highest. And we can look to Georgia for the proof, because, as we speak, the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC goes through Atlanta.
And that will do it. I’ll be back on Monday.