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“FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA” – WEEK 2 NOTES & QUOTES

“As a former player, as a competitor, I’d rather lose than have a tie. It’s just crazy. The NFL needs to change it.” – Rodney Harrison on ties

“I’m very concerned. I’m a former Pittsburgh defensive player, I’m a former Pittsburgh defensive coach, and I don’t like what I’m seeing from this defense.” – Tony Dungy on the Steelers

“I like the kid. He carries himself like a veteran player. He has a short memory. He plays with a lot of confidence.” – Harrison on Sam Darnold

STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 16, 2018 – Mike Tirico hosted the Week 2 edition of Football Night in America tonight from NBC Sports’ International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn., in advance of the Sunday Night Football matchup between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. Tirico was joined on the set by analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, and NFL Insider Mike Florio.

Liam McHugh co-hosted Football Night on site from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. He was joined by the SNF team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya. He also conducted pre-game interviews with both head coaches.

Peter King, NFL insider and columnist for NBCSports.com’s Football Morning in America, interviewed New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley for a feature that detailed his transition from the Bronx to Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, and the advice his parents gave him when he had doubts about playing football.

FNIA also included highlights, analysis, and news from around the league, as well a feature with Hall of Fame and former Dallas Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith, who spoke about the Giants-Cowboys rivalry, and his impressions of RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley.

Following are Notes & Quotes from the Week 2 edition of Football Night in America:

ON GIANTS

Harrison on the Giants entering tonight: “The coaching change really helped because last year, those guys flat out quit. This year, they’re competing, they’re playing hard and I expect the same thing to happen tonight.”

Collinsworth on DL Damon Harrison: “He is basically un-blockable in the running game.”

Harrison on Barkley: “LaDainian Tomlinson came in and automatically just won our locker room over because he was such a humble guy, just like this kid. He was a hard worker, but more importantly, he gave us hope. We came off a 1-15 season. With him, we end up becoming 5-11. And, of course, we know what happened with LaDainian Tomlison – ended up being named to the Hall of Fame. I think this kid has the same potential.”

Harrison on QB Eli Manning: “The time is now. It’s time to stop making excuses for Eli. He had every opportunity last week in that football game. He could not make certain plays and he had all the weapons a quarterback could ask for. He is facing another pretty solid defense tonight. He has to make those plays.”

ON COWBOYS

Florio on potential suitors for Cleveland WR Josh Gordon: “One team to keep an eye on -- the Dallas Cowboys. Now, we’re told at ProFootballTalk.com that the Cowboys are not interested in Josh Gordon. However, one team source said earlier today, ‘With this organization, you never know.”

Dungy on DL DeMarcus Lawrence: “His mouth is watering tonight because he’s playing against Ereck Flowers, rushing off that left side. Flowers is the worst offensive lineman for the Giants. I want to see how the Giants are going to help out and stop this guy. He can wreck the game tonight.”

ON PACKERS

Harrison on QB Aaron Rodgers: “It’s amazing what I’ve witnessed the last two weeks with him. I felt like he shouldn’t have even played today…This guy is simply remarkable.”

Dungy: “He made play after play today, and you’re right – it’s the will to win, the experience, the accuracy, all those things. His team believes in him and he was doing this against not a good defense, against a great defense.”

Florio on roughing the passer penalties, particularly Green Bay LB Clay Matthews’ foul on Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins: “We’ve heard so much so far this year about the new prohibition against landing on the quarterback with most or all of a defensive player’s body weight. Referee Tony Corrente explained after the game, the issue today, and specifically with Clay Matthews on Kirk Cousins, lifting him from the ground and driving him into the turf. That’s the issue, and the league -- some people in the league -- refer to this as ‘burping’ the quarterback. So, it’s not a body weight issue, it’s a burping issue. Either way, still a foul.”

Dungy: “It was consistent. They called it on the Vikings like that, same thing, earlier in the game.”

ON PATRIOTS

Harrison: “The Patriots came out straight-up flat.”

ON JAGUARS

Harrison on QB Blake Bortles: “I saw a lot of mental toughness from him. Earlier in the year, he lost his No. 1 wide receiver, (today) didn’t have his starting running back. Last year, he was criticized for being too conservative in the AFC Championship Game when they got that lead. Today, he just kept pressing.”

Dungy: “I think you have to look at the coaching staff because in that game (the AFC Championship Game) they kind of pulled the reins in the fourth quarter and didn’t let him go. Today, they stayed aggressive and put it in his hands.”

Harrison: “That’s the only way they’re going to win a Super Bowl, if they stay aggressive offensively.”

Tirico: “Let’s not forget Doug Marrone. He’s built a tough team with a good offensive line and they did a really good job upfront today.”

ON JETS

Harrison on QB Sam Darnold’s performance on Sunday: “I like the kid. He carries himself like a veteran player. He has a short memory. He plays with a lot of confidence. Obviously, you don’t want your young quarterback turning the ball over, but you can’t ask him to throw the ball 40-plus times.”

Dungy: “I always have been saying – play these young quarterbacks. But you’re going to get some days like this where they’re a little confused. As Sam said, though, he’s going to learn from it and grow from it.”

ON STEELERS

Dungy: “I want to start in Pittsburgh where it’s bad. And it has nothing to do with Le’Veon Bell not being there. The defensive side of the ball -- missed tackle after missed tackle, blown coverages, guys running wide open, no discipline on the defense. Mike Tomlin needs to get that fixed.”

Dungy: “I’m very concerned. I’m a former Pittsburgh defensive player, I’m a former Pittsburgh defensive coach, and I don’t like what I’m seeing from this defense.”

ON CHIEFS

Dungy on QB Patrick Mahomes: “This guy has gone on the road in his first two games and been lights out.”

ON BUCCANEERS

Dungy on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: “I know Jameis Winston is their starting quarterback, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing tremendous football right now.”

Dungy on if the Buccaneers are for real: “They are. Foster’s Barber Shop (where Tony gets his haircut) is on fire right now. ‘We’re going to the Super Bowl,’ that’s what they’re telling me. These guys, they have offensive weaponry, they can move the ball on anybody and they finally have some pass-rush.”

ON FALCONS

Harrison on S Damontae Kazee’s hit on Panthers QB Cam Newton: “That was a flat-out dirty hit right there.”

ON CARDINALS

Harrison on starting Arizona rookie QB Josh Rosen: “Man, just put Josh Rosen in and stop playing. We’re wasting time right now. That’s why you drafted him.”

ON BILLS

Harrison on Vontae Davis’ halftime retirement: “At least communicate with your teammates.”

ON REDSKINS

Tirico on video showing Washington Capitals C Alex Ovechkin on the Redskins sideline: “Alex Ovechkin still partying after winning the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals. (laughter) Hockey season is coming soon.”

ON FREE AGENT K DAN BAILEY

Florio: “His phone is definitely ringing. I’m told he has previously turned down four very good offers. More offers are on the way after what happened today around the NFL, and I’m also told he is waiting for the right team.”

ON TIES

Harrison: “I’m just really irritated by this tie (in Vikings-Packers). It happened last week. The NFL has to do something about it. Think about it. As a fan, you go to the game and spend all this money to end up in a tie. Then you’re at home, you’re watching for 3.5 hours, it’s a tie. As a former player, as a competitor, I’d rather lose than have a tie. It’s just crazy. The NFL needs to change it.”

PETER KING WITH SAQUON BARKLEY

Barkley on moving from New York to Pennsylvania: “It was huge, especially for the sport of football. (Pennsylvania) football and New York football are just completely different, especially from Lehigh Valley to the Bronx. It just gave me a better opportunity. I’m so thankful and so grateful for that decision and that sacrifice my parents made.”

Barkley on when he thought he would become a football player: “I kind of had doubts for a little bit. I wanted to give up on football … just being immature, selfish, things weren’t going my way. And my father gave me some of the best advice that was ever given to me in my life: “Once you quit on one thing, you’re a quitter for the rest of your life.” That’s when my life just kind of changed for me, when my mentality started changing, when I started really envisioning myself playing in the NFL and playing college football.”

Barkley on purchasing his parents a home: “My family had their own struggles before and that’s something that I thought we never really had. We obviously always had a home but had to pay rent. Now, my mom doesn’t really have to focus on that anymore.”

Alibay Barkley on his son appearing in Madden 2018: “The one thing that I am excited (for), is that my son is on Madden. That’s crazy. To see him in it, he doesn’t have to make a man anymore. He doesn’t have to make himself. He’s there. I’m not going to lie about that one. That’s crazy.”

EMMITT SMITH ON GIANTS-COWBOYS

On playing against the Giants: “I always enjoyed playing against the Giants. You got to ready up, because you knew you were in for a battle … You get this extra level of energy because you just don’t like them.”

On Elliott: “In my eyes, I think Ezekiel Elliott is the guy to carry on the running back tradition that the Dallas Cowboys have possessed.”

On Barkley: “Saquon Barkley is just as good. When the Giants selected him, I instantly said to myself, they have just given themselves the best chance to get to the Super Bowl.”

On Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., and Barkley: “They have maybe established their own triplets in their own way.”
--FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA--