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“When I was there, I know when things like that happened either you were going to get sat down on the bench or you would get cut.” – Rodney Harrison on Patriots defensive breakdowns

“I didn’t expect this type of quarterback play from Jared Goff…Sean McVay has changed the culture there.” – Tony Dungy on the Rams

“At some point they want something that brings this to an end. The reality is there just may not be an answer like that.” – Florio on the NFL and the National Anthem protests

STAMFORD, Conn. – Oct. 1, 2017 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America, which aired prior to tonight’s Week 4 Sunday Night Football matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks. Mike Tirico opened the show live from inside CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash. Tirico was joined on site by the Sunday Night Football team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya.

Dan Patrick co-hosted Football Night, the most-watched studio show in sports, from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1 in Stamford, Conn. He was joined by Super Bowl-winning head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dungy; two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison; and NFL Insider Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. Paul Burmeister reported from Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo., on the Raiders-Broncos game.

Pre-game coverage included Tafoya’s interview with Seahawks DE Michael Bennett.

There was also a tribute to former NBC Sports NHL commentator Dave Strader, who passed away earlier today from cancer.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:


Florio: “The NFL wants to find a solution that is a permanent solution. The problem is there may not be one. At a meeting this week with owners discussing this, Jerry Jones, the owner of the Cowboys, said ‘why don’t we just do what the Cowboys did on Monday night. Kneel before the anthem and then stand up?’ The response was, ‘that’s fine, but when does that end? Is this permanent? Do we do it every week?’ So at some point they want something that brings this to an end. The reality is there just may not be an answer like that.”

Patrick: “Can you get the NFL and NFL Players Association on the same page on this?”

Florio: “So far, they’re not. They never are, so you shouldn’t be surprised.”


Michaels on Seahawks play this year: “It just to me feels a little bit different this year…they’re struggling offensively, they’re struggling defensively. This is a game obviously they should win. If they don’t, it will be a whole different narrative around here tomorrow.”

Tirico: “We love coming here. One, it’s a great city. But it’s a great group of individuals to talk with -- mature, thoughtful, and great conversation that’s not limited to just Xs and Os.”

Florio: “I talked to Michael Bennett’s lawyer on Saturday and he said that regardless of any video, that may or may not be out there that the police made available, the most critical item of evidence will never be available -- the body camera footage from the officer that originally detained Michael Bennett, allegedly put a gun to his head, and put Michael Bennet in this fear that can’t be corroborated now by video. So, it’s basically Michael Bennett’s word against the officer’s word with no video that will ever fully confirm or debunk that.”

Patrick on defensive troubles: “What is missing here?”

Harrison: “Trust. They have to trust one another.”


Collinsworth on Frank Gore: “Still a major factor.”

Michaels on Jacoby Brissett: “It doesn’t seem too big for him. He came in (to our meeting), he was confident, he was smiling. He said, ‘I’m getting it together.’ He played well last week, he beat Cleveland, he had three touchdowns -- two on the ground and one through the air. Remember, Bill Parcells got to know him when Brissett was in high school, Parcells has stayed in touch with him. Then he’s under Belichick. So he’s been weaned by Parcells and Belichick. That is not a bad daily double.”


Harrison on defensive breakdowns: “When I was there, I know when things like that happened either you were going to get sat down on the bench or you would get cut. If I’m Matt Patricia, if it happens the first two games, okay, maybe it’s the players’ fault. After that, I’m looking at myself. He has to simplify the defense, maybe install two or three defenses, just so they can get used to playing and not blowing coverages.”

Dungy: “This can be fixed because this is not talent. This is not guys getting beat...This is turning guys loose, wide open with no one covering them.”

Harrison: “You have to have a leader in the secondary.”

Dungy: “I would have to say that the Patriots are in more trouble (than their Super Bowl opponent Atlanta). To me, anytime when you’re not playing defense, when you can’t stop people, that’s trouble. It’s fixable, but they’ve got to fix it quick.”


Patrick on Deshaun Watson: “Can’t help but shake your head and say, he couldn’t beat out Tom Savage in Bill O’Brien’s eyes and now look at what he is doing.”

Dungy: “I do not understand it. I met this kid in Tampa at Clemson’s National Championship Game and he has what you’re looking for. Players gravitate to him. He makes things happen.”

Harrison: “He provides them with hope offensively. With scrambling and all of the running around, it helps the offensive line, but also it gets the defense excited. As good as that defense is, they get discouraged every time they come out and you have to punt the ball. He gives them hope.”

Dungy: “He brought a ton of energy to this team, no question.”


Harrison on Todd Gurley: “They’re starting to use him like Le’Veon Bell.”

Harrison on Sean McVay: “For a new coach to come in and really demand the respect and attention of these young men, that means he’s doing a great job.”

Dungy: “I didn’t expect this type of quarterback play from Jared Goff…Sean McVay has changed the culture there.”


Harrison on the success of Deshaun Watson: “It sends a message to the Chicago Bears to put Mitchell Trubisky in.”


Harrison on Antonio Brown’s fit: “He’s still got to keep his composure. You can’t be throwing coolers.”


Harrison on Joe Flacco: “It looks like he’s completely lost his confidence.”

Dungy on Flacco: “He seems uncertain in the pocket…He needed (training) camp. It’s going to be an ongoing process. He’ll get better as the season goes on.”


Patrick: “(Despite their record) We always have some trepidation when we watch Detroit.”


Harrison: “They have to spend some money on the offensive line and protect Eli Manning.”

Bennett: “I’ve seen veterans out there protesting, and it’s their right to do that. I just wanted to pull over and get the chance to understand. If I’m going to show and ask for certain things, I need to ask that of myself, to be in that position. To sit there and have a conversation with them. To hear their stories and understand that a lot of things that they’ve been through, I’ve never experienced. A lot of things that I’ve been through, they’ve never experienced. So, there’s some common ground and things that we share such as values and what we believe in. To have that conversation, to have them understand me, and for me to understand them was very emotional for me…I learned that they’re not that much different form me or different from what we want to do. Everything that they did in the military, is about team. For me, it’s the same thing in football. Everything we do is about team and brotherhood. It was just about listening to them. That’s what they really love, that I took the time to stop. I could have done anything. To me, it was about stopping and hearing their voice.”

Bennett on why he sits during the anthem: “My intention is to change the culture. We had to come to a belief that what we do does not define who we are. What we do does not make us. How we love, that defines us, and how we care for the people, that’s what defines us. That’s what we talked about. How can we care and how can we give to the community and show people that we have compassion for both? We have nothing against the military flag. We love the military and America. But, we don’t love oppression, we don’t love discrimination, we don’t love racism. For us that’s what it was about.”

“I simply ask the question – why in the game do we feel unified, but once we leave that stadium, we’re not unified? For me, that’s just what it is really about, and I just worry that people get so lost in a demonstration and what we’re trying to do that I just want to keep the message. The message has always been that we want equality for every single human being. For me, it’s about human beings treating people great. That’s what it’s about every single day.”

Bennett on defense struggles: “For us it’s just tightening it down and making sure we’re just sticking to the keys. Sometimes when you are a part of something for so long, you forget the little part of it. Making sure we communicate, because sometimes, we’ve been playing the defense and you might think that person knows something, but over-communicating is better than under-communicating, I learned that in marriage. Over-communicating is always better.”

Bennett on his small shoulder pads: “My shoulders are so big. You have to see it from my point of view like Coach Carroll, my shoulders are so big that it makes my shoulder pads look small. I really have normal shoulder pads, but, to the common eye they really can’t see my shoulders…I have great hands, I use my hands really good. No matter where I’m at around the country, people always ask me about my pads. They’re small, but I love them. I just feel free, back in Tampa in college, I always used to have them, and then they just started getting smaller and smaller. It just makes me feel free out there. I just love my pads.”

Bennett on how he feels when he makes a sack: “It’s just so great. It’s like the first time every single time. Making a sack is really cool. It’s one of the best parts about playing the game. You work so hard to get that sack, and when you finally get it, it’s like everything.”

Bennett on the team’s recent struggles: “I know who we are, I just want to want to see us be ourselves. Being ourselves is great.”\