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NOTES & QUOTES FROM WEEK 1 EDITION OF FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA ON NBC

“A stadium fit for Hollywood…It looks like the Dallas stadium and the Minnesota stadium had a baby.” – Mike Tirico on L.A.’s SoFi Stadium

“The pass protection was very good today because of no crowd noise.” – Tony Dungy on the lack of fans today across the league

“He was the best defensive player I watched today.” – Rodney Harrison on new Seahawks S Jamal Adams

“He looked better than the committee in Houston.” – Chris Simms on new Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins

STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 13, 2020 – NBC Sports’ coverage of Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season began tonight with Football Night in America leading into coverage of Cowboys-Rams from the brand new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, Ca.

Mike Tirico hosted FNIA from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1 in Stamford, Conn., and was joined by Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy and former NFL quarterback Chris Simms. Due to COVID-19 precautions, two-time Super Bowl-winner Rodney Harrison and NFL Insider Mike Florio joined Football Night remotely from studios in their respective homes. Liam McHugh co-hosted the show on-site from SoFi Stadium and was joined by Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth.

In addition, Football Night aired an excerpt of an interview between new NBC Sports host Jac Collinsworth and Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott. Jac Collinsworth also joined Tirico in studio. McHugh narrated a tour of the new $5 billion SoFi Stadium while America’s Got Talent host, actor and former NFL player Terry Crews set the scene for tonight’s game.

Al Michaels (play-by-play), Collinsworth (analyst), Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter) and Terry McAulay (rules analyst) are calling tonight’s Cowboys-Rams game.

***

Following are highlights from tonight’s edition of Football Night in America on NBC:

ON SOCIAL JUSTICE

Harrison on quarterbacks: “Chris Simms talked about it on Thursday night. He said we need more prominent quarterbacks, white quarterbacks, stepping up and getting involved. Matt Ryan did exactly that down here in Atlanta. He donated $500,000 to communities in Atlanta and he told me, ‘I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help.’ Drew Brees, he spent the offseason not only listening to his teammates, but also leaders in the Black community. He stepped up and donated $5 million. So, Coach (Dungy), just like you talked about, it’s not just about talking, but these guys are making that next step in action and I’m really proud of these guys. Great work for taking action.”

Florio, who spoke to head coach John Harbaugh following today’s game: “I asked coach Harbaugh, ‘What will you say to those who will inevitably criticize the players for taking a knee during the (national) anthem?’ And he said to me, ‘I don’t know how you can criticize someone for being passionate and for believing in something important to them. They want America to be great and to realize the ideals we were founded upon. One hundred to two hundred years from now, the African-American story will be the greatest freedom story in the history of the world.’”

ON NO FANS AT GAMES

Dungy: “The pass protection was very good today because of no crowd noise.”

Cris Collinsworth: “Sometimes it actually works against you…As a wideout, you’re not used to hearing the snap counts. You’re just out there, you’re just going on the ball.”

ON RAMS

Tirico on SoFi stadium: “A stadium fit for Hollywood…It looks like the Dallas stadium and the Minnesota stadium had a baby. It’s a beautiful one. It’s a combination of the great of both places.”

McHugh on SoFi stadium: “It’s not often you can say this about a stadium, but this place is beautiful. Designed and laid out for a true L.A. sports experience.”

Dungy on picking the Rams tonight: “The Cowboys strength for years has been their offensive line. They’ve got some new guys playing and they’ve got to block Aaron Donald. I think that’s going to be a big challenge.”

McHugh: “The Rams have a rookie to watch in running back Cam Akers. His teammates say he has a certain swagger about him, but of course the LA offense, it runs through Jared Goff.”

ON COWBOYS

Cris Collinsworth on Mike McCarthy: “I think that he’s going to get back to his roots a little bit and that may mean a little bit more running than may be expected with the three wide receivers that they have on this team.”

Cris Collinsworth on what excites him about rookie WR CeeDee Lamb: “Everything. I mean this kid’s something else…When you go to Dallas and they let you put on No. 88, you know he’s a special guy and they believe in that right now.”

Jac Collinsworth on his conversation with Ezekiel Elliott: “I asked him how this team compares to the past four he’s been a part of, and he said it’s for sure the most talented. He added rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb has instantly lived up to the No. 88.”

Tirico on QB Dak Prescott’s recent comments about mental health: “Dak’s openness in these recent comments really renewed the conversations in the sports sphere about the importance of mental health. There was some criticism in the media, but full credit to the wise folks who supported Dak for his strong efforts to be honest and be a leader in a different space than the football field.”

ON PATRIOTS

Simms: “You don’t know where (Cam Newton’s) running, who’s going where. It was unbelievable game plan design by the Patriots.”

Harrison: “I look at the 2020 version of the Patriots and they’re not going to blow any teams out. They’re going to run the football, they’re going to play good defense and they’re going to play great situational football. I look at Josh McDaniels. I thought he did an excellent job of keeping the game plan simple, not allowing Cam (Newton) to overthink any situation and of course leaning on that defense, which created a lot of turnovers. We talk about Stephon Gilmore being great, start listening to J.C. Jackson. J.C. Jackson is a kid that is a tremendous corner that’s making plays for them.”

Dungy: “I love what the Patriots did. I was curious all summer, what is Josh McDaniels going to come up with for Cam Newton? Lot of play-action passes, lot of misdirection runs, quarterback runs. He’s going to have defensive coordinators staying up late at night.”

ON BUCCANEERS

Simms: “There was a lot to like…there really was. First off, be realistic -- this is a new team, they haven’t had that much preparation in the offseason, but Brady looked comfortable. I just think they have to find the kinks, work that out, and find out exactly how they want to attack as they move forward.”

ON RAVENS

Dungy on QB Lamar Jackson: “He threw the ball so well today. His ball placement was superb. He looked like a pure pocket passer…these guys were not wide open today. He was making exceptional throws from the pocket.”

ON SEAHAWKS

Harrison on S Jamal Adams: “He was the best defensive player I watched today, all over the field.”

Tirico: “We don’t mention Russell Wilson enough with the biggest names, but he was unbelievable today.”

Florio on Russell Wilson: “The saying has been, ‘Let Russ cook,’ and they let him cook. As one source close to Wilson told me today, if they don’t let him cook, it’s going to be time to start baking his farewell cake.”

ON COLTS

Tirico on turnovers by QB Philip Rivers: “New uniform, same story.”

ON BILLS

Simms on Josh Allen: “He had an unbelievable day. This is what he does. His ability to extend plays, buy time and make big-time throws on the run…Josh Allen has superstar talent. I mean, he makes our jaws drop a little bit every weekend.”

ON EAGLES

Simms: “It’s concerning. Offensive line is an issue there in Philadelphia and lack of a run game. It’s going to make it hard to put games away.”

Dungy on Carson Wentz: “If you’re up 17-0, you can’t turn the ball over. Those two interceptions really swung the momentum.”

ON CARDINALS

Simms on Kyler Murray’s running ability: “He’s special that way, he is. That’s why he gave the 49ers fits last year too because it takes away their best thing, which is their pass rush. He negates it.”

Simms on WR DeAndre Hopkins: “He looked better than the committee in Houston.”


–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–