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PETER KING ON FRANCO HARRIS & THRILLING NFL PLAYOFF RACE; SPEAKS WITH DAK PRESCOTT, CAM HEYWARD, ZAC TAYLOR, AND STEVE WILKS IN WEEK 16 EDITION OF “FMIA”

“We fought, we trusted, we gained confidence against the best team in the league by fighting back over and over.” – Cowboys QB Dak Prescott to King on Dallas’ win over Philadelphia

“Making the playoffs isn’t good enough for us. And now, going into the playoffs, we can’t afford to lose any games.” – Bengals head coach Zac Taylor to King on Cincinnati’s mentality heading into the postseason

“It’s one thing to wear the jersey. It’s another thing to embody what he was about, what the Steelers are about. I feel that’s what we did tonight.” – Steelers DT Cam Heyward to King on beating the Raiders days after Franco Harris’ death

“The Jets can’t play Wilson again this year. They’ve got to get him to the offseason and try, try, try to work on his accuracy and confidence. I don’t see it working, but it’s hard to whack the guy you drafted second overall 20 months ago.” – King on Jets QB Zach Wilson

STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 26, 2022 – Peter King speaks with Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, and Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also discusses Franco Harris, recaps Week 16 of the NFL season, and examines the Bengals’ and 49ers’ hot streaks, the Packers’ upset win over the Dolphins, and more.

On last night’s Football Night in America, King unpacked the long-standing tradition of NFL quarterbacks thanking their offensive linemen with Christmas gifts, speaking with Peyton Manning, Dan Fouts, Andrew Whitworth, and more. Click here to watch.

For more NFL coverage, Peacock offers daily programming on the NBC Sports channel for free, including Pro Football Talk at 7 a.m. ET, The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, Fantasy Football Happy Hour with Matthew Berry at Noon ET, Brother from Another at 3 p.m. ET, plus Chris Simms Unbuttoned on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and the weekly The Peter King Podcast. To learn more about the NBC Sports on Peacock channel and how to sign up, click here.

The NFL on NBC YouTube channel offers daily football content for free, with exclusive videos from Peter King – including his interviews with players and coaches at training camps – Mike Florio, Chris Simms, and more. To access all of these videos and more, click here to subscribe.

The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:

FRANCO HARRIS & STEELERS

Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward to Peter King on beating the Raiders on the 50th anniversary weekend of the Immaculate Reception and days after Franco Harris’ death: “Everyone in the organization felt Franco tonight. It’s one thing to wear the jersey. It’s another thing to embody what he was about, what the Steelers are about. I feel that’s what we did tonight.”

Heyward to King on Franco Harris’ legacy: “Franco is loved by so many people in this organization and so many players. He cared so much about everybody who came into that locker room. You interacted with Franco, no matter who you were, you were the most important person in the room.”

Heyward to King: “Sometimes I hear, ‘Why is there a statue of Franco at the airport here in Pittsburgh?’ It’s not just the Immaculate Reception. It’s everything — how he treated people, how he gave back, how he welcomed the new Steelers every year, how he was an ambassador to the franchise and to the city.”

King on the similarities between the Immaculate Reception game and Sunday’s Raiders-Steelers game: “It’s eerie. That’s what it is. The Steelers beat the Raiders 13-7 a half-century ago on a TD pass to rookie (Franco) Harris in the final minute. The Steelers beat the Raiders 13-10 Saturday night on a TD pass to rookie George Pickens in the final minutes.”

WEEK 16

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott to King on Dallas’ win over Philadelphia: “It’s how we won that I think will help us. Down 10 in the first half, down 10 in the second half. Coming back both times. You think that doesn’t mean something big to us? We fought, we trusted, we gained confidence against the best team in the league by fighting back over and over.”

Prescott to King on working through adversity: “Being the little brother, there’s a lotta times I got my ass kicked and things didn’t go my way. The only chance I had against them was to forget about what just happened, come back, respond, and beat ‘em. Sometimes I’d find my mother, I’d be crying, and she said, ‘If you can’t play with the big dogs, stay on the porch.’ So in a situation like today, early in the game, it’s about staying focused, understanding what’s happened is done. So I made a bad throw. What can I do about it? Respond. And I know I will.”

Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks to King on the Panthers’ win over the Lions: “We’re not sexy. We’re not the classic NFL team that’s going to throw it all over the place. But like I’ve told [offensive coordinator] Ben McAdoo, there’s nothing more demoralizing to a defense than not being able to stop the run.”

Wilks to King on if he should be considered for the full-time head coaching job: “I don’t look at it that way. I’ve done this job before [in Arizona, for one season], and even though it was only for a year, I understand what’s important. Stay in the moment. Win today. Try to beat Tampa. That’s all that matters.”

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor to King on Cincinnati’s mentality heading into the postseason: “We qualified for the playoffs Thursday night, and the thing I noticed with our team is no one really had any emotion about it. Making the playoffs isn’t good enough for us. And now, going into the playoffs, we can’t afford to lose any games.”

KING’S MVP WATCH – WEEK 16

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City, 2. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia, 3. Josh Allen, Buffalo, 4. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati, 5. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota

KING’S WEEK 16 AWARDS

Offensive Players of the Week: Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman, Carolina, & Joe Burrow, Cincinnati

King on Hubbard and Foreman: “The Panthers outrushed the red-hot Lions 240-21 in the first half alone, with the job-share Panther backfield-mates each gaining 109 yards. That’s a ridiculous thing to think about, two backs with 100-yard games by halftime. Hubbard and Foreman are making it very possible for Panthers at Bucs next Sunday to be a huge playoff factor.”

King on Burrow: “Speaking of ridiculous first-half performances, Burrow had the most damaging half a Bill Belichick defense in New England ever allowed. In building a 22-0 halftime lead in Foxboro against the team that used to be the Patriots, Burrow was 28 of 36 for 284 yards, with two TDs and one pick.”

Defensive Players of the Week: Nick Bosa, San Francisco, & Ray Robertson-Harris, Jacksonville

King on Bosa: “Despite injuries just about everywhere, including at quarterback, the 49ers have won eight straight, are 11-4, and have the NFC West locked up with two games to go. Bosa had two sacks in Saturday’s win against Washington, bringing his total to an NFL-best 17.5.”

Special Teams Players of the Week: Greg Joseph, Minnesota, Sam Martin, Buffalo, & Cameron Johnston, Houston

Coach of the Week: Doug Pederson, Jacksonville

King on Pederson’s first season in Jacksonville: “Who would have ever thought we’d be saying 15 games into Pederson’s tenure: You do not want to be playing the Jaguars in January. Pederson and his staff, and (GM Trent) Baalke’s personnel decisions, have made that happen.”

Goats of the Week: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami, Russell Wilson, Denver, Rhamondre Stevenson, New England, & Zach Wilson, New York Jets

King on Russell Wilson’s performance against the Rams: “Wilson has had the most disastrous season of any prime-time player in 2022, and it’s not close for second place.”

King on Zach Wilson: “The Jets can’t play Wilson again this year. They’ve got to get him to the offseason and try, try, try to work on his accuracy and confidence. I don’t see it working, but it’s hard to whack the guy you drafted second overall 20 months ago.”

NEWS & NOTES

King on Packers special-teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia’s first season in Green Bay: “Conclusion: Where’s the great impact of Rich Bisaccia? Overall, the Pack is slightly better in the kicking game this year, but it hasn’t been the overhaul the franchise had hoped for.”

Read the full FMIA column here and catch the weekly Peter King Podcast here.

The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:




    • PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio (Mondays) and Florio and Chris Simms (Tuesday-Thursday) streams on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays & is available on-demand. The Dan Patrick Show streams at 9 a.m. ET, Fantasy Football Happy Hour with Matthew Berry at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
    • ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
    • NBC Sports EDGE’s Rotoworld Football Show continues the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.
    • The NFL on NBC YouTube channel offers daily football content for free, with exclusive videos from Peter King – including his interviews with players and coaches at training camps – Mike Florio, Chris Simms, and more. To access all of these videos and more, click here to subscribe

A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.

--NBC SPORTS--