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PETER KING RIDES TO WORK WITH BENGALS HEAD COACH ZAC TAYLOR AHEAD OF SUPER BOWL LVI IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN

“We’re winning these playoff games because we’re winning these close games. Our players have been situational masters.” – Bengals head coach Zac Taylor to King

“Pupil doesn’t sound like he’ll be overwhelmed by teacher on the other sideline Sunday. Doesn’t seem like his quarterback will be either.” – King on Taylor facing his former boss, Rams head coach Sean McVay

“His legacy should be that he showed future generations of athletes in all sports that, if you take care of yourself religiously and intelligently, you can play years longer than people in your position group have played in prior generations.” – King on Tom Brady’s retirement

NBC Sports Super Bowl LVI Game Broadcast Crew Conference Call TODAY at 1 p.m. ET; Pregame Show Conference Call Tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET

NBC Sports Presents Super Bowl LVI on NBC, Peacock and Telemundo, this Sunday, Feb. 13

STAMFORD, Conn. – Feb. 7, 2022 – Peter King rides to work with Bengals head coach Zac Taylor as he prepares for Super Bowl LVI in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also discusses Brian Flores, Tom Brady’s retirement, the Dolphins’ hiring of Mike McDaniel as head coach, and more.

NBC Sports will present Super Bowl LVI (Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals) on NBC, Peacock and Telemundo this Sunday, Feb. 13.

Today at 1 p.m. ET, NBC Sports’ game broadcast crew featuring Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya, Kathryn Tappen, and Terry McAulay join executive producer Fred Gaudelli and director Drew Esocoff to preview Super Bowl LVI on a media conference call. Click here for details.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. ET, NBC Sports’ pregame coverage team featuring Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Chris Simms, and Mike Florio join NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood to preview Super Bowl LVI on a media conference call. Click here for details.

For more NFL coverage, Peacock offers daily programming on the NBC Sports channel for free, including Pro Football Talk at 7 a.m. ET every weekday, Safety Blitz, Chris Simms Unbuttoned, The Peter King Podcast, The Rich Eisen Show, Brother from Another, and The Dan Patrick Show. To learn more about the NBC Sports on Peacock channel and how to sign up, click here.

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

ZAC TAYLOR & THE BENGALS

King on riding to work with Bengals head coach Zac Taylor: “The Super Bowl week FMIA dawns in predawn Cincinnati…Dark. Nearly pitch black. At 5:20 a.m., last Tuesday, I inched my rental car onto Bengals coach Zac Taylor’s street on the east side of town.”

King on the Bengals’ run to the Super Bowl: “Wouldn’t you be shocked if your team, 4-11-1 last year, was headed for the Super Bowl for the first time since Zac Taylor was 5? … Taylor understands why the world is shocked. He’s not. He seems … grateful. The first thing we talked about: the game balls he and some players were spreading on surprise visits throughout the region.”

Taylor to King on presenting game balls to fans in Cincinnati after Playoff victories: “You’ll drive through, late on a Thursday night, Friday night, or coming home on a Sunday night from a road game or home game. Just packed. That’s not something we really get to experience during the season, people celebrating games. I always kind of dreamed of big moments and being able to go in there and share that with the people. They’ve been through a lot here. Some really fun moments that I got to enjoy with a lot of really cool people.”

King the Bengals ascent: “Taylor didn’t know, obviously, after starting 6-25-1 in his first two years, that he’d be in the Super Bowl in year three. But year three brought beautiful play from (Joe) Burrow, who has ascended to the lofty peak of Mahomesville in a flash, and better defense than anyone thought was possible, and a rookie kicker, Evan McPherson, who’s been hotter than any rookie kicker in the 102-year history of the NFL.”

Taylor: “I think it was impossible to know in training camp. We knew we had the right character and we had enough talent. But how was it gonna jell together? As you get really to the midway point in the season, you know what this league is about. It’s about getting hot in December…We’re winning these playoff games because we’re winning these close games. Our players have been situational masters.”

Taylor on Burrow: “Joe is so prepared. That’s where the confidence comes from. I don’t see one ounce of false confidence with him. Everybody in our building sees how prepared he is on a Wednesday. We see it in the Saturday meetings when we’re doing our final quarterback meetings, and we’re playing Jeopardy.”

Bengals assistant receivers coach Brad Kragthorpe to King on playing ‘Quarterback Jeopardy’ the night before games to prepare for their opponent: “Pretty sure [former Bengals assistant] Alex Van Pelt started it with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay…Alex was here a couple years. He’s in Cleveland now, but we’re still doing it…I think it’s fair to say Joe wins more than his share.”

Taylor on Burrow playing in his first Super Bowl: “Joe’s built for these stages...He always knew he was gonna be on this stage in the NFL. It’s something he’s envisioned and worked towards and expected it to happen. I’m very confident that he’ll walk onto that field a very confident quarterback.”

King: “Taylor will coach against one of his former bosses, (Rams head coach Sean) McVay. He’s grateful for what he learned from McVay…Pupil doesn’t sound like he’ll be overwhelmed by teacher on the other sideline Sunday. Doesn’t seem like his quarterback will be either.”

THE WEEK IN NFL NEWS

King on the Dolphins hiring of Mike McDaniel: “The McDaniel path started when he was a 5-9, 146-pound backup wide receiver at Yale two decades ago. In the span of a few months, he went from the Yale campus to an intern under the gruff and demanding offensive line coach Alex Gibbs in Denver. Six teams later, in 2021, Kyle Shanahan promoted him to offensive coordinator with the Niners. McDaniel prides himself on communication, which may have been big with Miami.”

King on McDaniel: “I hear one positive point for McDaniel was Miami learning Deebo Samuel spent a half-hour in his offensive coordinator’s office every Tuesday as that week’s game plan was being finalized. Samuel, in a recommendation to Miami, also credited McDaniel with teaching him how to be a better pro…For Miami, McDaniel means a new tutor for Tua Tagovailoa.”

King on his idea on hiring minority coaches in the NFL: “I’d recommend this rule: Every team would be required, starting with the 2022 regular season, to have a full-time minority coach who would touch the quarterback and passing game every day. Not a quality-control coach, but rather an assistant quarterbacks coach, or some such title. This coach would work alongside the coordinator, quarterback coach and quarterbacks in the granular world of teaching/coaching the most important position on the field – and increase the pool owners are so desperate to choose from right now.”

Maryland head coach and head of the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches Mike Locksley to King on his idea: “You’re on the right track. You’ve got to be able to touch the quarterback to get in that pool to rise in the NFL. But I’m not sure of even that. Lately, the goalposts keep moving. But I can tell you: The [Black] coaches are out there.”

King on Brian Flores: “I’ve been covering the NFL for 38 years, and the biggest legal thorn in the NFL’s side since 1984 was Al Davis’ consistent war with the league over where the Raiders would play. Jerry Jones challenging how teams could use their marks and team sponsorships was more of an inside-baseball thing. The case of ex-Miami coach Brian Flores is far different, and more threatening to the powerful and influential in the league.”

King on Flores’ case: “If Flores can prove the case – and he’d better have at least one rock-solid witness – the implications would be massive. It could force the NFL to confront tanking and change the draft to a lottery, as the NBA does. It would force Ross to sell the franchise and perhaps to be charged with a crime. And with the NFL being in bed with gambling companies all of a sudden, the league would have to put more guardrails in place to assure there’s no funny business with the outcome of games. There’s a lot at stake.”

King on Tom Brady’s retirement: “I think his legacy should be significantly fuller than just being perhaps the great football player of all time (isn’t that enough?), with his seven Super Bowl wins. His legacy should be that he showed future generations of athletes in all sports that, if you take care of yourself religiously and intelligently, you can play years longer than people in your position group have played in prior generations.”

King on Brady: “I wonder how many quarterbacks in the next 30, 40 years will play till 43, 45, maybe 47, and when they retire, credit Brady and his methods for the longevity. I never asked Brady, but I bet that would mean more to him than quarterbacks telling him what a great player he was.”

NEWS & NOTES

King on new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett: “Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett is hiring a coach for his coaches, a teacher for his teachers on the Broncos coaching staff. Hackett is eying an expert in education and technology who will work with each coach to improve engagement with players by learning different and more technologically advanced teaching methods.”

Hackett to King on his process: “I am a little bit of an outlier in this profession. I love being different. I majored in neurobiology in college, and there was a chance I was going into the medical field. But what the different paths taught me is there’s not just one way to do anything. I decided I loved coaching football. It’s so dynamic, so diverse, so ever-changing. You’d better be able to engage this generation of players. This is the YouTube generation.”

King on the Raiders hiring defensive coordinator Patrick Graham: “I think it’s not good for the Giants to lose defensive coordinator Patrick Graham to the Raiders. But for the 42-year-old Graham, I can see exactly why he’d make the move…because he’s good friends with Brian Flores (they worked together on Bill Belichick’s staff with the Patriots, and then together in 2019 in Miami), and because he admires Josh McDaniels, the move to Las Vegas makes sense.

King on the Packers hiring Rich Bisaccia as Special Teams Coordinator: “I can’t think of a better assistant hire for any team than Rich Bisaccia taking over the special teams coordinator job with the Packers. The kicking teams have ruined the Packers on many occasions over the past two years, and clearly cost them the chance to host the Rams in the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field eight days ago. The two sides are talking. This is a layup.”

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 and Mike Golic (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, The Rich Eisen Show 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 A Good Football Show continues the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.

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.

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