NBC Sports’ presentation of Super Wild Card weekend concluded tonight with a special edition of Football Night in America leading into coverage of the Cleveland Browns at the Pittsburgh Steelers from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa., on NBC, Peacock and Telemundo (Spanish language).
Liam McHugh 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. NFL Insider Mike Florio joined Football Night remotely from his home studio. Jac Collinsworth and two-time Super Bowl-winner Rodney Harrison reported on site from Heinz Field.
In addition, Harrison spoke with Steelers DE T.J. Watt and Jac Collinsworth interviewed Browns DE Myles Garrett.
Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter) and Terry McAulay (rules analyst) are calling tonight’s game.
Last night, NBC Sports presented the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Wild Card win over the Washington Football Team, 31-23, from FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
Following are highlights from tonight’s edition of Football Night in America on NBC:
Dungy on Mike Priefer stepping in for head coach Kevin Stefanski: “What Mike Priefer is going to have to do is manage the game, the situations. ‘When do I call timeout? Do I go for it on fourth down? When do I challenge?’ And that’s tough for a new guy, but I’m sure what Kevin Stefanski said is, ‘Mike, be yourself.’ I was in that situation one time, I had to miss a game in 2005. I told Jim Caldwell, ‘Don’t do what you think I’d do. Trust your instincts. You’re in charge because you’re the man. You call the game the way you think it should be.’”
Harrison on Browns missing practice: “I could not play a game without practicing. It’s so important.”
Dungy on Browns defense: “They don’t have two of their top corners. They don’t have Olivier Vernon, their pass rusher. So, Myles Garrett…he’s got to step up and get pressure on Ben Roethlisberger.”
Dungy on what head coach Mike Tomlin is telling his team about Kevin Stefanski being out: “I know what he’s telling his team, ‘Don’t worry about the other coach not being here. You know what you guys would do if I wasn’t here, you’d go out and win the game. We’ve got to get ready for the Cleveland Browns. Forget about who’s not here.’”
Harrison on WR JuJu Smith-Schuster’s bulletin board material: “I didn’t like it. I thought it was unnecessary. I thought it was very disrespectful. This is an 11-5 team. They deserve to be in the playoffs.”
Simms on WR Chase Claypool: “He is the go-to playmaker down the field for Ben Roethlisberger. He is also the guy that can catch the short pass and make something happen. Watch out for him tonight if he gets one-on-one coverage.”
Steelers LB T.J. Watt to Harrison on the best advice his brother, Texans DE J.J. Watt, has given him: “Have fun, that’s the most important thing. If you’re not flying around, having fun, celebrating after plays. I mean, it’s so hard to make any play in the National Football League, and when you make those plays, you’ve got to have fun, you have to celebrate and now more than ever, you have to bring the energy because we don’t have any fans (in the stadium).”
Harrison on LB T.J. Watt: “He has no weaknesses. He’s just a baller. I voted for him for Defensive Player of the Year.”
Dungy on Steelers passing game: “If you’re throwing 40 passes a game, they can’t all be short, nickel-and-dime passes. You’ve got to push the ball up the field some.”
Dungy on QB Lamar Jackson: “Can Lamar win a playoff game? Can he come through under pressure? Well, he did today.”
Simms: “Yeah, be quiet everybody. He can.”
Simms on the Ravens: “They’re peaking at the right time. They’re healthy…I wouldn’t want to mess with Baltimore right now.”
Dungy: “The game plan for everybody against Lamar: make him throw outside the numbers. He did that today. He showed he could do that.”
Simms on QB Drew Brees’ touchdown pass to RB Latavius Murray: “What a play by Drew Brees…This is where you know the guy has a Hall of Fame brain, he realizes where all five eligible (receivers) are.”
Florio on offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy: “A week ago, it looked like he was going to be one of the sure-fire new head coaches for one of the six teams looking. There’s now an emerging sense that Eric Bieniemy is going to be shut out again for each of the jobs. He’s interviewed for five – the Texans the only team not to interview him at all – and I’m told that he’s been privately telling people he’s content to stay with the Chiefs until the perfect job comes along.”