FOOTBALL IN HIGH HEELS: MORE SUPER BOWL LII HIGHLIGHTS FROM NBC

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Feb. 4, 2018 Dan Patrick opened NBC’s Super Bowl LII Pre-Game Show live from NBC Sports’ outdoor set at Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Coverage of Super Bowl LII, between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, then shifted inside of U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Patrick hosted the program with co-host Liam McHugh, NBC Football Night in America teammates Tony DungyRodney HarrisonMike Florio and Chris Simms, as well as the Sunday Night Football broadcast team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, and Michele Tafoya. Paul Burmeister and Randy Moss reported from the Patriots’ and Eagles’ hotels, while Kathryn Tappen was on location at the Super Bowl LII Tailgate Party. In addition, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh served as a guest analyst on NBC’s Super Bowl LII Pre-Game Show.

The Super Bowl LII Pre-Game Show also featured events surrounding the Super Bowl, including:

  • Live reports by Mike Tirico from South Korea, previewing the upcoming Olympic Winter Games, plus comments in Minneapolis from NBC Olympics analyst Bode Miller, the most decorated skier in in U.S. Olympic history;
  • Reports from the festive atmosphere inside the Super Bowl LII Tailgate Party and Nicollet Mall, including NBC Sports’ Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rutledge Wood with 2017 NASCAR Cup Seriers champion Martin Truex Jr. and drivers Ryan Blaney, as well as famed Telemundo voice Andres Cantor and The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore.

Interviews: During the two weeks leading up to the game, NBC Sports conducted extensive interviews with Super Bowl LII players and coaches for NBC’s Super Bowl LII Pre-Game Show, including:

  • Dan Patrick with Patriots QB Tom Brady (video)
  • Tony Dungy with Eagles QB Nick Foles (video), head coach Doug Pederson (video) and CB Malcolm Jenkins (video)
  • Cris Collinsworth with Eagles DE Chris Long (video)
  • Rodney Harrison with Patriots WR Danny Amendola (video)

Following are highlights from NBC’s Super Bowl LII Pre-Game Show:

PREDICTIONS

Harrison predicted the Patriots would win Super Bowl LII, while Dungy and Harbaugh picked the Eagles.

Harrison: “I like the Patriots. I’m never going to bet against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, are you crazy?”

Dungy: “I’ve been riding the Eagles all playoffs. No time to stop now. I believe in Nick Foles.”

Harbaugh: “The Eagles are going to hold them under 24 points. ‘Fly Eagles Fly.’ I think the Eagles are going to win the game. I believe in this defense.”

***

Kathryn Tappen spoke with members of the This Is Us cast at the NFL Tailgate Party. While Justin Hartley did not make a pick, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, and Milo Ventimiglia all picked the Eagles to win Super Bowl LII. 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Martin Truex Jr. picked the Eagles, while fellow driver Ryan Blaney picked the Patriots.


PATRIOTS

Harrison on the success of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick: “I just love the relationship, because Coach Belichick is the one guy who can push Tom Brady’s buttons. He used to yell at him in the meeting rooms, and to Tom’s credit, he accepted coaching. That’s a big part of why he’s so successful.”

Dungy prior to kickoff: “I just went up to James White, and said ‘If you guys win, I think you’re going to be the MVP.’ He looked me right in the eye, and he said, ‘You know what? I think you’re right.’”

Harrison on Brady: “I knew Tom would be great when I walked in the weight room at 5:30 a.m. and he was already there. When I walked in the film room, he was already there. He still views himself as a sixth-round draft choice.”

Harbaugh on the formula to beat the Patriots: “When we’ve beaten the Patriots, we’ve been able to take the game to them in the fourth quarter. You have to get after this team. You have to make plays, because if you don’t, they will. Hit the quarterback and hit the receivers, and also take some shots deep.”

Harrison on how Tom Brady has changed since they first started playing together: “Tom was always a focused guy, but once he started a family that’s when you saw him really start to settle down. And what I loved about him was that Tom was very unselfish. He never talked about his accomplishments. He always praised his teammates. And everywhere I go, people ask me, ‘What is it about Tom? Is that an act?’ What you see is truly what you get with Tom Brady.”

Mike Florio on New England replacing OC Josh McDaniels and DC Matt Patricia: “Let’s start on defense. The thinking is LB coach Brian Flores will become the new defensive coordinator. There is some talk, though, that Greg Schiano could come from Ohio State and join the staff, maybe as an assistant head coach, maybe take over as defensive coordinator if Brian Flores becomes a head coach down the line. Offensively, Chad O’Shea, the wide receivers coach, is the name I’m hearing. One last thing to keep in mind, though – I’m told Matt Patricia has essentially made it clear to the Patriots that he will be leaving. I’m also told that Josh McDaniels hasn’t (made that clear) yet.”

Harbaugh on Brady: “I remember flying home from a Michigan recruiting weekend with my daughter Alison and Tom Brady. I said, ‘Talk to a 13-year-old athlete and tell her what makes you great.’ An hour later – every bit of adversity, every sleight he ever felt, we’re talking Drew Henson, his high school days, everything that drives him and motivates him.”

EAGLES

Dungy from the locker room: “Coach Doug Pederson has said all week, ‘This is just another game, we have to treat it like another game,’ but as soon as these guys come around the corner and get in this locker room, they’re going to realize it’s not just another game.”

Harrison on the defense: “This is Tom Brady, not Case Keenum. He’s played in eight Super Bowls. I tell you he is the greatest quarterback of all time. The one thing you can’t have is any miscommunication, any confusion, any defensive breakdowns, because Brady finds that open receiver and he delivers a perfect strike.”

Dungy on Doug Pederson: “When I was interviewing him, it just felt like I was talking to my dad. He just made you feel comfortable. The first thing he did when he got here was set up a players’ council. He said, ‘I want seven or eight guys to talk to me and tell me what is going on. You guys take ownership of this thing.’ The players told me ‘Coach Pederson made the difference. We had talent but he brought us together.’ He trusts his team and because of that he is not afraid to take chances.”

Harrison on how to beat New England: “The key is pressuring Tom Brady up the middle. Fletcher Cox said he has to be awesome for the Eagles to win – blitz the linebacker right at Tom Brady’s face, create one-on-one matchups, and flush him outside the pocket.”

Harrison on Foles: “I just look at the atmosphere and the nerves. That’s my big question. I know the Patriots have been here. They’re experienced. They’re really relaxed. I look at Nick Foles and once again, I think it’s really important to establish himself and gain some confidence.”

Harbaugh on the defensive line: “The Eagles have a ‘hockey line’ rotation. They have to get their different defensive lines on the field. If the Pats keep that same defensive line on the field, it’s going to be a track meet.”

Dungy on the energy close to kickoff: “I notice how loose the Eagles seem to be. I don’t know if they don’t know what’s coming or what’s in store for them, but they are really relaxed.”

FEATURES

Doug Williams and Joe Gibbs: Thirty years following the Washington Redskins’ victory against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII, NBC Sports examined the special relationship between head coach Joe Gibbs and QB Doug Williams, and the story of how Williams and Gibbs broke barriers in the NFL.

Dungy and Patrick had a discussion following the Williams/Gibbs feature:

Dungy on the significance of Gibbs drafting Williams: “Coach Gibbs said it was a big deal. He was underselling it – it was monumental. One year before Doug got drafted, I was a senior at the University of Minnesota. We played the University of Washington, and I’m quarterbacking our team, and Warren Moon is quarterbacking their team. I led the Big Ten in passing, and I didn’t get drafted. They told me I had to switch to defensive back. Warren Moon went on to become the MVP in the Rose Bowl, and he didn’t get drafted. They told him to go to Canada, and that his skill set would be better off up there. So for Coach Gibbs to go out and be told, ‘Let’s get the best quarterback in the country, we are drafting him in the first round,’ and for him to come back and say, ‘The best quarterback in America is Doug Williams,’ you can’t imagine how big that was.”

Patrick: “You are looking at Doug Williams and what he meant to you, but people will be looking at you, and what you meant to other coaches because you were the first African American coach to hold up the Lombardi Trophy.”

Dungy: “Today, my son Jordan is at a Super Bowl party and he is wearing a Russell Wilson jersey, and we take it for granted. I have to remind my boys that there were plenty of Russell Wilsons and Deshaun Watsons, and they didn’t get a chance to play in the NFL.”

***

Brady’s Roots: NBC Sports traveled about 130 miles northwest of Minneapolis to Browerville, Minn., where Brady’s mother was raised and where members of his family still live and watch Patriots games each weekend. Click here to watch the segment.

Michele Tafoya with Bud Grant: Michele visited with a living Minnesota legend, Hall of Famer Bud Grant. Grant, who served as Vikings head coach for nearly two decades, shows how he’s still a big part of the community with his annual garage sale, how he introduced the Viking Formation, and how he took on the bitter cold weather with no sleeves during the Vikings Divisional Playoff game against Seattle a few years ago. Click here to watch the segment.

Zach and Julie Ertz: Eagles TE Zach Ertz and U.S. women’s national soccer team player Julie Ertz spoke about the unique experience of competing in major sporting events simultaneously, as Zach and the Eagles played the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia at the same time that Julie and the USWNT played against Denmark in San Diego. Julie scored a goal in the win, and discussed the moment that she found out Zach was going to the Super Bowl. Click here to watch the segment.

Belichick’s Motivational Tactics: Tom Brady discussed the various ways in which Bill Belichick motivates the Patriots, including describing a potential parade route planned by the Eagles prior to Super Bowl XXXIX in February 2005. Click here to watch the segment.

Four Months in 2000: NFL Insider Peter King looks back to the beginnings of the Patriots dynasty, including the events in the offseason prior to the 2000 season that brought head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady to New England. Click here to watch the segment.

***

Robert Kraft and Jeffrey Lurie: Al Michaels interviewed Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, discussing the Patriots’ dominance in recent history and the Eagles’ path to Super Bowl LII. Click here to watch the segment.

Michaels following the piece: “There is an interesting connection here too. When the Patriots were for sale in the mid-90’s you know who wanted to buy them? Jeff Lurie. He got in there but he couldn’t finalize a deal.”

***

Nate Solder: A cancer survivor himself, Patriots OL Nate Solder and his wife Lexi Solder were dealt a blow when their son Hudson was diagnosed with pediatric kidney cancer when he was just three months old. NBC News’ Dylan Dreyer spent time with the Solder family as Hudson continues his courageous fight. Click here to watch the segment.

Dungy and Harbaugh’s discussion following the Solder feature:

Dungy: “In 1997 with the Bucs, we were having our first playoff run. Mike Husted is our kicker and his mom is battling cancer. He’s back and forth to the hospital (during the week) and he missed a couple of kicks, and there was an article that said we better cut Mike Husted before he costs us a playoff berth. I went into the team and I said, ‘I don’t care if Mike misses every kick this week, defense, you better get the ball back.’”

Harbaugh: “It matters so much to the players to let them know that you care so much more about them and their families than just football.”

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