STAMFORD, Conn. – For tonight’s Week 13 edition of NBC’s Football Night In America, the most-watched studio show in sports, Bob Costas interviews Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders,and Josh Elliott speaks with Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith. Football Night will also preview NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Broncos and Chiefs, and include highlights, analysis and reaction to earlier Week 13 games.
Football Night airs each Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, with Costas hosting the program live from inside the stadium. He will be joined on site by Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth, sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, NBC NFL analyst Hines Ward, and Elliott.
Dan Patrick co-hosts Football Night from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1, and is joined by Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy; two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison; Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com and NBCSN, and NFL insider Peter King. Kathryn Tappen will report from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., on the Patriots-Packers game.
INTERVIEWS: Below are excerpts from Costas’ interview with Sanders, and Elliott’s interview with Smith. If used, please note the mandatory credit: “In an exclusive interview airing tonight on Football Night in America.”
EMMANUEL SANDERS WITH BOB COSTAS
Sanders on referring to the Broncos offense as ‘wide receiver heaven’: “Playing with Peyton Manning, you get an opportunity to sling the football around and catch a lot of balls. I’m having the best season of my career right now, and I’m having fun for the first time. I’m enjoying it, and that’s why I said it’s wide receiver heaven.”
Sanders on cultivating his relationship with Peyton Manning: “When I came to Denver, my first thing to do was earn Peyton’s trust. We stayed in a hotel during training camp, and I would be in his room going over signs and signals, just trying to gain that trust. Obviously it’s starting to pay off.”
Sanders on Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s catch last week on Sunday Night Football: “We had just finished our game, and my brother texted me that Odell Beckham had just made the sickest catch he’s ever seen. He usually sends those text messages a lot, so I said, ‘Ah, whatever, I don’t care what he’s saying.’ But then when I looked at the catch, I said, “Wow.’ For me, it’s the greatest catch I’ve ever seen. For him to be a rookie and make those kind of plays, he’s going to be a special player in this league.”
Sanders on lessons learned following loss in Super Bowl XLV with Pittsburgh Steelers: “I remember when I was a rookie in 2010 (with the Steelers) and we did lose (in the Super Bowl), I was walking around saying, ‘I want to go to the Super Bowl, hey guys, let’s go to the Super Bowl,’ instead of saying, ‘I want to win the Super Bowl.’ Now, my mindset has totally changed. We have the ability to win it all, but we have to go out and get it.”
ALEX SMITH WITH JOSH ELLIOTT
Smith on Chiefs S Eric Berry’s address to the team: “It was shocking. You can never expect to hear something like that from one of your teammates. He’s a really, really special person. From the day I got here, I’ve been so impressed with his maturity and his leadership for a young guy. The thing that came out of it, at least that day when he talked to us, was that you came away feeling better because of him, and how positive his attitude was. He was very honest. His first instinct was that he wanted to play, but he’s got a bigger fight on his hands…we’re surrounding him and supporting him, pushing him to go get right and take care of this, and we’ll be here when he gets back.”
NOTE: Last week, Berry was ruled out for the season after team doctors discovered a mass on the right side of his chest. Berry is undergoing tests to determine the nature of that mass.
Smith on his relationship with head coach Andy Reid: “It’s been awesome. Every single play on the practice field, he’s right behind me, so it’s instant feedback. ‘Are we on the same page? Are we thinking the same thing?’ That’s what I want so that when the play call comes in, we are on the same page. I know exactly what he’s thinking, why he’s calling the play, and I can go out there and execute.”
Smith on Peyton Manning’s prolific offensive statistics: “As a quarterback, you look at the level he’s playing at, and how long he’s been doing it, and you can’t help but respect that – I don’t know how you don’t. With that said, there are a lot of ways to score points. Certainly the numbers he puts up, you can’t help but respect that. But at the end of the day, I’m just trying to score more points than him, regardless of how many yards he throws for.
Smith on valuing his team’s winning percentage over his personal statistics: “The longer you play, the more you learn that. It’s easy when you’re younger to get caught up in some of that fantasy stuff, or your (quarterback) rating. When you get older, week-to-week, it’s about finding a way to get a win.”
–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–