STAMFORD, Conn. – For tonight’s Week 16 edition of NBC’s Football Night In America, the most-watched studio show in sports, Bob Costas interviews Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, and Josh Elliott speaks with Cardinals coach Bruce Arians. In addition, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who was head coach at USC from 2001-09, remembers war hero and USC alumnus Louis Zamporini, who is the subject of the book and upcoming movie of the same name, Unbroken. Football Night will also preview NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Seahawks and Cardinals, and include highlights, analysis and reaction to earlier Week 16 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 AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on the Colts-Cowboys game.
INTERVIEWS: Below are excerpts from Costas’ interview with Sherman, Elliott’s interview with Arians, and Pete Carroll’s memories of Louis Zamporini. If used, please note the mandatory credit: “In an exclusive interview airing tonight on Football Night in America.”
RICHARD SHERMAN WITH BOB COSTAS
On whether being overlooked is a motivation for him: “Definitely. You want to punish everybody who overlooked you. Every little bit of criticism you got…at the end of the day, you want it to sound like noise and ignorance. You want their criticisms to sound like they don’t know what they’re doing -- they’re not doing a great job -- and hopefully get them fired.”
On whether he’ll be watching Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson on the sideline: “Not really. I really don’t care what happens in his game. I’m concerned about what we’re doing, the win-loss category, and what the scoreboard looks like. I think at the end of the day, the tape will speak for itself. I don’t know if everybody’s compared on an even scale, and I don’t know if he should be mentioned with us [the great CBs in the league]. You give up eight touchdowns in a year; it’s hard to put you in that discussion.”
Costas: “You and Peterson went back and forth about that on Twitter, a little bit. It’s calmed down.”
Sherman: “Yeah, it’s just how you play. At any point, if I gave up that many touchdowns, I think I would be benched on our team. We have a level of accountability and that’s what we strive for. You can’t give up big plays like that and still play.”
On whether moments like the one he had with 49ers WR Michael Crabtree in the NFC Championship last season undermine his other accomplishments: “I really could care less. People are going to have their opinions, good, bad or indifferent. This world is full of people who make criticisms and judgments of other people. One day, they’ll too be judged.”
On whether he has any misgivings about himself: “Honestly, no, at the end of the day I’m pretty happy with the man I see in the mirror. I know who I am and what I’m about. People that know me also know who I am and what I’m about. People who don’t know me and judge me off of what they see on the field or in interviews, I really could care as much about their opinion as the dirt under my shoe right now.”
BRUCE ARIANS WITH JOSH ELLIOTT
On if he’s surprised to be labeled as the underdog this week: “No, not whatsoever. The world champions are coming in. We’re playing with a bunch of college free agents and undrafted guys, and third- and fourth-string quarterback. So, I would think they would think we’d be underdogs.”
On whether “next man up” is the culture of his team: “Yeah, and I think culture, big scheme and talent a lot of times. It’s easy for me to preach it because I lived it myself when [Colts coach] Chuck [Pagano] went down with his illness, I took over the responsibility. Going forward on fourth down, I was never the head coach, Chuck [Pagano] was always the head coach. I told the rest of the staff, I’ll just make this one decision, whether or not we go for it. We’ll probably go for it a lot more than we used to. That’s just who we are.”
On if a lack of national respect has motivated him: “When it’s us against the world, and you continue to have bumps in the road, it continues to submit everything together. Going to St. Louis as an underdog, I think really ticked our guys off. It ticked me off. So, everybody was more than ready to play that game. The way we won the football game was typical Cardinal football.”
On whether these are hard times: “No, these are the fun times. To go with Ryan [Lindley] and you come to work each week here, it’s like, ‘Ok, he’s down. He’s up. Let’s get a plan to win.’”
On if this is his last coaching job: “There’s no doubt this is it. I’m a cowboy in the desert. I’m going to ride off into the sunset after this one.”
Elliott: “Are you going to get dressed in your own locker room in February [for Super Bowl XLIX]?”
Arians: “That’s the plan.”
PETE CARROLL ON LOUIS ZAMPORINI
Note: Louis Zamporini, a World War II prisoner of war survivor, Olympic runner, and subject of the book and upcoming film Unbroken, attended USC, and befriended Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who coached at the university from 2001-09. Carroll developed a relationship with Zamporini, a big supporter of USC football, and recalled a few memories in advance of the film’s release this week.
“I met Louis, and I didn’t know the story. I learned the second or third time I met him, what he had overcome. It was really hard to imagine - he was such a small and slight guy - that he could have overcome so much and been such a stud. He was wonderful to be around.”
“He was a great fan. He knew what was going on. He knew everything. He would be giving me trouble about the quarterback play, saying, ‘How come you’re throwing the ball so much?’ He was right in there, very actively involved. Whenever I talked to him on the phone, the same stuff, you know, ‘You’re not running the ball enough,’ all of those kinds of things. So he was a good fan about it.”
“It’s been hard to understand the depth of it. I think with the movie coming out and the story being told on the big screen, it will make a big difference to everybody. He’ll be more powerful than ever.”
“Regardless of how the movie goes, I think his story being told in such a brilliant fashion, like the book was, will be incredible to relive Louis’ accomplishments.”
–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–