Lions/Saints NBC SNF Preview

From NBC Sports –


“He’s a smart kid and he understands what he did.” – Stafford to Costas on Suh

“I love that coach gives him the freedom to do that.” – Johnson to Costas on Stafford’s sandlot style near the end zone

NEW YORK – December 4, 2011 – Bob Costas interviewed Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson together for tonight’s Week 13 edition of Football Night in America, which will also include highlights, analysis and reaction to earlier Week 13 games.
Football Night airs each Sunday at 7 p.m. ET with Costas hosting the program live from inside the stadium. In addition to his interviews, Costas is joined on site by Sunday Night Football commentators Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (analyst) for reaction to the afternoon games.

Dan Patrick co-hosts Football Night from Studio 8G at NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios and is joined by Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison, Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk on Alex Flanagan will report from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on the Packers-Giants game.

INTERVIEWS: Below are excerpts from Costas’ interview with Stafford and Johnson. If used, please note the mandatory credit: “In an exclusive interview airing tonight on Football Night in America.”

COSTAS to Stafford: Sometimes I get the sense that you do the equivalent of what kids do in the sandlot, ‘Calvin, go long.’
STAFFORD: Absolutely, especially when we get closer to the end zone and get down there where he’s got a really big advantage as far as height and jumping ability. There are definitely some plays where I’m just trying to give him a chance and let him go up and make a play.
COSTAS to Johnson: Is that the idea?
JOHNSON: That’s definitely the idea. I love that coach gives him the freedom to do that.
COSTAS: Did you know that the first time you two ever connected it was the first time that a former Georgia quarterback connected with a former Georgia Tech receiver in the NFL?
STAFFORD: I did not know that. I guess we’re alone with the record on that one. Hopefully we’ll keep building on it. Absolutely, that’s the plan.
COSTAS: You played against each other one time, in 2006, as collegians… (Stafford) led a late drive and they won the game, 15-12. (To Johnson) You weren’t too fond of him that day?
JOHNSON: Couldn’t stand him that day. But over time, we’ve grown closer together.
COSTAS on Ndamukong Suh: Clearly this is one of the best players in the league. Just as clearly are moments where he’s lost control and it’s hurt not only him, but it’s hurt the team. What have you and other teammates said to him to get him to harness it a little bit?
JOHNSON: Really the only thing you can say is you’ve just got to be smart. Coach said it earlier in the week. We can’t do things; not just hurt yourself, but hurts the team.
COSTAS to Stafford: Have you spoken with him?
STAFFORD: I haven’t really. He’s a smart kid and he understands what he did. It was a tough situation obviously to be on national TV and everyone to say whatever they want about it, but he’s going to learn from it. He’s going to move on.
COSTAS: I don’t know him, but from everything you can see he’s a very intelligent young guy, but there’s something that kind of snaps at the wrong time. Do you think he’s gotten the message this time?
JOHNSON: I haven’t really talked to him myself, but I don’t see why not.
COSTAS on Lions playing in high-profile games: All of a sudden, the limelight is bigger, right?
STAFFORD: I think so. It’s something we embrace. We play this game to be able to be on TV. You play this game to compete and to win, and when you win you get opportunities to play on Sunday Night Football. Our fans appreciate the effort and the product we’re putting out.
JOHNSON: I can’t answer any better than he did. It’s definitely for the fans. It’s great to be at home and someone walks up to you on the street, even after a loss, comes up to you and says, ‘Hey, we’re pulling for you.’ Just to hear that feels great


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