From NBC Sports –
|“FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA” PREVIEW – WEEK 17|
|BOB COSTAS INTERVIEWS GIANTS VICTOR CRUZ & COWBOYS JASON WITTEN
“It’s a one-game season.” – Witten to Costas
“It’s either I follow suit or I’m not watching football in the house.” – Cruz to Costas on following his dad as a Cowboys fan despite growing up in New Jersey
|NEW YORK – January 1, 2012 – Bob Costas interviewed New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason for tonight’s Week 17 edition of Football Night in America, which will also include highlights, analysis and reaction to the final day of the NFL regular season.
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 NBCSports.com. Alex Flanagan will report from Sports Authority Field at Mile High on the Chiefs-Broncos game.
Football Night is the most-watched and highest-rated NFL pregame show, averaging 8.7 million viewers and a household rating of 5.3/9 (7:30-8:15 p.m. ET) through 16 weeks, both up six percent from last season and the most in the six-year history of the program.
INTERVIEWS: Below are excerpts from Costas’ interview with Cruz and Witten. If used, please note the mandatory credit: “In an exclusive interview airing tonight on Football Night in America.”
VICTOR CRUZ WITH BOB COSTAS
COSTAS: You grew up in Paterson, New Jersey. You grew up in one of the roughest wards in a rough town. How did that upbringing shape you?
CRUZ: It shaped me a lot. It showed me the good and the really bad of my town. Growing up, as tempting as that bad side was, as much as I was a part of it, as much as I went to school with a lot of the people that got caught up in in doing a lot of those bad things, sports and my parents and having a good support system kept me on that right track. It was tough. It was definitely some tough moments throughout my life, but I kind of stayed focused and came through the other end of the tunnel.
CRUZ on growing up a Cowboys fan despite living in New Jersey: Basically (it’s because of ) my dad. He was a Cowboys fan. He grew up watching the Cowboys all his life. Growing up like that when you’re young, and all you see are the Cowboys games every Sunday, it was just one of those things where you follow what the people around you did and what my dad did.
COSTAS: Your dad liked the Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson, Tom Landry Cowboys.
CRUZ: Exactly, exactly. He came up from way back when he was young watching the Cowboys, so it’s either I follow suit or I’m not watching football in the house.
JASON WITTEN WITH BOB COSTAS
COSTAS: What has Tony Romo looked like in practice, especially later in the week? (Interview was conducted on Saturday, December 31, 2011)
WITTEN: I think it’s gotten a lot better. You could tell that he was more comfortable. The throws were very accurate. I couldn’t tell the difference from any other time this year. I don’t think that will play a part. I don’t see that getting in the way.
WITTEN on Cowboys lacking mental toughness because of blown leads: I think we’re a mentally tough team and we’re going to have to show that to win this game. We talk about having a will and a desire, an unbreakable will. That’s what it’s going to come down to.
COSTAS on famous play in 2007 when Witten’s helmet was knocked off but he kept running: What do you recall about that night against the Eagles?
WITTEN: I remember having a headache for a few days after that one. But that was a special play, obviously, (and) something I think will be my legacy for a long time. The reason why it was so great was because Al Michaels and John Madden (and) how big of a deal they made it, and made me seem a lot tougher than I really am. It’s a play that will always be special to me and to the fans.
COSTAS on NFC East rivals: Which of these teams really feels like your rival?
WITTEN: I think it’s Dallas and New York. Ultimately, every time we play it comes down to one score, one possession. It’s pretty feisty out there. I expect the energy to be high. I expect it to be an intense game as it always is and even more so now because of what’s on the line for this game.
COSTAS: For the rest of the league, the playoffs start next week. For the Giants and the Cowboys, they start Sunday night.
WITTEN: It’s a one-game season…Everything you want is right in front of you, (a) great opportunity against the Giants. You’ve got to commit yourself to be all in, to have that will that we talked about, to go out and to really commit to these next 30 days that can really change your life and your legacy.