Atlanta Falcons: NBC’s Harrison is not a big fan of the Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH — If the playoffs started today, the Falcons would be the top seed in the NFC.

That doesn’t sit well with NBC analyst Rodney Harrison.

During halftime of Sunday’s night game, host Dan Patrick asked him to pick the best team in the NFC. Harrison swung a haymaker at the Falcons.

“Atlanta is the No. 1 seed, but no one is afraid to play Atlanta,” Harrison said. “To me, the team to beat in the NFC is the New York Giants.”

And guess who’s coming to town Sunday?

“I don’t even care about the record,” Harrison said. “When the Giants (8-5) get into the playoffs, they have the experience and that pass rush. Eli (Manning) in the fourth quarter, that’s the team to beat.”

The Falcons, coming off Sunday’s discouraging 30-20 loss at Carolina, saw Harrison’s comments.

“It’s not disrespectful,” defensive end John Abraham said. “How we played last week, they should say stuff like that. When we put stuff like that out there on tape, they should say stuff like that.”

Safety Thomas DeCoud wasn’t bothered by the comment, even if it was dismissive of the NFC South champs.

“The man is entitled to his opinion,” DeCoud said. “He can say whatever he wants. He gets paid to say whatever he wants. We can’t be too tuned into that type of stuff because after a while, that type of stuff becomes a distraction.”

The Falcons watched the film of the Carolina game on Monday and said they were ready to move on from the embarrassing defeat to a team that had won just three games before Sunday. They are preparing for what could be a playoff preview when they face the Giants at the Georgia Dome.

“I think we’ll be OK,” Abraham said. “It was a butt-whipping. Call it what it is. They did a good job. They played a great game. We didn’t come to play like we’re supposed to come. So we are getting ready for the Giants right now. We have to get over the hump.”

Carolina nearly beat the Falcons earlier this season and were furious after losing in the final minute 30-28 on Sept. 30. The Panthers took verbal shots at the Falcons all last week and said they were the better team. They then backed it all up, jumping out to a 23-0 lead and then holding on for the victory.

“You hate to admit it,” running back Michael Turner said. “But when guys are talking smack and they come out with the W, it’s kind of like a double-whammy.”

The Falcons have tried to put the day behind them.

“We can’t keep worrying about things we can’t change,” Abraham said. “It’s in the record books. We’ll let that go. We can have something to do with the future right now, so we need to worry about that right now.”

The last time they met, the Falcons were eliminated from the playoffs by the Giants last season in the wild-card round. New York held a 7-2 halftime lead before pulling away to a 24-2 victory.

The Giants throttled the Saints 52-27 on Sunday.

Falcons coach Mike Smith started laying the groundwork for a turnaround, one of the team’s biggest challenges of the season.

“The message is real simple,” Smith said. “We didn’t play our best. We didn’t play up to our capabilities and up to our standard. We’ve got to get back in here, to the office, to get the corrections, and come out here on Wednesday and prepare for the New York Giants.”

Under Smith, the Falcons have never dropped back-to-back games with Ryan as the starting quarterback and one of the games was at home.

The Falcons have dropped back-to-back games with Ryan at the controls twice, but all of those games were on the road.

In 2009, Dallas beat them 37-21 on Oct. 25 at Cowboys Stadium followed by a 35-27 loss at New Orleans on Nov. 2. They also lost at Carolina 28-19 on Nov. 15 and at the New York Giants 34-31 in overtime on Nov. 22.

Overall, the Falcons have not dropped back-to-back games since Games 12 and 13 of the 2009 season. With Ryan out with a turf toe injury, they lost to Philadelphia (Dec. 6, 2009) and New Orleans (Dec. 13, 2009) with Chris Redman at the controls.

“(The Giants) are playing very good football right now,” Smith said. “The last two weeks, they’ve played outstanding football and it’s going to be a big challenge. They’re right in the middle of the playoff hunt.”


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174 comments Add your comment


December 11th, 2012
5:17 am

first…Rodney Harrison, Heath Evans, Willie McGinest….NONE of them like the Falcons. It’s a distraction. Coach Smith and the crew should just stop the interviews, and just do what it takes to win it all. Every week. No more talk.


December 11th, 2012
5:18 am

Well Smitty, you can start by not giving your players 4 days off. Obviously a mistake. They looked like they were still on vacation.


December 11th, 2012
5:19 am

ESPN hates all things Atlanta/Georgia too. Stop talking about resilience and just go do it. That is KILLER instinct.


December 11th, 2012
5:48 am

Let’s be honest. It’s not that the panthers PLAYED better, it’s that they ARE better. They’d whip us again if we played them next Sunday. They’re just one of several teams right now that are better than we are. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of our play was Ryan. His accuracy was poor, even when he wasn’t under pressure. I don’t know at this stage how you “fix” that.


December 11th, 2012
5:50 am

If our running attack doesn’t get better we will not go far in the playoffs. The offensive line has got to quit stopping Turner.


December 11th, 2012
6:01 am

The fans and Rodney Harrison are skeptical, I’ve been a Falcon Fan for many years and out side of the one Superbowl appearence, they’ve let me down time after time. I get it, divisional games are tough, but what I was looking for Sunday was effort and I didn’t see it. I’m more concern about a playoff win, than winning against the Giants. However, I want to see effort and mean spiritness when the New york comes to town.

Buddy Landel

December 11th, 2012
6:07 am

Easy to predict a letdown this past Sunday. A team with a 3-9 record following an emotional win over New Orleans. I expect a good game against the Giants.

Rick Patel

December 11th, 2012
6:16 am

Flash & dash Houston crushed by Patriots on Monday night. Preview of the Falcons/Giants game? These 2nd tier teams can’t play with the big boys.

Cats hav fleas 2

December 11th, 2012
6:20 am

Harrison is correct

Eddie Mcshan

December 11th, 2012
6:31 am

To quote Rick Flair if you want to be the man you gotta beat the man. Birds need the W against the G-men this weekend. Else there will be a lot of premium seats on the bandwagon. I’m staying in mine no matter what. I believe in these Falcons!


December 11th, 2012
6:34 am

Watch the Pats play and you see a team with confidence and savvy. Watch the Giants play and you see the same. Do you see that when we play? I hate to say it but as good as Smith is he is not a top tier coach. And our personnel doesn’t match up well with the big boys.

Falcon Fan

December 11th, 2012
6:42 am

I have to agree with oldmike. The only thing separating us from the top tier teams is confidence. Maybe we can get that with a win over the Giants. It’s the kind of win that can propel a team to the Super Bowl.


December 11th, 2012
6:44 am

Yall see da way dem pats played last nite.They played like a playoff team KILLER INSTINC dats what we need when we hit da feild the other team should no it just like dey did last nite houston even sayed it they could see it in dare eyes and feel it in dare souls.BIRDS ITS TIME TO TIGHTEN UP.Come out sunday on fire.Start proven dat we r a playoff team.Make it shake birds.Rise but don’t pop!!!!

The Real Falcon

December 11th, 2012
6:44 am

The only way to make people scared of you is to win each week. Does not have to be pretty but you HAVE to win! Our coordinators and coaches lost the game Sunday.

bobby q

December 11th, 2012
6:52 am


December 11th, 2012
6:59 am

you’re wrong d’led. ryan has lost back to back games while starting at qb. it happened twice in 09 the first was weeks 7 and 8 to dallas and new orleans then we beat washington in week 9 and then lost back to back games vs………get ready for this……carolina and new york giants (bad omen?) then we beat tampa in the last seconds while ryan went down with a turf toe injury. than we dropped two more in a row to philly and new orleans with redman at qb. ryan returned and we won three in a row to get the first back to back winning season in franchise history.


December 11th, 2012
6:59 am

The Falcons are capable of beating the better teams on any given day, they just can’t do it with consistency. They beat Denver and Washington amongst others. The naysayers will say Denver was early in the season when Manning was getting his sea legs back and with the Redskins RG3 didn’t play the entire game. Nevertheless, they won. The Carolina game was a wake up call for the Falcons and may put even more focus and urgency on the Giants game. If they roll the Giants they have a virtual lock on the first seed and will have confidence entering the playoffs. If they win, how about a few of you trash talking non fans coming back on the board and saying maybe you were wrong about Ryan and the team. If you can’t support your home team were they are tied for the best record in the NFL in week 14 @ 11-2, then you really aren’t a fan.

Double Zero Eight

December 11th, 2012
7:16 am

Action speaks louder than words. Let’s hope
the Falcons have matured and learned from
their early exit playoff losses to Green Bay and
New York. The lack of a pass rush and running
game may result in more of the same. You have
to have both to beat top tier teams in the playoffs.

Me Too

December 11th, 2012
7:31 am

Double Zero Eight,

Does the Panthers game Sunday give you any hope that HC Smith has learned anything from the previous playoff losses?? He is one slow to change coach. Why is Michael Turner still starting?


December 11th, 2012
7:43 am

we will see what kind of effort they give in the gaints game,I believe thi well show how far
we may go in the playoffs this year,all u fans saw what NE did to the texasen last night
our team isn’t playing anywhere near that level of play

Season Ticket Holder

December 11th, 2012
8:05 am

I am a diehard Falcon fan. However, I understand Rodney Harrison’s comments. The Falcons have had to use last minute scores to beat some of the weakest teams in the NFL like Arizona, Oakland, Tampa and Carolina (the first time). Great teams dominate the game from start to finish. The Falcons has not done that. My Falcons lack that killer instinct to put teams away. Therefore, no one is afraid to play Falcons. This could work to the Falcons advantage in the playoffs if teams overlook them.


December 11th, 2012
8:06 am

They had nine days to prepare for a team that they barely got by the first time, a team with an unconventional quarterback. They only used four of those days. I know they are beat up and I know they are tired, but they can’t let up now.
Win or lose Sunday’s game will tell us a lot. I’m fully onboard with the Falcons, but I want to see a good game. This is the one the analysts have been pointing to.
BTW, the Giants didn’t have any kind of running game last year UNTIL they got into the playoffs.


December 11th, 2012
8:18 am

I think the falcons peaked in tthe first four games of the season. Seems as the season has went along the swagger has dropped off. Hope they get it together.


December 11th, 2012
8:20 am

We certainly need to be better prepared or it will wind up in our watch pocket. The Giants will be the real test on what we have to offer in the playoffs. Harrison only echo’s what everyone in football has been saying all year long. I am a real believer in Nolan’s ability to lead our defense and he needs to be on target. Goodness sakes our running game needs to wake up and stop acting like quick sand.


December 11th, 2012
8:21 am

I find it funny that NBC who loves to santimoniously dictate every sunday night what we should believe would put a guy who is famous largely for head hunting and dirty play front and center.

Oh sure, safety is important, here’s our safe play advisor…. Rodney Harrison.

Also, here’s our staff doctor. Josef Mengele.

Whadda Ya Know?

December 11th, 2012
8:31 am

Can I get my post released DLed? Thanks

Fan since 66

December 11th, 2012
8:32 am

Even to a long-time fan, Sunday’s game was a bad loss. As several posters have stated, the Falcons appeared flat and basically out of sync. Whether that was due to the long wait from Thurs to the following Sunday, or just the deep breath that is naturally taken after winning the Division doesn’t matter, the fact is the Falcons were not ready to play. In a non-critical game I guess that’s ok, but they had better snap out of it for the G-men. Reading the players’ quotes I feel sure they see what we saw, and will address it and come back strong against NY. I still believe in my Falcons…it’s good they got that game out of their system before playing the Giants. I can’t help but believe they will be up for the game against the Giants, after the embarrassing loss last year. Either way, I still love my Falcons and will support them “come he#l or high water”.
Go Falcons!

I usually just read but...

December 11th, 2012
8:37 am

“It’s not disrespectful,” defensive end John Abraham said. “How we played last week, they should say stuff like that. When we put stuff like that out there on tape, they should say stuff like that.”
There it is, and right on. I’ve been a Falcon fan from the beginning. I don’t jump on and off the band wagon, I will still support them at the end of this season, be it the first playoff game or the Superbowl. However, the team seems to lack consistency, especially in situations when they need it the most. When the D absoulutely needs that stop, somebody is out of position, don’t stay in their gap and their RB rips off a long run, or drops a reciever they consider out of the play and he goes on for a big catch or TD.
When the O needs to convert a first down, all of a sudden, the line can’t block and the running backs can’t hit the hole even if ther was one, or Matt can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Inconsistency! The team can make those plays, Matt can make those throws, I’ve seen them do it. I don’t know what’s wrong or how to fix it but I can tell you if they keep screwing around SF and the Giants are in their rearview mirror and have their foot on the gas. If they want the bye and homefield for the playoffs they better find out how to play consistent ball and stop teams, take the ball back and then do something with it. Simple as that.

Giants fall to 8-6

December 11th, 2012
8:38 am

“` The Falcons will sweep the NFC Least “`


December 11th, 2012
8:41 am

Yep, they were flat and we were missing Samuel and Moore. Combine that with the running quarterback and it made for a bad day. Rodney Harrison’s opinion is just that. We’ll send the bandwagon back around for you guys next week.

after further reviiew

December 11th, 2012
8:46 am

None of the talking head experts picked the Falcons to be 11-2 and 6-0 at home.

Rodney Harrison is a clown.

after further review

December 11th, 2012
8:47 am

12-2 will do.


December 11th, 2012
9:03 am

Time to RISE UP!!!!!!!Got the G-Men…NY Giants comming to town. Last years playoff gm. if you want to call it that, left a bad taste in my mouth. With back to back first round exits from the playoffs, but this yr. I think the Birds are ready to shake that monkey off their back. Just win the first gm. and the rest will be steamed over by the hunger and desire that has been unleashed with the W over the G-Men…..Sorry for the drama. Focus, Execute, and pay attention to detail while planning the gm. plan with the NY Giants, the Birds will be fine.


December 11th, 2012
9:08 am

Just my opinion, however if the fans are calling for the team to develop confidence within and a Killer instinct , then the fan base should practice what it preaches. Show the same confidence in the Falcons win or lose. Possess a killer instinct when critics, and non Falcon fans try to spin how good our team really is. It is time for the Falcons and there fans to Rise Up!! Like JA55 said, we cant change the past game, its in the record books or the past 3 post season flops, yet we can show faith, confidence, and strong support for our home team that they will change there fortunes. Fans need a mental refresh just like the team. Change is the only thing in life that is constant! Falcons and Falcon fans, RISE UP!!

Sis-Boom-Bah Humbug

December 11th, 2012
9:15 am

Good point by LDog about the FOUR! days off after the Thursday night game against New Orleans. It appears that Smitty tries to ingratiate himself to the players by a “permissive” approach – instead of coaching/exacting top performance out of them.

This same lackadaisical approach characterized Falcons’ preparation for the playoff game against Green Bay a couple of years back, when Smitty saw the bye week as an invitation for holiday relaxation. After all, his bulletin board indicated that Green Bay was just a minor bump in the road to the Super Bowl.

In such cases, focus, intensity & due diligence preparation are discarded – typically with ruinous consequences.

Bottom line: the Falcons need to do more than just show up for a game, though it is debatable whether they even did that against the Giants in the playoffs last year.

Doug Sahm

December 11th, 2012
9:19 am

“Elderly”, Matt Ryan was 70% passing in the game on Sunday. We get it, you don’t like Matt Ryan for some strange reason.


December 11th, 2012
9:27 am

Mike Smith teams has looked the same over the years. They can’t tackle or defend the pass. Redskins use a rookie as a backup and falcons find a 1.8 rated qb to backup Ryan. Turner still running into his linemen and Ryan looking scared each game. Nothing will change and the Falcons will loose two games in a row for the first time. Maybe Smith should get out of his coordinators way because they look like the two we lost. It has to be Smith!


December 11th, 2012
9:29 am

You all act like this is something new this year.
If youve been to a game and actually got to your seat before 1:15 (which accounts for about 30% of fans at the game)…if you watch warm ups….some of the guys dont even worry about warm ups. Its a dancing competition out there. #28, 25, 22, 56 ….. much more interested in the music and dancing than preparing for the next 3 hours.

OR Maybe they are just so confident that they dont need to be focused?

Mike Smith is not a discipline coach like you hear them talk about on TV. I dont care how many or how few penalties the team earns. That is only part. Lost to the Texans last year because players and coaches dont have the discipline to stay off the field. Lost to NO this year partly because players dont have the discipline to get off the field before celebrating…

Mike Smith needs to get a hold of his team and get these guys focused.

I will repeat my guess that 2013 is the year for the Falcons.


December 11th, 2012
9:36 am

I, for one, cannot wait for the new outdoor stadium.
I pine for the cold weather and wet weather games where only actual fans will show up and where people who are there to read the newspaper (or that chemistry book I saw someone carry in a couple weeks ago) stay home.
A stadium where the food actually has to be made hot….(wonders if the health inspector knows they serve food at the dome outside of the club levels)
And maybe, just maybe the content on the video screen will have more to do with the game I am watching (and even other NFL games) instead of showing me that the offensive linemen are better at rapidly removing tissues from a box than they are at run blocking.


December 11th, 2012
9:41 am

Giants 34 Falcons 24

Say what

December 11th, 2012
10:05 am

Ueediot @ 9:41, you speak the truth, my friend. And I agree about Mike Smith. Tired of seeing the same mistakes over and over. Like everyone else, tired of seeing a plodding MTurner type of offense when it’s obvious the team plays better without him on the field. Without MT33 we have a more dynamic offense with more options. Tired of Matt Ryan having to save the game for his coach, instead of his coach helping. Matt Ryan is better than most realize because he has to deal with a weak Oline and a mediocre coach, and until this year, no defense, yet he wins. Just how I see it.


December 11th, 2012
10:13 am

Carolina is 4-9 and Cam Newton is the greatest quaterback ever…what a joke. your record is what you are.


December 11th, 2012
10:13 am

I’m a die hard Falcon fan but I will admit we are 0-3 in the play-offs under Smitty and we haven’t looked solid on either side of the ball in over a month.. We need to step up our game.

Remember, Respect has to be EARNED!!

We beat the giants then we are on our way to earning respect.


December 11th, 2012
10:14 am

i say even if the Falcons win, it will be because the giants did not play well.

Keeping it real

December 11th, 2012
10:24 am

Remember last sundays game with Carolina,because thats the kind of game you will get each and every week in the playoffs,and the Falcons failed that test! so you eather raise your level of play,or your season will be over after the first game.


December 11th, 2012
10:29 am

The Giants are looking like last year’s team. Falcons will find out if they are a contender or a pretender.

Loyal Falcon

December 11th, 2012
10:30 am

The Pats played that way, because the OL protected him very well. If we had the same Matt would destroy our opposition!

Whadda Ya Know?

December 11th, 2012
10:32 am

I just hope Smitty isn’t being handcuffed by internal politics to keep Turner on the field. Otherwise, he (Smith) must be one blind or stubborn man to not see Turner provides no advantage being in the game. If we need to run the ball to keep the defense off balance and milk the clock, then for God sake run Rodgers, Snelling or Smith (or all of them by committee). Open up the offense and put Chase Coffman and Tony Gonzalez on the field at the same time with Julio and Roddy. Now that’s a look that no one has seen yet and look at the Patriots with their two TE scheme. It’s hard to stop.

Answer This

December 11th, 2012
10:33 am

Well what did we expect? Rodney Harrison has never been a fan…….dont deserve the praise from this slop heads anyway! We ARE THE FANS. Now prove to the world that you are what your record says you are Birds. Dont gripe dont ask for respect go and TAKE IT!

Jst Askn

December 11th, 2012
10:35 am

If Rodney Harrison doesn’t like the ATL Falcons, he should pack up and move to a city where the ATL Falcons don’t play. He has no problem ragging on our team AND living here. Pack up and move to NYC or Boston, Rodney. We won’t miss you!