“The Super Bowl is one of the finest American traditions.” President Obama to Matt Lauer

HIGHLIGHTS FROM NBC’S SUPER BOWL XLIII PREGAME SHOW

“If you give me just one guy to represent me as a former NFL player, I’ll take Pat Tillman any day.” – Collinsworth

“You’ve already trumped the legendary [Pete] Rozelle in one respect, you’ve got Springsteen. He had the New Christy Minstrels and Anita Bryant.” Costas to Goodell

“Have a wonderful time. The Super Bowl is one of the finest American traditions.” – President Obama to Matt Lauer

NBC’s Super Bowl XLIII Pregame Show, a full day of football combined with music, comedy and entertainment, along with exclusive interviews with President Barack Obama from the White House and Bruce Springsteen, aired today from Noon-6 p.m., as part of NBC’s first Super Bowl broadcast since 1998. Bob Costas hosted, joined by co-hosts Cris Collinsworth, Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick; analysts Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber; and reporter Peter King. Joining the regular “Football Night in America” crew were Super Bowl winning coaches Tony Dungy and Mike Holmgren, along with Matt Millen and Rodney Harrison. The “Sunday Night Football” team of Al Michaels, John Madden, Andrea Kremer, Alex Flanagan and Bob Neumeier contributed reports and analysis. Highlights follow:

 

COLLINSWORTH ON THIS SUPER BOWL: “Did you ever think we’d be doing a Super Bowl with the Arizona Cardinals on a pirate ship?”

BARBER ON THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER AT A SUPER BOWL: “Most importantly when it’s over, don’t forget [to take] the name plates in the locker room.”

HOLMGREN ON COACHES SAYING IT DOESN’T MATTER TO THEM WHEN PLAYING THEIR FORMER TEAM: “Any coach that says they don’t like playing against their old team and it’s just another game, they’re not telling you the whole truth.”

BETTIS ON BEATING HOLMGREN IN SUPER BOWL XL: “Mike, I take a piece of you with me wherever I go because my Super Bowl ring has the Seahawks on it.”

COSTAS FOLLOWING SEGMENT WITH GOVERNOR PALIN: “Is Governor Palin excited about the Super Bowl? [wink] You betcha.”

COSTAS ON HAYDEN PANETTEIRE’S OUTFIT: “Al [Roker], what’s up with the Uggs there for Hayden? She’s not only never been to a football game, but apparently she’s never been to Tampa.”

SPRINGSTEEN TO COSTAS ON WHY HE CHOSE TO PLAY THE SUPER BOWL AFTER TURNING DOWN PAST INVITES: “I have an album to promote dummy. It’s not rocket science.”

COACH WHISENHUNT IN FEATURE ON THE STEELERS: “If we didn’t win the Super Bowl, then there’s no other team in the league that I would want to win other than the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

COSTAS ON THE CONTROVERSY BETWEEN THE STEELERS AND THE CARDINALS COACHES: “Maybe too much is made over any hard feelings that Ken Whisenhunt or Russ Grimm might have toward their old employer, the Steelers, and maybe not enough is made of the familiarity that they have with the Steeler personnel and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.”

DUNGY ON HIS SUPER BOWL ADVICE FROM HOLMGREN: “He said the best thing you can do is not make your team uptight by being uptight yourself.”

HOLMGREN ON THE STEELER DEFENSE SCORING POINTS: “Pittsburgh needs to score points with their defense. As an offensive team you go in there and you can’t allow them to get you back on your heels. You have to be as aggressive offensively as they are defensively.”

COLLINSWORTH ON BILL BELICHICK’S ANALYSIS OF MATCHUP: “That was strong. You really out to think about going into coaching.”

COSTAS ON KURT WARNER AND HALL OF FAME: “If Arizona wins tonight and he plays well, he has a good shot at making the Hall of Fame. I can’t think of any player, not just in football but in any sport, that would have the career arc that Kurt Warner had, and then make it to the Hall of Fame.”

COLLINSWORTH ON HOW TO STOP LARRY FITZGERALD: “Jump high.”

COLLINSWORTH ON PAT TILLMAN: “I just think he’s a remarkable guy who passed up millions of dollars to play in the NFL to go and fight and ultimately pay that ultimate price for our country. If you give me just one guy to represent me as a former NFL player, I’ll take Pat Tillman any day.”

EXCERPTS FROM BOB COSTAS INTERVIEW WITH NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL:

GOODELL ON HIGH PROFILE OFFICIATING MISTAKES: “I don’t think there were more of them. Every time you have one you’d rather not have that so you try to eliminate those. I think our officials do an outstanding job. We’d like to have a great consistency in our officiating, that’s what we always strive for. We always look for improvements in our officiating and we’ll look at that again in the off season.”

GOODELL ON HOW TO IMPROVE OFFICIATING: “We look at everything from how we evaluate the officials to how we train them. Should we look at different rules that are simpler and easier to officiate? The one thing we want to look at a little more closely is how we use more technology.”

GOODELL ON USE OF TECHNOLOGY: “We would like to evaluate further is there anyway of maybe putting a chip in a ball so that we can determine exactly when a ball crosses a line as an example.”

GOODELL ON HEAD INJURIES: “Concussions are an important issue to us. We’ve been working on this for 15 years. We’ve made rule changes with respect to helmet hits. We’ve had equipment changes. All of this came from our independent committee that has made significant progress in addressing the effects of concussions, how can we prevent them, how do we treat them and how do we educate our players and other players about the affects of concussions.”

GOODELL ON HIS COMFORT WITH OVERTIME RULES: “I am [comfortable] because that’s the rule. The recognition that the game is going to be determined by a coin flip I think forces our teams to play more aggressively during regulation. There are a couple of modifications we may consider — as an example, kicking off from a different yard line. The second would be you could just place the ball at the 20 or 25 and say go and you have to drive the ball 30 or 35 yards just to get a shot at the long field goal.”

COSTAS: You’ve already trumped the legendary [Pete] Rozelle in one respect, you’ve got Springsteen. He had the New Christy Minstrels and Anita Bryant. There’s no contest.

Goodell: Up With People don’t forget.

ON CHANGING OVERTIME RULE:

HOLMGREN: “It takes 24 votes to change anything. Usually the people who are most passionate are the people who lost in an overtime game and you never get enough votes to change the rule.”

DUNGY: “I like the rule just the way it is because it takes in all three phases. You can win a game or lose a game on offense, defense or special teams and that’s the way it should be.”

COLLINSWORTH: “I really look at it as a minor change. I think it should be a five-minute mandatory period and after that it becomes sudden death. Even if you take out four and a half minutes at least you have a 30-second shot to get even.”

MATT LAUER LIVE INTERVIEW FROM THE WHITE HOUSE WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA, ARRANGED WITHIN TWO WEEKS OF THE ELECTION AND CONFIRMED ON INAUGURATION DAY:

OBAMA ON LIVING WITH HIS MOTHER-IN-LAW: “Fortunately I love my mother-in-law. She defends me whenever I screw up. When Michelle is about to come down hard, my mother-in-law comes in and intercedes. The longer she stays the better off I’m going to be.”

OBAMA ON HIS DAUGHTERS: “People think I’m cool. Nobody’s cooler than my two girls. They just seem to take whatever comes with happiness and steadiness and their loving school, their making friends. In fact they have some friends from school over today and they’ve already joined some clubs. Sasha, I think maybe to endear herself to me she said she wanted to join a basketball team. What more could I want?”

OBAMA ON SEEING HIS KIDS: “It’s the best deal of this whole thing. It turns out I have this nice home office. At the end of the day, I can come home, even if I have more work to do, I can have dinner with them, I can help them with their homework, I can tuck them in. If I have to go back to the office I can, but I’m seeing them now more than anytime in the last two years and that’s been great for the whole family.”

OBAMA ON THE MOMENT HE REALIZED HE WAS THE PRESIDENT: “There have been a couple of times, some wonderful, some sobering. Whenever you take that walk down the colonnade and go to the Oval Office I do think you get this sense of the history that you’re now apart of — some sobering moments, having to sign orders for troops who’ve died and sending orders to their families, you realize every decision you make counts and you don’t have time to spend a lot of time on inconsequential stuff. You have to focus at this point on putting people back to work but also reminding yourself you’ve got hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are putting themselves in harms way and you’re the Commander in Chief.”

OBAMA ON MILITARY: “Here’s what I think is important for everybody to understand. We’ve got real threats and we have to remain vigilant, but the quality of our armed forces has never been better. When you meet the people who are charged in keeping America safe it gives you enormous confidence that they are on the case day in day out with extraordinary professionalism, but there is no doubt that we have to make sure we don’t let up because there are people who would be willing to do us harm.”

OBAMA ON BRINGING HOME THE TROOPS BEFORE THE NEXT SUPER BOWL SUNDAY: “We’re going to role out in a very formal fashion what our intensions are in Iraq as well as Afghanistan. In conversations I’ve had with the joint chiefs and the commanders on the ground, I think we have a sense now that the Iraqis have had a very significant election with no significant violence and that we are in position to start putting more responsibilities on the Iraqis and that’s good news for not only the troops in the field but their families who are caring an enormous burden.”

OBAMA ON THE ECONOMY: “I think we’re going to be in for a tough several months. We’ve got to get this economic recovery plan passed. We’ve got to start getting people back to work. We have to straighten out the credit markets and make sure credit is flowing to businesses and individuals so they can start investing and hiring people again. As soon as Congress moves forward on the recovery plan we are going to be also releasing our plan for the financial sector and regulating the financial sector. I have confidence that we are going to be able to get the economy back on track, but it’s going to take a number of months before we stop falling and then a little bit longer to get back on track.”

OBAMA ON GETTING REPUBLICAN SUPPORT: “The important thing is getting the thing passed. I’ve done extraordinary outreach to Republicans because they have some good ideas and I want to make sure those ideas are incorporated. I am confident that by the time we actually have the final package on the floor that we are going to see substantial support and people are going to say this is a serious effort, it has no earmarks. We’re going to be trimming out things that are not relevant to putting people back to work right now. The thing I want all of them to remember and the thing I’m thinking about every single day is the thousands of people who are being laid off with their jobs right now. They can’t afford politics as usual and old habits are hard to break, but now is the time to break them because we have an urgent situation.”

OBAMA ON THE FLORIDA GATORS WINNING THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: “Congratulations Gators on an outstanding season. Tebow is great. Wouldn’t you feel better if you had beat every team that was out there through a playoff system? I love you, but I think they could have taken on anybody through the playoff system. By the way one of our secret service guys, his son, is a tackle on the Florida Gators so I have a soft spot for them.”

OBAMA ON ROOTING FOR THE STEELERS: “Not to mention the fact that Kurt Warner is close to my age. I love Kurt Warner’s story, I love Larry Fitzgerald — seems like a wonderful young man. It’s a great story but Rooney didn’t just endorse me, that guy was out at going to steel plants campaigning for me. Franco Harris was out waving towels at my rallies.”

LAUER: “Do you have a Terrible Towel in the other room?”

OBAMA: “I do actually. I’m not going to be rubbing it in because we’ve got some Arizona congressmen here and I may need their vote on the recovery package.”

LAUER: “What’s the score going to be in this game?”

OBAMA: “It’s tough to predict, but I think the Steelers are going to eek it out in the end.”

OBAMA ON PREDICTING THE PATRIOTS LAST YEAR: “I’m still wondering how that guy made that catch. It was one of the greatest plays in pro football history.”

OBAMA ON SECURITY FOR HIS BLACKBERRY: “It’s like Inspector Gadget. If you touch it, it might blow up.”

LAUER: “I kind of envisioned that. It’s like in the James Bond movie. Do they give you like fingerprint recognition technology or something?”

OBAMA: “The works. It turns into a car if I have to make a quick getaway.”

OBAMA ON THE SUPER BOWL: “Have a wonderful time. The Super Bowl is one of the finest American traditions. I want to give a special shout out to our troops overseas who are going to be watching this. You allow not just this game to take place, but our liberties to be preserved and we are very grateful to you.”

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