Chris Jones Rodney Harrison interview Sunday Night Football Chris Jones and Rodney Harrison on Sunday Night Football. (NBC.)

Over the course of his three seasons as the New York Jets’ quarterback, Zach Wilson has been no stranger to criticism.

But all things considered, the 24-year-old played pretty well in the Jets’ 23-20 Sunday Night Football loss to the Kansas City Chiefs this week, completing 28 of 39 pass attempts for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

Still, that didn’t stop NBC’s Rodney Harrison from going out of his way to bash the BYU product on multiple occasions during a postgame interview with Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones. And with Jones refusing to play along, it made for a relatively uncomfortable viewing experience.

“Watching that tape, man, you’ve gotta look at this dude and say, ‘Oh, he is garbage. Like we should really tear him apart,'” Harrison said while interrupting an answer in which Jones was praising Wilson. “But tonight, he came out and played extremely well against you guys.”

“People tend to forget he’s a first-round quarterback. No. 2 [overall pick],” Jones replied. “The kid is special. I’m not one to bash a kid because they had a couple of bad games. I think it’s important to give a guy respect. Look at the throws he’s making right there. The kid is special. You give him a little time, he can dice you up.”

After Jones later referred to Wilson as “special” again, Harrison refused to let it slide.

“Wait, wait, wait a minute. Did you say Zach Wilson is special?” the former All-Pro safety asked.

“Yeah,” Jones replied matter-of-factly.

“I think he had a special night, but I don’t think he’s special,” Harrison said. “He’s gotta prove that. You’re special because you’ve proved it over a course of time. He’s not special. I’m just saying, Chris.”

“I’m a Zach Wilson fan,” Jones replied with a smile. “I like the kid. I think with time, he can show you his ability.”


To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with Harrison being candid about his evaluation of Wilson–that’s what he gets paid to do. But the repeated attempts to pile on him felt out of place, if not personal, especially following a game where he played well.

It also didn’t help Harrison’s cause that Jones refused to play along. And it’s hard to imagine that many other players would have. Ultimately, the conversation was uncomfortable enough that at one point, co-panelists Jac Collinsworth and Tony Dungy couldn’t help but just laugh.

[NFL on NBC]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.