Rodney Harrison reflects on leaving Super Bowl LI in third quarter

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- NBC football studio analyst Rodney Harrison has spoken so highly of his time with the New England Patriots (2003-2008) that it doesn't seem like a stretch to say that he bleeds Patriots red, white and blue. So rewind to Feb. 5, in Houston at Super Bowl LI, and consider the situation in which Harrison found himself.

"I ended up leaving in the third quarter. I was getting harassed by Falcon fans, so it got to a point where it was so bad, I just left. I felt like we were going to lose and we were actually going to get blown out," Harrison said Tuesday on a conference call previewing Sunday's game between the teams (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET). "I ended up going back to the hotel, sitting in the bar watching it along with probably 300 other fans, all rooting against the Patriots. The Patriots end up pulling it out, so I felt terrible for leaving, but at the same point, I was happy the Patriots won."

NBC color commentator Cris Collinsworth was at the game in the stands and reflected on "watching Falcons fans celebrating their Super Bowl championship in the middle of the third quarter, Rodney was just down the aisle, and he had enough of that."

Harrison said Super Bowl LI reflected a theme he often heard from Bill Belichick during his time with the team.

"His theme has always been about finishing," Harrison said. "The Falcons, that's something they haven't been able to do, whether it's the Super Bowl or the last couple of weeks. That's probably something [Dan Quinn will] be preaching to his team this week."