Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Feb 2013

The Indestructibility of Phil Simms

This article about Phil Simms has a lot of interesting anecdotes, both from his time with the Giants and his time as a broadcaster. His hatred of stats definitely seems to be tied to his own strengths and weaknesses as a player. Hopefully, Simms will read this article about himself, see the quotes from me, and finally learn how to pronounce "Asante Samuel."

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 01 Feb 2013

18 comments, Last at 03 Feb 2013, 4:34pm by James-London


by theslothook :: Fri, 02/01/2013 - 4:35pm

I know phil simms says a ton of idiotic things, but as a broadcaster, I honestly feel like you can do a whole lot worse. Hes head and shoulders above dierdorf and I find him more engaging than buck and troy. And even though I know gruden gives much better play diagnosis, I find gruden unbearable as well. Honestly, theres probably only one or two crews I like, a handful that I tolerate, and a bunch I can't stand. Simms is in the tolerate category for me.

by Floyd :: Fri, 02/01/2013 - 5:37pm

I always liked Simms in the three-man booth with Paul Maguire on NBC in the 90's. But he is hard to take with Nantz. Chemistry between booth-mates matters. Maybe pair him up with Marv Albert, though I don't know if Simms has the self-awareness to play along with Marv's ribbing.

by JIPanick :: Fri, 02/01/2013 - 4:40pm

Broadcasters are like referees. They all stink, but there doesn't seem to be a reason it must be so.

EDIT: was meant as a reply to #1.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 02/01/2013 - 6:09pm

Of course there's a reason- the producers carefully grind the insight and nuance out of them until they are all pod people. Simms is the king of the pod people.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2013 - 6:39pm

But why do they all have to be so much the same? I remember when Jaworski first got on MNF I thought it'd be awesome to hear him bring his insight to the plays being run. But from Day 1 he was just another announcer where you had to remind yourself he actually knew anything about the game.

by andrew :: Fri, 02/01/2013 - 4:55pm

I remember that Minnesota game in 1986. 4th and 17, thought we had it. Ended up costing the Vikings a playoff berth.

by tunesmith :: Fri, 02/01/2013 - 4:57pm

Was anyone else struck by the profanity in the article?

As I type this I'm thinking it can't be right, but to me it seems like it's the first time I've read a professionally-written, high-standards article that didn't edit out the profanity, and I find it really refreshing. It's more immersive in a way, I really like it.

by MatMan :: Fri, 02/01/2013 - 5:17pm

So how does he say, "Asante Samuel?"

by Dean :: Fri, 02/01/2013 - 5:26pm

Phil insists that there is more than one and that the surname should be pluralized.

by Michael Gormley (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2013 - 6:21pm

Simms did a couple of Texans games in the playoffs. He had a very hard time with basic arithmetic, telling time and reading the scoreboard. How many concussions did he have in his playing career?

by Guido Merkens :: Fri, 02/01/2013 - 6:24pm

Where is "James - London" when you need him?

by James-London :: Sun, 02/03/2013 - 4:34pm


Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by Ulrik (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2013 - 9:12am

Isn't Phil Simms distaste for traditional stats really somethings that's shared with people on this site? He's taken it all the way and discounts any kind of numbers, but at heart seems to be that he thinks stats don't account for the situation (Montana putting up great numbers in a West Coast offense), which I thought was the core of Football Outsiders. FO made better numbers instead of hating them is all.

by mehlLageman56 (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2013 - 2:51pm

This was an excellent article. I didn't realize that Giants fans had a meltdown when Simms was drafted; I thought that was something only Jets fans did. Simms' point about systems like the West Coast offense boosting quarterbacks stats was thought provoking but self-serving. Yes, Montana might not have been a Hall of Famer if the Jets or Giants had drafted him; he wouldn't have fit their wind gusting stadiums and long passing attacks as well. But Simms wouldn't have fit the Niners as well as Montana did, either; he probably didn't have as much touch on his passes as Montana, and throwing more interceptions than touchdowns at Morehead State doesn't imply his decision making was that great at the start of his career.

This merely points out that teams need to draft and sign free agents with an eye to their home stadiums and the systems they use. For instance, Flacco fits the Ravens because his long passing skills sets up the running game. He can complete passes in windy games, that happen in the playoffs in the Northeast. If a warm weather team with a west coast offense signs him, it's a waste of money; they can find someone without a cannon who might be more accurate.

That said, Simms is still a terrible announcer.

by JonFrum :: Sat, 02/02/2013 - 5:30pm

Flacco 'fits' the Ravens? How about the Ravens offense is the Ravens offense because they have Flacco for a QB? Do you really think the Ravens OCs would call long pass plays if they had a noodle arm QB? There is no abstract Ravens offense - there is what you get when you give those coaches those players.

by mehlLageman56 (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2013 - 6:58pm

Which came first: the devotion to a running offense, offset by deep play action passing, or drafting Flacco? My point was that Flacco would be less useful in a west coast offense based on short accurate passing, and that where a team plays has a role in the offensive and defensive systems that they use, or should. NFL teams need to adapt their systems to the specific environments they play in, and get players that fit those environments. Why was Ozzie Newsome so high on Flacco? Because of his arm strength, and what that would allow him to do in a playoff environment, among other things.
Yes, the Raven's OCs would be idiots to call long pass plays if they had a noodle arm QB, but look around; it seems there are plenty of coordinators trying to fit square pegs and round holes. None of them are coaching tomorrow though.

by buzzorhowl (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2013 - 6:51pm

"Sean Lahman’s Pro Football Historical Abstract, which adjusted statistics to the context of the era, ranked Simms as the 35th-best quarterback of all time, between Sonny Jergensen and Joe Theismann, and several ticks below quarterbacks like John Brodie, Mark Brunell, and Rich Gannon."

Wait, what? Phil, Brodie, Sonny, and Theismann all seem correctly placed, but Mark Brunell and Rich Gannon? Really?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sun, 02/03/2013 - 2:34am

Gannon had 4 pro bowls, 2 all-NFLs, and one MVP.

His stretch from 99-02 was world-class.