CBS Commentator and Super Bowl winning quarterback, Phil Simms has become the brunt of a bunch of jokes. He often makes claims during broadcasts that are either confusing, poorly-timed, wrong, or completely nonsensical. At one point, Simms was an informative, well-rehearsed announcer, but at this point in his career, I’d rather listen to dead air or Jim Nantz by himself.
And I’m not the only one.
Awful Announcing’s Dan Levy wrote a detailed blog, detailing all that is wrong with Simms’…well…awful announcing.
“It’s simply, fans deserve better than the flat, one-note, quarterback-centric commentary Simms can provide. I almost wrote the word ‘analysis’ there, but it’s really not. It’s commentary. Simms just…talks, often not even about the game going on in front of him, though he probably thinks he is, which should concern CBS more than it obviously does.”
Levy elaborates further…
“In today’s game, with the enhanced video and replays from nearly every angle at frame rates that can show a quarterback blink three times before he throws the ball, Simms is routinely exposed as being incapable of seeing the play in real time, relying on video replay as much or more than those watching at home. He doesn’t even seems to care, constantly admitting he misses plays live, too focused on what the quarterback was doing to see the rest of the play develop.
And yet, his defense of the quarterbacks may be his biggest weakness as an analyst. Manning was off on a lot of throws on Sunday. He was 17-of-32 on the game, with at least six or seven of those completions being off-target throws reeled in by his receivers. Manning missed several wide-open players throughout the game, but made up for it with two perfect touchdown passes to no interceptions, giving the perception that he played well, and didn’t do anything to hurt his team.
The play before Denver’s second touchdown was a great illustration of Nantz doing everything he can to spoon-feed Simms through the game at this point, asking, ‘what happened on a pass like that’ after Manning flat missed a wide-open receiver for a score.
‘Just misjudged him, Jim,’ Simms said. ‘Tried to hit him and overthrew it.'”
Of course, Levy is right. Simms’ analysis pales in comparison to top crews from other networks. People might not enjoy the excessive enthusiasm of color commentators like NBC’s Cris Collinsworth and ESPN’s Jon Gruden. Maybe they don’t like they think Fox’s Joe Buck’s smugness puts even the Patriots to shame. Or maybe they think that Troy Aikman is just boring.
All are valid points (although if you don’t like Jon Gruden, then you’re wrong. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Adam Bonaccorsi).
But none of those announcers are worse than Phil Simms. None are completely out of touch with the broadcast, and very rarely do any of them have to be prompted for their ‘analysis’…or in Simms’ case, jibberish.
Phil Simms isn’t the only thing wrong with CBS’ NFL product, though.
Second to Simms in incompetency is Mike Carey.
When CBS started using Carey as their rules expert last season, I thought he might surpass Fox’s Mike Pereira. I knew that he’d at least be better than Gerry Austin, the rules expert on Monday Night Football. He was a recently retired referee, who often made dramatic, game-changing calls, but he was well-respected around the league as a knowledgeable official who worked hard to perfect his craft. Surely, that time spent as an head referee and his apparent charisma while explaining calls to the cameras and the crowds would translate to success in broadcasting.
Like Mike Carey has been for most of his career thus far in television, I was wrong. And we saw an egregious example of how wrong he can be during Sunday’s AFC Championship game.
Facing a 2nd and 8 from their own 28 with about 3:00 left to go in the 1st quarter, Peyton Manning threw what was initially called – although, it didn’t really look like it – an incomplete forward pass. Mike Carey was convinced that it wouldn’t be overturned:
“So remember the ruling on the field is a forward pass incomplete. In order to reverse, you look from where it’s released from the quarterback’s hand to where it’s first touched. And from these angles, we don’t really have a clear shot at it. In my estimation, they’re going to leave this…stay on the field.”
— Tyler Lombardi (@Lombarghini) January 26, 2016
Almost comically, he was mistaken…again. Social media reacted the way you’d expect it to: by making fun of him. But CBS shouldn’t find any relief from fans finding his ans Simms’ lack of competency amusing. For a company that has a growing relationship with the NFL via the Thursday Night Football product, they have by far the worst on-air talent of the four networks that show professional football.
In under two weeks, they will be hosting the biggest television event of the year. How likely is it that one of their commentators says something that embarrasses the network?
With 120 million people getting ready to listen to Mike Carey and Phil Simms on February 7, neither the NFL nor CBS should feel reassured by the answer to that question.