Phil Simms was blindsided by the news that CBS Sports was handing hisNo. 1 NFL analyst job to Tony Romo. Simms' broadcast partner, Jim Nantz, probably signed off on the decision to oust Simms in favor of Romo.
That is the opinion of Simms' son Chris, who offered it two days after CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus shocked the sports media world by dumping the elder Simms for Romo, who has no TV experience.
Phil Simms has yet to comment publicly on whether he'll accept a demotion to a lower-profile announce team or leave CBScompletely. On the other hand, Chris Simms, a former NFL quarterback like his dad, had plenty to say Thursday during his "Simms & Lefkoe Podcast" on Bleacher Report.
Chris Simms claimed CBS left his dad to twist in the wind while it declined to comment on Romo rumors, then treated him as an afterthought when it announced Tuesday it was hiring Romo.
An excerpt from Chris Simms' commentary:
“I’ll say this. I don’t know if my dad would be happy or not. You can’t sit there as a normal person who's evaluated this and seen it happen before and go, ‘Oh, they handled it like professionals.’ I mean, it’s been out there rumored for two weeks. I had to tell my dad first before CBS or anybody. Because I found out (by text) from an NFL insider. . . . I forwarded the text message that I was sent. It basically said, ‘Hey, listen, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Romo’s being offered your dad’s job on CBS. That sucks. I’m sorry.’ My dad was in Barbados. And I had to forward the text message to him to let him know.”
Despite that, Chris Simmstold partner Adam Lefkoe his father, who has called six Super Bowls for CBS since joining the network in 1998, is not complaining. Phil Simms, 62, still has two years remaining on his contract with the network. He also has several years remaining on his contract with Showtime's "Inside the NFL."
“He’s good. He really is," Chris Simms said. "If think if there’s anything he is probably a little disappointed is in that in general. I don’t think he feels like they talked to him right away, at least warned him to let him know this was happening. That’s just not what you do to a good, hard-working employee who, for 20 years, has been kind of the face of your football station. From that, it probably does hurt."
Phil Simms' workload doubled after the NFL insisted its network partners use their No. 1 announce teams for both Sunday games and "Thursday Night Football." Chris Simms said the change had an impact on his father's work.
"I do think the Thursday-Sunday game-calling wore him out," Chris Simms said. "I mean, it’s going to wear anybody out. Nobody wants to do double duty. That traveling. The amount of coaches you’ve got to talk to. You’ve got to remember four No. 55s for the week. You have to remember four different game plans on defense, what their little clues were and all those things."
Chris Simms ridiculed the argument that his father lost his job due to his unpopularity on social media. He said all the big NFL TV announcers, fromNantz to NBC's Cris Collinsworth to Fox's Joe Buck, get roasted by fans onsocial media.
"Is anything positive on Twitter? Anything?" he asked. "I haven’t seen a f—ing positive thing on Twitter ever. Twitter is literally for a bunch of fakes."
As for Nantz's possible role in all this, he'swidely viewed as the Mr. Nice Guy of sports TV, but business is business.
When Lefkoe asked Chris Simms if he thought Nantz pulled a Matt Lauer-type move by pushingout his longtime partner infavor of the new kid on the block, Chris Simms didn't argue. Both he and Lefkoe believe Romo and Nantz's shared love of golf played a factor.
"I wouldn't be shocked," Chris Simms said. "Listen, certainly a company like CBS is going to run this by Jim Nantz. If I’m going to sit here and be honest with you, yeah, that’s what I would envision happening. Jim Nantz is their guy. 'Hello, friends.' He’s kind of the face and voice of the network. He’s a bigger linchpin than Phil Simms for that network, that’s for sure. SoI would think in some degree or fashion, I’m not trying to throw Jim under the bus, (but) yeah, he signed off on this to some degree."
So what to make of this? I agree with Chris Simms that CBShumiliated Phil Simmsfor no reason. The handoff to Romo should have been handled a lot better.
But who knows if Chris Simms isright that his dad learned the Romo news from his son? My guess is Phil Simms knew he was going, going . . . but may not have known for sure he was gone.
Phil Simms' "Inside the NFL" colleague Boomer Esiason has been discussing the Romo story all week with "Boomer & Carton" partner Craig Carton on CBS Radio in New York.
The worst part of the TV-radio business is the two-faced backstabbing over high-profile jobs, Cartonsaid. Hedidn't like the way Romo failed to mention Simmsduring his introductory press call Tuesday.
Esiason also expressed his sympathy for Phil Simms. The Super Bowl 21 MVP with the Giants loved his job, Esiason said. After talking with Phil Simms overthe phone, Esiason indicated Simms knew hisjob was in jeopardy.
"He kind of felt like something was coming over last year or so, for whatever the reasons were. He’s not mad at anybody. He’s not upset at Tony Romo, for sure. He hopes, I would imagine, to continue doing games in some way shape or form at CBS. Hopefully that continues," Esiason said.