Phil Simms to join CBS’s The NFL Today studio show as analyst this fall
Network sports television jobs are not easy to come by—especially those in connection with the NFL—and rare is the commentator who decides to walk away from his employer, even if he or she has been downgraded on the roster.
Since CBS announced earlier this month that former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo would replace Phil Simms as the network’s lead NFL game analyst beginning with the 2017-18 NFL season, the obvious question was what would happened to Simms.
On Wednesday, we got our answer.
Simms will join the cast of The NFL Today studio show this fall, appearing on that weekly Sunday show along with host James Brown and analysts Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason and Bart Scott. He takes over the seat previously occupied by Tony Gonzalez, who left the show earlier this year because he no longer wants to travel to New York from the west coast. Simms will also continue on the Showtime NFL studio show, Inside The NFL.
“Listen, I didn’t make any comments for a lot of reasons and you want to sit there and think about it,” Simms said by phone on Wednesday. “Initially was my pride hurt? Absolutely. Of course it was…So it took a little bit. Not long. I started thinking about it in a positive way and then I became excited about it. [CBS Sports Chairman] Sean [McManus] had talked to me over the years about maybe going into the studio. I now get to follow the league like I want to. That was probably the most frustrating thing about my job. You do one or two games a week, you can’t really pay attention to the other teams like I wanted to do. When you do games, you are all-in on those games. On Inside The NFL, I get to say things about stuff that I never get to say in a broadcast.”
“I think Phil will be a terrific addition and it will elevate the show,” said McManus. “I think anyone who has seen Phil on Showtime will appreciate what a terrific studio analyst he is. He is a man who has really strong opinions and he is not afraid to mix it up with other staff members in a respectable way.”
McManus said that he and Simms had been discussing this option for a number of years, though last August, upon talking to this column, McManus did not waver on his opinion of Simms as a game analyst.
“Listening to it with a very critical ear, I think Phil is vastly underappreciated, and part of that is the overreaction to social media,” McManus said. “If you listen to what he said during some of the biggest moments of the season—he was the first one to say if Denver won the Super Bowl, Von Miller would be MVP, and he was the first one to criticize Cam Newton for not jumping on his fumble toward the end of the game. He was on top of most of the storylines for most of the game, and that’s part of the reason we won the [Sports] Emmy [for Outstanding Live Sports Special]. I would just suggest that if people listen to Jim and Phil with an open mind, I think they would recognize what a good job they are doing.”