Saturday, December 31, 2005

Dr. Rivers or...

by BH

...How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Simms

While I was bummed to see Drew Brees go out of the Chargers/Broncos game on Saturday, I was happy to get my first look at Phillip Rivers. As Rivers came into the game to cheers from the San Diego fans, Phil Simms said the cheers were as much about fans dislike for Brees as it was happiness in seeing Rivers. Seems to make sense. Brees has had two years in a row in which he has played pretty well, earning a Pro Bowl spot and being mentioned as one of the best quarterbacks in football. Damn him. Let's boo the crap out of him. There's a possibility I heard this wrong, and I hope I did since, you know, it seems ridiculous. Rivers looked positively Alex Smith-ish, going 12-22 for 115 yards, 0 TD's, 1 INT, and a QB rating of 50.4, plus a viscious, cheap tearing off of Curome Cox's helmet. It was nice to get a look at him though.

Simms, while it seems he should have a lot of insight about football, seems to have gone to the Tim McCarver school of broadcast bullshit. Just before going to break late in the game, Simms was heard to utter something along the lines of, "Just think, Rivers holds out of camp, allowing Drew Brees to earn the starting job and keep it for the past two seasons." That was the end of it. Yeah, we know the story. This is neither particularly insightful or newsbreaking. I'm wondering if he was trying to be sort of philosophical or something. Was he trying to add something new? It reminded me of the time McCarver said, "Brad Lidge walked off the mound in game 5 against St. Louis to a silent stadium, and entered tonight's game in Chicago to a silent stadium, thanks to Vizcaino's hit in the top of the inning." Sheer nothingness.

At one point, Jim Nance talked about the possibility of three 10-win teams missing the playoffs this season. Nance said one of the teams, the 1991 49ers were believed by many to be the best team ever to miss the playoffs. Now, being a color man, it might be expected that Simms, having faced those great Niner teams of the 80's and 90's and having seen that particular team from the sideline, might elaborate Nance's assertion. After all, that team finished the year as the hottest in the NFL, winning six straight to finish the year, and it was the first season Steve Young really had a chance to lead the team (though they really got going under Steve Bono), finishing the year with a 101.8 passer rating. That year, the Niners finished third in the NFL in points scored, and first in points allowed. The team was pretty good. So, I thought Simms would say something about that Niner team, elaborating on what Nance had talked about. Simms instead talked about the possibility that five teams could end up with three wins. Not totally ridiculous, but typically Simms-ian. Simms has been holding a grudge against the Niner organization since a game late one season in which the Niners had clinched a playoff spot but were playing a team the Giants needed them to beat in order to get into the playoffs. After the Niners lost that game, Simms said, "They laid down like dogs." I think he and Ronnie Lott have been jawing ever since. When Simms came out with a top QB's of the 20th century list a few years back, Joe Montana was nowhere to be found. When Young, an analyst talking about an NFL player who happened to be Simms' son, said something Simms didn't like, Simms took it as a personal insult, saying to Young, through the media, "You know, Steve, follow football more than one day a week and you might know some of these answers." I did not expect Simms to say anything about the '91 Niners. It was a little too much to expect from him.

Last season, Mike Ditka said of Jake Plummer, "I don't think growing a beard and growing your hair out is the way to lead a team." As far as I know, Ditka hasn't said anything about Plummer's hair this year.

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