Phil Simms is done as the No. 1 NFL game analyst at CBS. Beyond that, he still plans to continue with his talking-about-football career.
“I am not done,” Simms told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News.
It’s the first quote from Simms since CBS unceremoniously removed him from one of the best seats in broadcasting with no apparent plan for him moving forward. If, in our view, CBS viewed Simms as a key member of the ongoing NFL coverage, the plan for his future would have been announced at the same time Romo’s arrival was unveiled.
Reportedly under contract for two more years with CBS, the two sides could end up wrestling over what the network will pay him to go away. Barring specific contractual language that limits his assignment to the top broadcasting team, CBS could appoint him to any of the other rungs on the ladder, possibly relegating him to the lowest-level game every week. He’d still be paid the same amount, but the blow to the ego could be more than Simms is willing to endure, which could cause him to accept a settlement of, say, 60 cents on the dollar in order to go away.
As Myers notes, the No. 2 spot at FOX with Kevin Burkhardt is still open; Simms could land there, if FOX wants him — and if Burkhardt has little or no sense of smell.
As PFT previously pointed out, it makes sense to put Simms in the seat Tony Gonzalez recently vacated on the pregame show. But if CBS and Simms wanted that, it presumably would have already happened.
Wherever Simms goes from here, it clearly will be a step down. The way CBS has handled the situation strongly suggests that they hope he eventually steps out of that specific network entirely, with a severance package barely large enough to afford Joe Namath’s coat.
And, yes, I fully intended to keep typing until I figured out how to work Namath and his coat into this one, in order to justify the photo selection.