When you talk for a living, and are constantly challenged to come up with a fresh “take,” the law of averages dictates that eventually if not regularly, something stupid is going to fall out of your mouth.
Step right up, Phil Simms.
Four months after declaring Giants quarterback Eli Manning Canton-bound, Simms fell into the trap of the we-must-debate-silly-things crowd.
“No, he is not one of the elites,” Simms said on CBS Sports Network’s “NFL Monday QB” show. “Because when I hear the word elite, I’m thinking about guys that can make unbelievable plays on the field by themselves. There are very few quarterbacks in that category.
“So yes, Eli has been a tremendous team player. He has been MVP of the Super Bowl twice. I know that. But the way I look at it, the answer is no.”
Pause. Deep breath.
Let’s rewind to August.
“Here we were five years ago, before the Giants won their first Super Bowl, and all the talk that year was maybe the Giants need to bring another quarterback in and Tom Coughlin’s in trouble,” Simms told USA Today. “Now they both absolutely one day will go in the Hall of Fame.”
First of all, the notion that we have to weekly define who is and who isn’t “elite” is silly. One of the remarkable things about the passage of time is it generally sorts that out for us.
Because if Eli Manning, winner of a pair of Super Bowl titles and MVPs, isn’t elite, it’s hard to know how many fit the definition, historically.
Manning’s in a slump now, true. As Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News points out, he’s thrown 99 straight passes without a touchdown, the longest streak of his career. He’s been picked off four times in the last three games with no touchdowns, and may or may not have a tired arm.
But this constant and around-the-clock need to quantify, to parse, to rank and to provoke leads only to smart people saying dumb things.
Monday was just Simms’ turn.