On Thursday night, CBS will televise the Giants-Washington game. It will mark the first time analyst Phil Simms handles a game involving a team whose name Simms says he won’t try to say due to the notion that the name refers to Native Americans in an offensive way.
“Will I refer to their nickname?” Simms tells Richard Deitsch of SI.com. “Look, I have already done it. It is a habit. I played for 15 years [for the Giants] and they were a bitter rival. There is a chance I could slip.”
Deitsch explains that Simms slipped several times last week, during the Buccaneers-Falcons game.
“I don’t want to be overwhelmed by it,” Simms said. “I had bad habits as a player. Bill Parcells used to tell me, ‘You throw a few too many picks, Simms.’ I’d say, ‘Well, Bill, I am going to try to fix that but I will not be fixing that overnight.’ Unfortunately this issue and the nickname, it has been out there for so long and on my radar and I know what I said, but it’s not the easiest habit to break. So if I refer to them by their nickname, I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ It could happen. In fact, it did slip this year and I did not know it. I had no idea. Now I could refer to the nickname I had for them as a player, but I don’t think that is appropriate for television.”
For those who are trying not to say the name (and plenty of broadcasters successfully aren’t), the effort introduces into the brain a filter that is hard to navigate — and that is hard to keep from popping up when getting ready to say the names of other teams, like Raiders and Jaguars and Steelers.
As to Simms, plenty of people will be counting how many times he says it on Thursday night. Ultimately, keeping an ear open regarding Simms’ commentary could end up being even more entertaining than keeping an eye on the game.