It would have made plenty of sense to make Phil Simms the in-studio NFL Today replacement for Tony Gonzalez at the same time CBS made Tony Romo the new No. 1 game analyst at CBS, supplanting Simms. Apparently, it made too much sense, because it didn’t happen.
Instead, after two weeks in limbo, CBS has made Simms the latest addition to the network’s Sunday pregame show. It may have been the plan all along, but the manner in which the situation was handled makes it seem like CBS and Simms considered their options and ultimately decided that the best solution to a bad situation was to put Simms in the recently-vacated Gonzalez chair.
Though I’ve had a hard time getting outraged about CBS exercising its prerogative to bump Simms out of the broadcast booth, the optics weren’t ideal. Simms was only the fourth lead NFL analyst for CBS. Kicking him that spot with no simultaneous plan for his ongoing employment created the impression that Simms had become an afterthought.
Dropping Simms now into what was the obvious alternative spot from the get-go creates the impression that: (1) CBS didn’t really want to keep him; (2) CBS really didn’t want to pay him to not work; (3) CBS wasn’t willing to further disrespect Simms by assigning him to, for example, the No. 5 team every week in the hopes that he’d quit; (4) Simms wasn’t going to quit and walk away from his remaining salary; and (5) the two sides couldn’t work out an acceptable settlement for the balance of his contract.
So the obvious answer became the eventual answer, with CBS getting value in return for Simms’ services for the duration of his contract. If CBS still feels the same way about Simms when his deal expires as it did when it knocked him out of his job with no plan for replacing him, chances are the deal won’t be renewed.