EDITORIAL : New York Giants fans remember Phil Simms for his toughness — getting in Ronnie Lott’s grill, stepping into throws in the face of an upcoming hit — so it’s no surprise that he threatened to punch out Desmond Howard this week for criticizing the play of his son, Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms. What’s surprising is the public incident it created.
( Full disclosure: I’ve been a lifelong Giants fan, and Simms has been near the top of my all-time list of players. He nearly threw the equivalent of a perfect game in leading Big Blue to its first-ever Super Bowl win nearly 25 years ago. He was as tough a player as I’ve ever seen. )
So now, at 55, Simms has Howard all a-Twitter. Literally.
Howard — an ESPN analyst, — former Heisman Trophy Winner and, later, Super Bowl MVP (like Simms) when he played for the Packers — tweeted that Simms approached him at a Super Bowl event in Dallas this week and threatened to punch him out over comments Howard made on ESPN’s College GameDay football show last season:Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor
“Phil Simms just threatened 2 hit me b/c I said his son was 1 of the worse QBs in the SEC. I told him “LET’S GO!”
“I am DEAD serious about the Phil Simms thing. We all thought he was joking, but he kept going and said he wanted 2 take a swing at me!!”
“During the season we talked about the Tenn v LSU game and I said “u will see 3 of the worse QBs in the SEC” That’s what Phil did not like.”
“It ended w/police stepping in between so I could continue my appearance w/fans.”
I’m not advocating threatening physical harm to someone who criticizes your offspring — especially given the fact that Howard didn‘t say anything personal about the kid. A junior college transfer, the young Simms threw 113 completions in 195 attempts for 1,460 yards, eight touchdowns, and five interceptions. Not the worst numbers, but not even on the same continent as ex-Vol Peyton Manning.
That said, Howard is a grown man. Why is he tweeting in the first place? And why make such a big deal over such a thing?
Howard issued a statement through ESPN: “I was at a public signing for a sponsor when Phil approached me to express anger over on-air analysis I made months ago about his son, Tennessee QB Matt Simms. During the conversation, Phil made a reference to hitting me and security and sponsor representatives soon stepped in. It was an unfortunate incident and I’m moving on.”
Simms, an analyst for CBS Sports, countered with: “Desmond and I were having a private conversation that became heated. But at no time was there ever a chance of any physical confrontation, or that I felt the police officer assigned to me by the event planners for my appearance needed to separate the two of us.”
Howard, you might remember, returned a kickoff 99 yards to help the Pack beat the Patriots, headed by Simms’ former coach, Bill Parcells, in Super Bowl XXXI.
Simms, you might remember, nearly made it to a second Super Bowl when he was injured late in the 1989 season; backup QB Jeff Hostetler led Big Blue to the title.
Both guys are old enough to know better.
Honestly: If I had a nickel for every time a guy promised to clean my clock — and vice versa — well… I could’ve afforded a Super Bowl ticket.
And while Simms is dead-wrong if he publicly threatened to pop Howard — he is a high-profile analyst with a major network — Desmond needs to man up. And shut up.
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