Phil Simms on being replaced at CBS by Tony Romo: My pride was hurt

Phil-Simms-Bill-Cower
CBS Sports NFL analyst Phil Simms (right) with colleague Bill Cowher. After being replaced by Tony Romo as the network's top analyst, Simms will join Cowher, James Brown, Boomer Esiason, and Bart Scott in the CBS studio during the NFL's 2017 season.

Phil Simms finally has a new assignment.

Weeks after losing his job as the top NFL analyst at CBS Sports to retiring Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, the network finally announced on Wednesday that the former Giants quarterback and longtime network analyst will be joining the cast of The NFL Today.

Simms will be filling the slot vacated by former Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez, and will appear each week alongside host James Brown and analysts Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason, and Bart Scott.

Uncharacteristically, Simms has remained mostly silent as Romo’s hiring dominated the coverage of his shifting job duties. But the former Giants quarterback opened up to Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitch about finding out that he had been replaced as the network’s top analyst after 19 years.

“Initially was my pride hurt? Absolutely. Of course it was,” Simms said on Wednesday.

Simms said that once the dust settled and he discussed moving into the studio with CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus, he started to get excited about the prospect of not having to focus on just two teams each week.

"I understand the expectations for what you have to accomplish in the studio," said Simms, who is reportedly under contract at CBS for the next two seasons. "I am definitely not short-sighted but I plan on doing it for a long time.”

Simms largely avoided speaking about former co-host Jim Nantz, who many have speculated played at least a partial role in the move to bring in Romo. Simms told Deitsch that he hasn’t spoken with Nantz personally since the Romo announcement, but that they have exchanged messages.

“I wanted to wait for things to settle down before we had a chance to talk,” Simms said. “Decisions are made. My relationship with Jim is good.”

What’s still unclear is why McManus didn’t simply announce that Simms was moving to a studio role at the same time CBS announced Romo’s hiring. Leaving Simms dangling led to weeks of negative media coverage speculating where he could end up, and whether he even had a future at CBS Sports, which McManus clearly feels he does.

“I didn’t want to anticipate going forward in our NFL coverage without a really prominent role for Phil Simms,” McManus told Deitch. “So not only do I think we have our lead analyst who will hopefully be in that chair for a generation — Phil was there for 20 years — I feel good about the fact that Phil Simms will still have an incredibly prominent role in our NFL coverage.”

Patriots go after the New York Times

Did President Trump hijack the Patriots' Twitter account? 

After his inauguration, Trump and his administration fought vigorously to combat claims that his crowd was smaller than the crowds that attended both inaugurations of President Obama, despite photos clearly showing that was the case. 

On Wednesday, with the New England Patriots visiting the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl victory, the sports desk at the New York Times sought to make a similar comparison, sharing two photos — one featuring this year's team, and one showing the players who gathered alongside President Barack Obama after their 2015 Super Bowl win. 

According to Patriots spokeswoman Stacey James, 34 players attended the ceremony, down from the nearly 50 who attended in 2015 when Obama was president. But James says those numbers don't tell the entire story, noting that more than 40 members of the team’s coaching and support staff were seated in the South Lawn during the Times photo.

A handful of Patriots players publicly stated they weren't attending the ceremony because of their dislike of Trump. Tom Brady, a noted Trump supporter, simply said he had personal matters to attend to.  

The team, in a move reminiscent of Trump, took to Twitter to share its own photo of the ceremony, showing what it looked like when the entire delegation, including coaches and support staff, were included in the shot.

Not wanting to drop the subject, the Patriots later shared a photo showing the team gathered around President George W. Bush after their 2004 Super Bowl victory, when they say a similar number of players showed up. 

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