Phil Simms slips up late in boycott of Redskins' name
He almost made it. After referring to the home team only as "Washington" through three-plus quarters, Simms accidentally broke his boycott.
Even there, Simms attempted to backtrack: "Can the Redskins ... can the Washington offensive line hang in there and block?"
Simms' partner in the booth, play-by-play man Jim Nantz, referred to the Redskins by name on multiple occasions -- three times over about a 30-second span after Washington scored in the second quarter. But Simms stuck to his guns prior to the lone fourth-quarter mention.
The former Giants' quarterback-turned-network analyst, who told the Associated Press back in July of his plan to sidestep the Redskins' moniker, admitted to The MMQB's Richard Deitsch that a mention could make it through on occasion.
"Will I refer to their nickname? Look, I have already done it," Simms told Deitsch, and he did mention the Redskins by name during last Thursday's Atlanta-Tampa Bay game. "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.
"I don’t want to be overwhelmed by it."
An increasing number of media outlets have announced intentions to stop referring to Washington's team name -- the Washington Post editorial board joined the mix in late August, although other sections of the newspaper have continued referring to the Redskins as such. Former NFL referee Mike Carey, now a member of CBS' broadcasts as a rules expert, revealed last month that he asked the league not to assign him Redskins games because of the team's name.
Simms was the first high-profile announcer to express any intention of a verbal boycott. His point about it being a "habit", however, is understandable and helps explain why he so quickly failed in his quest. Suddenly dropping a team's name from the lexicon -- particularly for someone who has been in and around the league for decades -- always was going to be difficult.
That was evident on multiple occasions throughout the broadcast, as Simms sounded like he had to stop himself from saying first offensive play, he hesitated mid-sentence before referring to "this Washington offense".
Not surprisingly, Washington's fans did not take too kindly to Simms' stated stance. A petition on Change.org posted by "Save the Redskins" called for CBS to "remove Phil Simms from any future Redskins' broadcasts". The petition reads, in part:
"Mr. Simms has recently stated that he will try not to use the Redskins' name in the upcoming game against the NY Giants. This is unacceptable and offensive to Redskin fans everywhere. Mr. Simms is there to give unbiased insight to the game, time and again he seems incapable of doing so, trying to impose his opinion on the viewers."
This marks the second fan base to call for Simms' removal from their team's games. Earlier, Denver fans posted a petition calling on CBS to prevent Simms from being in the booth during Broncos games. (Simms called the Denver-Seattle game last Sunday.)
Simms was bashed on Twitter Thursday night, as well:
Phil Simms- you're paid millions to do NFL play by play. Leave your PC opinions home. "Redskins" are their name, until its changed. Use it! — Joe Gurkovich (@joeg1117) September 26, 2014
Phil Simms is a tool. It's fine if you don't like saying Redskins, but excuse yourself from doing the game. Stop trying to prove a point. — Matt Winthrop (@matt_winthrop) September 26, 2014