Phil Simms, Jim Nantz Respond to Charges of Patriots Bias
So, it shouldn't have come as a surprise that Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS' No.1 NFL announce team, were all too happy to refute allegations that they took a little off their respective fastballs recently and made too nice with the New England Patriots during last Sunday's telecast.
"That's always the case, especially with fans," said Simms Thursday during a conference call to promote CBS' coverage of Sunday's AFC championship game between Pittsburgh and the New York Jets. "I walk out of the booth almost every week (and hear), 'Aw, you don't say enough good things about us.' "
Simms added, in a sarcastic tone, "That's OK. You're right. I want to show favoritism and get fired."
The piece that triggered the response was written by veteran media critic Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News, who contended Monday that Simms had failed to take Patriots coach Bill Belichick to task for strategic gaffes he might have made during Sunday's divisional playoff loss to the Jets.
Furthermore, Raissman suggested that because Nantz and Simms work so many Patriots games they might be inclined not to criticize the New England organization. It was a tough, and at times, harsh column, but, as Nantz said, "It kind of goes with the territory. We're big boys. We understand that people aren't always going to hear what we think we're saying and they interpret another way."
Nantz also did a little insinuation of his own, not so subtly pointing out that while he respected Raissman "a lot", the piece "came out of New York," and that Raissman "writes (and) talks in inflammatory terms, talks, to me, in over the top language. If I talked like that on the air, people would say that's a little bit ... too strong."
As for Sunday's telecast, Simms said he thought he struck the right tone of recognizing what both sides were doing and calling it that way.
"Do you really think that the New York Jets did things that the Patriots went, 'Oh my God. I actually never thought they would do that?" said Simms. "And I think I made that perfectly clear in the game. I said, from the beginning, basically everything that was happening that both teams kind of knew that's how the other team was going to play."
Simms argues that while "some criticism is always warranted, I've never set in a game in my life and went, 'Boy, I'd better be careful of what I say about this coach because I might cover him next week or this player.' That doesn't cross my mind. I just go by what I see and try to be as honest as I can."
Said Nantz: "We're ready to move on, but we're never out to protect anyone. We're there to observe and tell people what we see."