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Phillip Martin "Phil" Simms (born November 3, 1955, in Lebanon, Kentuckymarker) is a former American football quarterback, and currently a television sportscaster for the CBS network. After a standout career at Morehead State Universitymarker, Simms was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) with the number seven selection overall in the 1979 NFL Draft. Simms played his entire professional career with the Giants and was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of Super Bowl XXI, after he led the Giants to a 39–20 victory over the Denver Broncos and set the former record for highest completion percentage in a playoff game, now held by Tom Brady, going 22 for 25. He also was named to the Pro Bowl for his performances in the 1985 and 1993 seasons.

He finished his career with 33,462 passing yards and has since gone on to a career broadcaster of NFL games—first as an analyst for ESPN, then as a in-game color commentator with NBC, and currently with CBS. He is the father of Denver Broncos quarterback Chris Simms and former University of Louisville quarterback Matt Simms.

Early life and rookie season

Simms was born on his grandfather's farm, a place now called Maple Hill Manor in Washington County, Kentuckymarker. While an elementary school student his family moved and Simms grew up in Louisville, Kentuckymarker. He attended Southern High School in Louisville and was quarterback of the Southern Trojans, graduating in 1974. Simms chose to attend Morehead State Universitymarker in nearby Morehead, Kentuckymarker. The team featured a ball control offense, and Simms' numbers at Morehead State were unspectacular—in his senior season he completed 92 of 173 passes for a 53.2% completion percentage and totalled 6 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions, and 1,229 yards. The team also finished with a paltry 2–6–1 record in his senior season and failed to make a bowl game during Simms' four years. Simms finished his career at Morehead State with 409 completions in 835 attempts for a 48.9% completion percentage. He also totalled 32 touchdowns, 45 interceptions, and a school-record 5,545 yards.

Before the 1979 NFL Draft, Bill Walsh, who was the new coach of the San Francisco 49ers, flew to Morehead State with Assistant Coach Sam Wyche to work out Simms. Walsh was so impressed with him that he planned to draft Simms in the third round, actually preferring him over another young quarterback they scouted and ultimately drafted, Joe Montana. But the New York Giants decided to make Simms their first round pick to the surprise of many. As Simms acknowledged, "most people have never heard of me." When Simms's name was announced by Commissioner Pete Rozelle, his selection was booed loudly by Giants fans. However, he became more popular with his teammates who jokingly dubbed him "Prince Valiant" in his rookie training camp.

Simms won his first five starts of his rookie year. He led the team to a 6–4 record as a starter, throwing for 1,743 yards and 13 touchdown passes and was named to the NFL All Rookie Team. According to his 1981 Topps card, he was runner-up in 1979 for Rookie of the Year, losing out to future teammate, Ottis Anderson.

Early career: 1980–1986

Simms' next four years were marred by injuries and inconsistent play. He finished the 1980 season with 15 touchdowns and 19 interceptions, while completing a subpar 48.0% of his passes for 2,321 yards. In 1981, Simms threw for 2,031 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions on 54.4% completion percentage before suffering a separated shoulder in a November 15 loss to the Washington Redskins. With Simms out, the Giants went on a run led by Scott Brunner and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Simms suffered a torn knee ligament in a preseason game against the New York Jets, preventing him from playing the entire 1982 season. Following the season, Ray Perkins resigned as head coach to take over the same position at the University of Alabamamarker, and was replaced by the team's defensive coordinator Bill Parcells. In the coming years this change would prove crucial to the Giants and Simms.

One of Parcells first decisions as coach was to replace Simms as the starting quarterback with Brunner. During the sixth game of the Giants' 1983 Season, Simms came in to replace the struggling Brunner against the Philadelphia Eagles. On his second drive, Simms suffered a season-ending injury when the thumb on his throwing hand hit a player's helmet on his follow-through. The injury was reported as a dislocation, but according to the book, Simms to McConkey, written by Phil McConkey, Simms, and Dick Schaap, the injury was much more severe, with the thumb literally hanging off after impact, and the bone sticking out through the skin.

In 1984, after many seasons plagued by injuries and up-and-down play, Simms finally emerged as a team offensive leader. He passed for 4,044 yards (second most in the National Football Conference (NFC)), 22 touchdown passes, and led the Giants to a playoff berth.

He was voted to the Pro Bowl and named Pro Bowl MVP as he led the NFC to a comeback win over the American Football Conference (AFC) by throwing three touchdowns. In 1985, he passed for 3,829 yards, 22 touchdowns, and led the Giants to 10 victories, the most for a Giants team since 1963. In a game against the Cincinnati Bengals during the 1985 season, Simms passed for 513 yards—the fifth most passing yards in a single game in NFL history. In 1986, he passed for 3,487 yards and 21 touchdown passes during a season in which the Giants won 14 games. In week 11, he completed a desperate fourth-and-17 pass to Bobby Johnson late in the game to set up Raul Allegre's game-winning field goal, which gave the Giants a 22–20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Simms later commented:

Super Bowl XXI

On January 25, 1987, the Giants met the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI. In the biggest game of his life, Simms had one of the finest performances in Super Bowl history. Super Bowl MVPs, Super, accessed 2007-01-06. He completed 22 of 25 passes (with 2 of his 3 incompletions being drops by receivers) for 268 yards, setting Super Bowl records for consecutive completions (10), accuracy (88%), and passer rating (150.9). In addition, he threw 3 touchdown passes and his passer rating set an NFL postseason record. "This might be the best game a quarterback has ever played," Giants coach Bill Parcells later said. Two of the most famous plays from the game were the flea flicker to Phil McConkey, and the touchdown pass caught by McConkey off of the fingertips of Giants tight end, Mark Bavaro. The Giants defeated the Broncos 39-20, and Simms was named MVP of Super Bowl XXI. He is credited for being the first to use the phrase "I'm going to Disneyland!"/"I'm going to Walt Disney World Resort!" following a championship victory.

Later career: 1987–1993

Simms performed well in the strike-shortened 1987 NFL season, finishing with the second highest quarterback rating in the NFC. He threw for 2,230 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He passed for 3,359 yard, 21 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions while completing 54.9% of his passes in the 1988 season. The Giants rebounded from a 6–9–1 record in 1987 to finish 10–6 but missed the playoffs due to the NFL tie-breaker system. In 1989, the Giants started 8–1 and finished 12–4, Simms passed for 3,061 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions on 56.3% completion percentage. He performed consistently most of the season except for a two game stretch against the Eagles and 49ers where he produced seven turnovers, six of which resulted in points for the opposition. He also struggled in the Giants playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams, and the Giants lost 19–13. In 1990, Simms was having one of his finest seasons, leading the NFC with the highest quarterback rating (92.7) and the Giants to an 11–3 record. But his season was cut short due to a broken foot suffered in the fourteenth game against the Giants' eventual Super Bowl XXV opponent, the Buffalo Bills. The Giants went on to defeat the Bills 20–19 in the Super Bowl.

After the Giants Super Bowl victory, Parcells resigned and was replaced by the team's running backs coach Ray Handley. One of Handley's first decisions was to select Jeff Hostetler, who had quarterbacked the team to a victory in Super Bowl XXV, as the team's starting quarterback. Simms regained the starting job after a Week 13 win against Tampa Bay where Hostetler broke his back. Simms would keep the job to start the next season, but was injured early in the year and missed most of the season. In those two seasons, he only played in 10 games, and threw for 1,905 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions while completing 59.3% of his passes, while the team struggled to 8–8 and 6–10 finishes. During his stint as head coach Handley made it clear that Hostetler was the first string quarterback no matter how well Simms performed when he played. Following the season, Handley was replaced by former Broncos coach Dan Reeves, who immediately released Hostetler and named Simms the team's starting quarterback. He started all 16 games in 1993, being one of only seven quarterbacks to do so, and led the Giants to a resurgent 11–5 season including a victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs. However, Simms underwent shoulder surgery after the 1993 NFL Season to repair a torn labrum. The surgery was successful, and team doctor Russell F. Warren's prognosis for recovery was excellent, and Simms was expected to be ready in time for training camp. However, later during that offseason, Simms was released by the Giants, and subsequently decided to retire.

In his 14 seasons with the Giants, Simms completed 2,576 out of 4,647 passes for 33,462 yards and 199 touchdowns. His career passing yardage total ranks him twentieth in NFL history. He added 349 carries for 1,252 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground. Simms owns many of the New York Giants passing records, along with Kerry Collins. He set team records for most passes completed and attempted in one game (40 and 62, respectively), season (286, 533) and career (2,576, 4,647), most career touchdown passes (199) and most 300-yard games in a career (21). Sports Illustrated considered him to be the "Most Underrated Quarterback" in NFL History in their August 27, 2001 issue entitled, "The Most Overrated and Underrated".

Life off the field

On September 4, 1995, Simms' jersey was retired in a halftime ceremony of a game versus the Dallas Cowboys. During an emotional speech, Simms stated that he wanted to don his jersey one final time, and throw "one more pass" to teammate Lawrence Taylor. Simms later commented, "[a]ll of a sudden it kind of hit me, I've put Lawrence in a really tough spot; national TV, he's got dress shoes (Taylor says sandals) and a sports jacket on, and he's had a few beers and he's going to run down the field and I'm going to throw him a pass." Simms then motioned for Taylor to run a longer pattern, and after 30–40 yards, threw him the pass. Taylor later stated that the situation made him more nervous than any play of his career, "I'm saying to myself (as the pass is being thrown), 'If I drop this pass, I got to run my black ass all the way to Upper Saddle River because there ain't no way I'm going to be able to stay in that stadium'." Taylor caught the pass however, and the capacity crowd in attendance cheered in approval. Since he has been retired for more than five years, Simms is eligible for selection into the Pro Football Hall of Famemarker; he has yet to be inducted, however.

After his retirement as a player in 1994, Simms first joined ESPN then went on to join NBC's lead broadcast crew, teaming with Dick Enberg and Paul Maguire on that network's coverage of Super Bowl XXX and Super Bowl XXXII. Simms also announced Weightlifting at the 1996 Summer Olympics and served as a sideline reporter on The NBA on NBC for NBC Sports. In 1998, he moved to CBS, teaming first with Greg Gumbel and currently with Jim Nantz on the CBS's lead broadcast team. Also he worked with Armen Keteyian, Bonnie Bernstein and Lesley Visser.

Phil and his wife Diana live in Franklin Lakes, New Jerseymarker. They have three children: Chris, Deirdre, and Matthew (former freshman QB at Louisville, currently transferring).

In 2007 he guest starred as himself on the CBS Soap Opera As the World Turns.

He is a proud member (brother) of TKE (Tau Kappa Epsilon-Mu-Sigma (Morehead State University) International Fraternity and continues to recognize his membership through continuous involvement and an always friendly handshake and acknowledgement of his brotherhood.

Passing statistics

Year Team GP Att Com Pct Yds TD Int Rate
1979 New York Giants 12 265 134 50.6 1743 13 14 66.0
1980 New York Giants 13 402 193 48.0 2321 15 19 58.9
1981 New York Giants 10 316 172 54.4 2031 11 9 74.0
1983 New York Giants 2 13 7 53.8 130 0 1 56.6
1984 New York Giants 16 533 286 53.7 4044 22 18 78.1
1985 New York Giants 16 495 275 55.6 3829 22 20 78.6
1986 New York Giants 16 468 259 55.3 3487 21 22 74.6
1987 New York Giants 9 282 163 57.8 2230 17 9 90.0
1988 New York Giants 15 479 253 54.9 3359 21 11 82.1
1989 New York Giants 15 405 228 56.3 3061 14 14 77.6
1990 New York Giants 14 311 184 59.2 2284 15 4 92.7
1991 New York Giants 6 141 82 58.3 993 8 4 87.0
1992 New York Giants 4 137 83 60.6 812 5 3 83.3
1993 New York Giants 16 400 247 61.8 3038 15 9 88.3
Career Totals 164 4647 2576 55.4 33462 199 157 78.5
Key to Abbreviations

GP= Games Played

Att= Passes attempted

Com= Passes Completed

Pct= Completion percentage

Yds= Yards

TD= Touchdowns

Int= Interceptions

Rate= Passer rating

See also


  1. Katz, Michael. It's Simms of Morehead State; Giants Pick Simms, A Quarterback, No.1, The New York Times, May 4, 1979, accessed May 10, 2007.
  2. Simms and Meier. pgs. 74–75
  3. King, Peter. "The Rating Game: Nfl Quarterback", Sports Illustrated Volume: 95 issue 8 pg. 60 2001-08-27 ISSN: 0038 - 822X
  4. Katz, Michael. Giants Defend 'Value' in Choice of Simms; Perkins Optimistic Giants Selections, The New York Times, May 5, 1979, accessed March 20, 2007.
  5. Mooney, Roger. No team takes Phil Simms first in today's NFL, Bradenton Herald, April 22, 2007, accessed May 10, 2007.
  6. Katz, Michael. Giants Test Simms in A Workout; Pisarcik Overweight, The New York Times, May 11, 1979, accessed March 20, 2007.
  7. Rovell, Darren. Roethlisberger in demand,, November 4, 2004, accessed 2007-01-01.
  8. Neft, Cohen, and Korch. pg. 660
  9. Topps Football (1981). Card #55.
  10. Neft, Cohen, and Korch. pg. 724
  11. Neft, Cohen, and Korch. pg. 744
  12. Neft, Cohen, and Korch. pg. 766
  13. McConkey, Simms, and Schaap.
  14. New York Giants (1925 - ),, accessed May 9, 2007.
  15. Weir, Tom. Palmer, Johnson have Saints singing the blues,, November 20, 2006, accessed 2007-01-03.
  16. Anderson, Dave. Sports Of The Times; Phil Simms's Biggest Pass, The New York Times, November 17, 1986, accessed March 20, 2007.
  17. Schwartz. pg. 161
  18. Super Bowl Recaps: Super Bowl XXI, Super, accessed 2007-01-03.
  19. THE DAILY Goes One-on-One With Super Bowl Analyst Phil Simms,, accessed May 9, 2007.
  20. The List: Best Super Bowl performances,, accessed 2007-01-01.
  21. Anderson, Dave. SUPER BOWL XXI: SPORTS OF THE TIMES; Sinatra, Simms and Minelli , The New York Times, January 26, 1987, accessed May 10, 2007.
  22. 1987 NFL Statistic - Passing,, accessed 2007-01-01.
  23. Neft, Cohen, and Korch. pg. 894
  24. 1990 NFL Statistic - Passing,, accessed 2007-01-01.
  25. Neft, Cohen, and Korch. pg. 936
  26. Smith, Timothy W. FOOTBALL; Giants Tell Simms That He's The Boss, The New York Times, June 16, 1993, accessed March 22, 2007.
  27. 1993 New York Giants,, accessed May 9, 2007.
  28. PRO FOOTBALL; Simms's Surgery Goes Well, The New York Times, March 2, 1994, accessed 2007-01-01.
  29. Phil Simms,, accessed May 9, 2007.
  30. NFL All-Time Passing Yardage Leaders,, accessed 2007-01-02.
  31. Phil SImms,, accessed May 9, 2007.
  32. MNF 36: The List Monday Night Football Special (Original Air Date: Aug. 25, 2005),, accessed January 12, 2007.
  33. NFL Films, NFL Network, accessed April 22, 2007.
  34. George, Thomas. ON PRO FOOTBALL; The Giants' Best Play Of the Dallas Game Was Simms to L. T., The New York Times, September 5, 1995, accessed March 22, 2008.


  • McConkey, Phil, Simms, Phil, and Schaap, Dick. Simms to McConkey: Blood, Sweat, and Gatorade, New York: Random House. 1987 ISBN 0517567032
  • Neft, David S., Cohen, Richard M., and Korch, Rick. The Complete History of Professional Football from 1892 to the Present. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1994 ISBN 0312114354
  • Schwartz, John. Tales from the New York Giants Sideline, Sports Publishing LLC, 2004 ISBN 1582617589
  • Simms, Phil and Meier, Rick. Phil Simms On Passing, New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc. 1998 ISBN 0688161081

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