NFL Nation: Phil Simms

David TyreeJohn David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports
Score: Giants 17, Patriots 14
Date: Feb. 3, 2008. Site: University of Phoenix Stadium.

This was not a difficult call for me. The third-down Eli Manning pass that David Tyree caught against his helmet in the waning minutes of the Super Bowl XLII victory over the New England Patriots had to be the winner for most memorable play in New York Giants history.

The helmet catch was a runaway winner in fan balloting, pulling in more than 70 percent of the votes.

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The other two nominees came in Giants losses. That surely doesn't disqualify them as "memorable," and it's not as though the Giants' history doesn't have its share of lean times. But this is a franchise that has won four Super Bowls, and it seems to me that the winning play should come from one of those.

So what are the possibilities? The Phil Simms Super Bowl doesn't really have a standout play. It was a thrashing from the start. The most memorable play from the second Bill Parcells Super Bowl win was a missed field goal by the Buffalo Bills' Scott Norwood at the end of the game. And while Mario Manningham's sideline catch in Super Bowl XLVI was an all-time play, I rate the Tyree play ahead of it because of the difference in the significance of those two Super Bowls in NFL history.

The first Manning/Tom Coughlin Super Bowl was one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports, the Giants coming from behind against a Patriots team that was 18-0 and had set multiple offensive records. Also, the play had more to it than the helmet catch, as Manning had to escape what looked like a sure sack in order to get the throw off.

The Giants converted a fourth down earlier in that drive and would have to convert another third down later in it to keep their hopes alive before Manning connected with Plaxico Burress for the game-winning touchdown. But the Tyree play was so brilliantly improbable, so incredibly clutch on both ends and so significant in changing the history of the NFL (the 2007 Patriots would have plausibly been able to call themselves the greatest team ever) that it had to be the winner.
Former NFL quarterback Phil Simms called it a good thing. Former NFL receiver Cris Collinsworth called the entire mess unprecedented.

When it comes to the Washington Redskins and Robert Griffin III, there are endless opinions on what has transpired. Because both Simms and Collinsworth played the game and remain in it as broadcasters, for CBS and NBC, respectively, their takes are interesting.

Talking on Showtime's Inside the NFL, Simms said benching Griffin did not bother him.

"You could say performance wise they needed to make a change to help the football team," Simms said. "There are a lot of things, are they doing for spite? Doesn't matter. I do agree with this premise: Sit him down, let him make sure he's healthy, see what he can learn from the sidelines. I don't disagree with that premise -- if you do buy that premise."

Collinsworth then spoke to the dysfunction surrounding the franchise.

"I have honestly never seen anything like what's going on in Washington right now," he said. "I mean, since maybe the old days of the New York Yankees and Billy Martin. It is a soap opera. There are so many layers to what's going on in Washington right now, you just wonder could it ever possibly be fixed. And I guess they're just going to blow it up again and start all over again. Who knows what they're going to do? But this is as strange an end to the football season as I've ever seen."

Simms then returned the conversation to Griffin.

"He did need to step back, RG3," Simms said. "He needed to step back and it does help you… When you come back I do believe it makes you a different, and most of the time a better, player."

It will certainly make him more motivated. And what will make him better is a full offseason devoted to improving in the pocket, something he could not do last offseason. He needs to have a strong offseason to show his teammate how he'll respond to this situation, especially if Kirk Cousins continues to play well.

"The most interesting part for Washington's situation is what is happening in that locker room," Collinsworth said, "and how do those players feel about Robert Griffin. I don't know the answer to that question. I've heard bits and pieces of things, but I think Robert could do a lot in this offseason with his work ethic, with his relationship with teammates, to make this football team better next year."

Matt Simms recognized on his merits

November, 23, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Earlier this week, Matt Simms was recognized at the mall. That's happened in the past, but usually he's asked if he's the son of former Giants quarterback Phil Simms and then asked if he can tell his dad they said hi.

Simms
But this week, after he came into the Buffalo game and threw his first NFL touchdown to Jeff Cumberland, Simms was recognized on his merits.

"She said 'Oh, are you a Jets quarterback?,' and I was like, 'Yes ma'am," Simms said. "Even though she didn't know who I was, she knew what I did, and that was good enough for me."

Simms, or Mr. Simms as offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg referred to him Thursday, has retained his position on the merits as well. David Garrard may have more experience than Simms and starter Geno Smith combined, but the Jets have stuck by Simms as the backup.

What that means is that every time Smith takes a hit, as he did early against Buffalo, Simms sucks in his breath and puts on his helmet.

"If you're in a two-deep rotation, there's this constant alertness in case something should happen and you do have to take over," Simms said. "You don't want to not know something and leave a chance for embarrassment really, embarrassing for yourself, for your team, for the other guys on the field. So I try to stay on top of everything as much as I can so when I get in the huddle with Willie Colon and Nick Mangold and D'Brickashaw Ferguson, I need to be able to know everything and be in control."

The upside to doing well is generally another couple of weeks on the sidelines, because any move beyond that would be a tough transition for a team even if it could be personally beneficial. Simms said he's been encouraged by the success of former backups like Josh McCown when they get their chances.

"Those guys, secretly they're my heroes," Simms said.

Simms has had just enough success to win a sizable fan base among the Jets faithful but Simms, who isn't on Twitter, takes that with a grain of salt.

"It's tough sledding," Simms said of being a backup. "We're always the most popular guy when something goes wrong. But when you're a starter you get all the credit for the wins and too much blame for the losses."

Eli becomes Giants' all-time passing leader

October, 27, 2013
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PHILADELPHIA -- Eli Manning is the all-time passing leader in New York Giants' history.

Manning surpassed Phil Simms for the top spot on the franchise's all-time passing yardage list (33,463) when he completed a six-yard pass to Victor Cruz on the team's second drive Sunday.

Simms, who played 14 years with the Giants, finished his career with 33,462 passing yards.

Manning came into Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles with 33,448 career passing yards. He also holds the franchise's all-time records for attempts, completions and touchdown passes.

Simms family reunion takes place Sunday

October, 12, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- If Jets backup quarterback Matt Simms somehow ends up playing Sunday, there's extra incentive for him to win over the announcing crew. Especially the analyst, Phil Simms.

[+] EnlargeMatt Simms
Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesMatt Simms will probably be stuck on the sideline on Sunday as his father, Phil Simms, announces the game.
"I would want to play good so my own father doesn't rip me on television. I don't want to put him in that position," Matt Simms said with a laugh Friday. "He did joke to me saying that if that ever did happen he'd probably just walk out of the booth."

For the first time in his career, Matt will be part of a game that his father, Phil, is calling for CBS. Matt has yet to play this season and likely won't see the field against the Steelers.

"It will be interesting but at the same time it will be a great moment, I guess, for everyone. Even if I don't play, it's a great moment. It really is," Matt said. "I don't have to be on the field for it to be something we looks back on and kind of cherish."

The Simms family found out only recently that Phil and Matt would both be at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, as Phil was informed approximately two weeks ago that he'd be calling the game. This is Matt's first season on an NFL roster, giving the pair their first shot to work the same day.

Matt, who lives at home, said the two have talked about the situation, but he has not given Phil any extra breakdown of the Jets. He did see his father at the Jets' facility Friday and goofed around as he went up to him and asked: "Hey, big Phil, how you doing?"
Matt recognized some might find it awkward that his father is calling a game involving a team his son plays for, but he praised Phil for his professionalism. Phil, of course, is famous for his 14 years quarterbacking the Giants and winning two Super Bowls.

"He's great. He's a professional so I don't have to worry about anything like that," Matt said. "To be honest with you, he'll probably go out of his way to not bring me up. He's smart like that about it."

He added: "He's my father but at the same time he has to do his job to the best of his ability."

Houston hopes to wear Wilfork down

January, 11, 2013
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Interior defensive lineman Vince Wilfork was extraordinarily disruptive in New England's regular-season win against Houston.

Wilfork
Wilfork
For the rematch, in matchup graphics, we’re seeing right guard Ben Jones vs. Wilfork as a key matchup. But the rookie Jones will leave the field for some series with Brandon Brooks taking over. Brooks is also a rookie. He’s 15 or 20 pounds heavier than Jones.

The two are sure to get a lot of help from the team’s scheme and play calls. Wilfork can move around, so center Chris Myers and left guard Wade Smith will play a role in blocking him, too.

“Vince Wilfork was a tremendous problem for Houston in the first game,” CBS analyst Phil Simms said in his preview of the game. “What will Houston’s plan be this week to maybe change Vince Wilfork’s production? What will Houston do on the defensive side? When you give up 42 points, you have to try something different. Because whatever they did last time, it didn’t work. That’s what NFL coaching is about. And that is why coaches are so important in the NFL. They have to change game plans in order to change the performance and thought process of all the athletes they’re asking to do these things.”

The Texans rely on lateral movement in their zone-blocking scheme, and they try to cut guys to the ground. By the fourth quarter, a big defensive lineman who’s been repeatedly cut to the ground can grow awfully tired.

Houston hopes they are able to wear Wilfork down.

“He’s extremely tough,” Texans left tackle Duane Brown said. “I had one encounter with him where I pulled inside and didn’t really get much movement. He’s a big guy, creates great leverage, very smart player, can read a lot of stuff.

“When running away from him, it can be very important to get him on the ground so he’s not able to pursue and get tackles for losses. They’ve got a very talented interior defensive line, and can rotate in a lot of big guys. If you’re able to run the ball effectively for the majority of the game, it’d be nice to wear them down a little bit. We weren’t able to get that accomplished in the last game.”
Aaron RodgersRich Schultz/Getty ImagesThe Giants sacked Aaron Rodgers five times and limited him to 219 yards and one touchdown.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There was much hand-wringing in these parts the past several weeks about the way the New York Giants were slogging their way through another November. There was fresh enthusiasm in Dallas and Washington about the idea of the defending champions slipping back toward the pack. The Giants had made all of this happen by losing their last two games prior to their Week 11 bye, then emerging from it this week and into a remaining schedule that looked as though it could well be a meat-grinder.

And then, Sunday night, the Giants beat the red-hot Green Bay Packers 38-10, and the old reality reclaimed its place in the consciousness of those who'd been imagining a different ending this year. When the Giants are fired up, focused, physical on the offensive and defensive lines and driven by some sort of powerful external motivation … well, they're just about impossible to beat.

"All week, the message was that this game is on us, this game is about us and our execution," said linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, who had two of the Giants' five sacks of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. "If we do what we know we can do, we're going to be OK."

That message can be taken right out of this one game and applied to the remainder of the season. Sure, the rest of the schedule still looks tough. The Washington Redskins are on fire, two games behind and awaiting the Giants at FedEx Field next Monday night. The Dallas Cowboys are right there with Washington, and with what looks to be the easiest of all the division's schedules left to play. But the Giants are the ones with the two-game lead. The Giants are the ones who know they can win in places like Green Bay and San Francisco in the biggest of games. The Giants are the team in the NFC East with the championship pedigree, and Sunday night's alarming message to the rest of the league was that they appear to remember that now.

"There was a different enthusiasm in practice this week, and it showed up in the game," said Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who threw three touchdown passes in the game after three straight games without throwing any and passed Phil Simms for the all-time franchise lead in that category.

Everything about the Giants looked different this week. They were nastier on the offensive line, opening huge holes for running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown (before Brown left in the fourth quarter with what turned out to be a broken leg). They were more fearsome and determined on the defensive line, bringing pressure with the defensive ends and tackles as well as Kiwanuka up from linebacker and Chase Blackburn pressuring Rodgers from his middle linebacker spot. They were spry and nimble with their offensive formations, rotating receivers around to different positions, faking an end-around handoff to Hakeem Nicks before hitting Bradshaw with a 59-yard screen pass and working rookie Rueben Randle into the mix.

They were fresh, focused and emotionally fired up, in part because of a speech by 15-year-old Make-A-Wish recipient Adam Merchant, who'd cashed in his wish to be a part of the Giants' team this weekend and told the players on Friday night to "play like world champions."

"It would have been hard not to match that kind of intensity," Kiwanuka said of the effect Merchant had on the team.

The mission for the Giants now is to maintain that intensity over the next five weeks, and to do it they'll need to play as big up front as they did on both sides of the ball Sunday. Manning is going to be Manning, the receivers are going to be the receivers, and those reliable aspects of the passing game will continue to carry the Giants when they can. But when the Giants play like one of the very best teams in the entire league, it's because they're pushing people around on the offensive and defensive lines the way they were Sunday. Guys like left tackle Will Beatty and left guard Kevin Boothe were dominant against the Packers' defensive front, paving the way for 64 rushing yards from Brown and another 58 from Bradshaw.

"It just makes everybody on this team more comfortable if we can get that running game going," Bradshaw said.

It loosens things up in the passing game and gives the defense time to rest and refresh so it can go out and inflict pain on opposing quarterbacks. That's something the Giants haven't done with enough consistency this year, but they were determined to do it Sunday against Rodgers. They remembered sacking him four times in their playoff victory in Green Bay in January, and they knew they had to repeat that performance.

"Defensively, up front, we know we have the ability to affect every aspect of the game," Kiwanuka said. "We know we have to get it done up front for the rest of the team to feed off of us."

And that's what happened. After a shaky start in which Jordy Nelson got behind Corey Webster for a 61-yard touchdown, the defense locked in the rest of the way once the pass rush got going. Webster came back with a big interception later in the first half, and the Giants rolled in a way that reminded you of that whole January run. This is the way they look when they're at their best and most driven, and it reminds the rest of the league that, if there really does turn out to be a race this year in the NFC East, it'll only be because the Giants allowed that to happen.

"It reminds us what we're capable of, and that's all that matters," defensive end Justin Tuck said. "Yeah, we slipped a little bit, but we're refocused now, and hopefully we're done with the roller coaster and we can just excel."

They're the only team in the NFC East capable of doing that at this complete a level, and Sunday brought that reality back home for anyone who'd been wondering.

 

Rapid Reaction: Giants 38, Packers 10

November, 25, 2012
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the New York Giants' overwhelming 38-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.

What it means: The Giants' lead in the NFC East remains at two games over both the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys, which is obviously the most important thing. But if you believe in "statement" games, you have to admit the Giants made a statement with this victory. The Packers came in winners of five games in a row, re-establishing themselves as one of the NFC's best teams. The Giants had lost two straight prior to their Week 11 bye and had spent the past two weeks answering questions about their annual "November swoon" and the idea that the Redskins and Cowboys were closing in on them. A victory this convincing pushes a lot of those questions into the background for at least a week.

Making history: Former Giants quarterback Phil Simms may not consider Eli Manning one of the "elite" quarterbacks in the NFL, but Manning took something from Simms in this game. His third-quarter touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks was the 200th of his career, moving him past Simms and into first place on the all-time Giants touchdown pass list. Manning had not thrown a touchdown pass since Week 7, but he broke that drought with first-half strikes to Rueben Randle and Victor Cruz as the Giants built a 31-10 halftime lead. Interesting that Manning targeted Nicks more in this game than he targeted Cruz. Could indicate that Nicks' health has improved to the point where he'll be a larger part of the offense going forward.

Discount double-check: Pressuring Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was one of the keys to the Giants' playoff victory in Green Bay in January, and the Giants were able to do it again Sunday. They sacked Rodgers three times in the first half and five times in the game, and other than the first-quarter touchdown bomb to Jordy Nelson that tied the score at 7-7, Rodgers couldn't find time to find his receivers down the field. It was one of the most impressive performances of the year from the Giants' defensive front, which has struggled to get consistent pressure on opposing passers for much of the season. Osi Umenyiora had a sack and forced fumble that led to a touchdown late in the first half, Mathias Kiwanuka had two sacks and middle linebacker Chase Blackburn picked up a sack of his own and was a key part of the pressure packages.

Flip side: New York's offensive line had a big game too, opening holes for Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown in the run game more reliably than they had at any point this season. The backs found particular success on the left side of the line, where Will Beatty has been playing very well at tackle and Kevin Boothe appeared to have a very good game at guard.

New kid: Randle's touchdown catch was the first of his career, and while he struggled with a couple of muffs on punt returns in the second half, he does appear to be getting more and more looks on offense as the season goes along. The Giants' second-round pick this year out of LSU, Randle can play on the outside and allow Cruz to work in the slot, where he is at his best.

But he just got back: Safety Kenny Phillips was active for the first time since Week 4, and his impact was obvious on both the run defense and the pass defense. But he left the game in the third quarter with an injury to the same right knee that had kept him out of the previous six games. If Phillips has to miss significant time again, the Giants' defense would surely suffer for his absence. ... Andre Brown also left the game in the fourth quarter with what the team described only as a "lower leg injury."

What's next: The Giants will travel to Landover, Md. next week to play the Washington Redskins on "Monday Night Football." The Redskins are 5-6, two games behind the Giants in the NFC East with five games to play. They lost a heartbreaker to the Giants at MetLife Stadium in Week 7 when Manning hit Cruz for a 77-yard touchdown pass in the final two minutes.

Wednesday Word: Cowboys-Giants

September, 5, 2012
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We do "Final Word" on Fridays, when we offer our famous "five nuggets of knowledge" about the division's games that week. I'm going to do that Friday, have no fear, but by then only two of the NFC East's four teams will have yet to play their Week 1 games. So, with the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants set to kick off the NFL season Wednesday night in New Jersey, I thought I'd offer five nuggets of knowledge about tonight's game, with the help of ESPN Stats & Information:

The worth of Witten. Over the past three years, according to Stats & Info's "next level" numbers, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has completed 73.5 percent of his passes to tight end Jason Witten. During that same time period, the only higher percentage among quarterback-tight end combos was the 75.3 percent that Peyton Manning completed to Dallas Clark in Indianapolis. Witten is doubtful for tonight's game with a spleen injury.

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
Tim Heitman/US PresswireEli Manning has feasted on Cowboys defenses, throwing 31 touchdown passes in 15 career games against Dallas.
Breaking the Boys. Giants quarterback Eli Manning has 31 career touchdown passes in 15 career regular-season games against the Cowboys. That's his highest total against any opponent, and only three quarterbacks in NFL history have thrown more touchdown passes against the Cowboys: Jim Hart (35 in 24 games), Phil Simms (34 in 23) and Sonny Jurgensen (33 in 22).

Wednesday wonder. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there has not been an NFL game played on a Wednesday since Sept. 22, 1948, when the Rams beat the Lions 44-7. The NFL's kickoff game has been held on Thursday nights in recent years, but this year's was moved to Wednesday so as not to conflict with President Barack Obama's acceptance speech Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention. On a personal note, after tonight, I will have covered an NFL game on every day of the week other than Friday. Yes, I was at the Tuesday night game between the Vikings and the Eagles in Philadelphia two years ago.

Beginner's luck? The Cowboys and the Giants have played five times in season openers, and the Cowboys are 5-0 in those games (by a combined score of 194-72, by the way!). The last time they met in a season opener was 2007. The Cowboys won that game 45-35 and went on to finish 13-3 and win the NFC East. But they would lose a home playoff game that season to the 10-6 Giants, who went on to win the Super Bowl.

Keep 'em in coverage. Don't expect the Cowboys to blitz much tonight. Dallas sent five or more pass-rushers on just 34.5 percent of its opponents' pass plays in 2011, and their numbers when they did so ranked near the bottom of the league. While they've upgraded at cornerback with Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, that doesn't necessarily mean they should be more aggressive in this game against Manning. The Giants quarterback threw 18 touchdown passes last year when teams sent five or more pass-rushers at him -- the most of any quarterback in the league against the blitz.
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The debate flared up at some point Thursday, following the circulation of a USA Today story in which former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms said that both Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin "both absolutely one day will go in the Hall of Fame." Simms' point seemed to be that the effect the 2011-12 Super Bowl run had on the resumes of the Giants' quarterback and coach was to make them unassailable, where not long ago both were the targets of somewhat unwarranted criticism. And his point is well made.

But the debate about Manning somehow turned to this question: If he never played another game -- say he shocked everyone and announced his retirement this afternoon -- is he already a Hall of Famer, based on his career accomplishments to date?

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I think the answer is pretty clearly "no." The two Super Bowl titles, and his own significant role in delivering them in toe-to-toe matchups against certain Hall of Famer Tom Brady, form the counter-argument and the basis for the question. But Hall of Famers are players with long, distinguished careers whose numbers and accomplishments rank with the all-time greats. Having played just eight years in the NFL, Manning ranks 51st all-time in passing yards and 42nd in touchdowns. He's thrown exactly one more touchdown pass than former fellow Coughlin quarterback Mark Brunell, who is not going to the Hall of Fame. Put simply, as one would expect after only eight years, Manning has more work to do to become a Hall of Famer.

Personally, I think he's one of the great quarterbacks of his era and will play well enough over the next half-decade to reach the Hall of Fame. Say, for example, he passes for 4,000 yards in each of the next four years -- entirely possible, given his age, his talent, his supporting cast and the way the modern game is structured. That would land him somewhere around 11th or 12th on the career yardage list. And if he throws for 27 touchdowns per year for those same four years, that'd land him around eighth all-time. Those rankings, combined with his at-least-two Super Bowl titles and MVP trophies, look like Hall of Fame numbers to me. And I don't see any reason to believe he can't get there.

So the conclusion is that, while I agree with Simms that Manning is likely Canton-bound, I don't agree with those who would argue, as Jason Taylor did in that video linked above, that his ticket is already punched. We live in the instant-analysis, instant-gratification sports era, in which what's going on right now is held up as the most important stuff that's ever happened. But Hall of Fame voting takes the long view, and in order to get there, Manning has to keep being excellent for a while yet.

NFL32: Patriots-Steelers keys

October, 27, 2011
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Suzy and Mort give the keys to the Patriots-Steelers matchup; Mark Schlereth answers tweets on who will win the NFC East, and Did You Hear That? Phil Simms calls in to explain his comments on Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.

Biggest playoff flops

June, 14, 2011
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I'll leave it to the psychologists to analyze what it is that makes the Football Outsiders guys so obsessive about disappointment. Me, I'm getting a huge kick out of their series. Today's entry (an Insider piece, so just call me and I'll give you my password) is on the 10 most disappointing playoff teams -- a list of teams that had great regular seasons only to come up short in the postseason. And the NFC East is all over the list.

Caution: Painful memories ahead.

Coming in at No. 9 is the 1989 New York Giants, who went 12-4 in the regular season and lost to Flipper Anderson and the Rams in overtime in the divisional round of the playoffs:
"They had already won one Super Bowl and would eventually win another. They were facing a Rams squad led by Jim Everett, who was legendary for his inability to take a hit. The stage was set for a typical Giants win: lots of sacks and lots of handoffs. Taylor did get to Everett twice, but those were the Giants' only sacks, and the team's grinding offense ground to a halt when Simms completed just three passes to his wide receivers. Everett threw for 314 yards, hitting Flipper Anderson for a 30-yard touchdown in overtime for a victory that completely flipped the script of late-1980s football."

Next up, at No. 7, is a trio of Buddy Ryan-coached Philadelphia Eagles teams. The FO guys lumped the 1988, '89 and '90 Eagles together into one big disappointment. Philly went a combined 31-17 over those three seasons but couldn't make it past the divisional round of the playoffs. Included in here is the "Fog Bowl" loss to the Bears and a couple of wild-card-round beatdowns by the Rams and Redskins in the years that followed it:
"The 1988 Fog Bowl was certainly a disappointment to anyone who tuned in on television and hoped to see the action, but it wasn't a crippling loss for the Eagles, a young team that played well against an established powerhouse. The other two losses, though, set the pattern that doomed Ryan and the Eagles. The Rams used a three-man rush and eight-man zone defense to keep Cunningham from scrambling, so the baffled passer spent the game throwing short passes for minimal gains to his backs. Redskins coach Joe Gibbs knew how to handle Ryan's blitzes, dialing up a mixture of screen passes and max-protect bombs that made a great defense look silly. Combine No. 9 and No. 7 on this list, and you have a new definition of 'disappointment': losing to Jim Everett in the playoffs."

Telling you. Bitter guys, those Football Outsiders.

And finally, at No. 3 on the list ... who else but the 2007 Dallas Cowboys, who started 12-1, finished 12-4, went to Cabo with Tony Romo on the bye week and lost to the Super Bowl-bound Giants at home in the divisional round?
"The Cowboys actually held 14-7 and 17-14 leads in the playoff game, but after Brandon Jacobs scored a 1-yard touchdown near the start of the fourth quarter, the Cowboys' offense collapsed in a heap of ugly sacks and sloppy penalties. Lesson learned: Cabo is a great place for players to visit in early February, not early January."

I don't know about you guys, but I can't wait to see what kind of pain and ugliness the FO guys will be dredging up for us next week. I guess the best thing we can say about this week's series is that at least Giants and Redskins fans can remember how much fun it was to be on the right side of a couple of these letdowns. One man's horrible disappointment is another man's retroactive gloating opportunity. Or something like that.
The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Washington Redskins are trying to move up and get a quarterback.

The Denver Broncos are willing to listen to offers for their No. 2 pick. The Redskins have the No. 10 pick. The two quarterbacks who are expected to be taken before No. 10 are Auburn’s Cam Newton and Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert.

It is natural to think the John Elway and the Broncos and the Redskins and former Denver coach Mike Shanahan could be trading partners.

However, there are some obstacles to that pairing. It’s been widely believed that the Broncos would prefer to trade down no further than No. 8 to ensure they get a top defensive player.

Also, the Redskins could have difficulty moving all the way up to No. 2. According to the NFL draft trade value chart, the No. 2 pick is worth 2,600 points and the Redskins’ first two picks – No. 10 and No. 41 – would leave the Redskins about 800 points too shy. The Redskins don’t have a third or fourth-round pick. So, the Redskins would likely have to add their first-round pick in 2012 to the mix and hope Denver would be happy with it. The Broncos want help now and I think they could get a better package from Arizona (which picks No. 5) or Tennessee (No. 8) if those teams want to move up.

In a conference call this week, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay added credence to the importance of landing Newton or Gabbert for the quarterback-hungry teams.

“There are a lot of good quarterbacks in this class but not many great ones,” McShay said. “I think when you start to look at it, there’s Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, then there’s a drop off. Then it’s kind of ‘pick your poison.’”

Meanwhile, former Super Bowl-winning quarterback and current NFL analyst Phil Simms believes in Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.

Simms: Jets built to beat Colts ... Can they?

January, 7, 2011
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With intentions to win the AFC East, the New York Jets didn't expect to have a playoff rematch with the Indianapolis Colts so early in the tournament.

Nonetheless, CBS Sports analyst Phil Simms notes the Jets have prepared several months for the moment at hand. Simms provided his thoughts on Saturday night's first-round game in Lucas Oil Stadium.

"I believe that during the offseason the New York Jets built their football team to beat the Indianapolis Colts," Simms said. "Look at last season, when the Patriots lost to the Ravens in a horrendous game. Thoughts were that the Patriots could be on their way down. Everyone thinks the worst when you lose a playoff game, and the way the Jets lost to the Colts last year, they tried to correct things.

"They went out and got Antonio Cromartie and drafted Kyle Wilson to help them get better matchups against the Colts. Now, we will see. The Jets definitely have better matchups in the passing game this year than last when it comes to covering the Colts' receivers."

Simms still sees Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez as the pivotal figure.

"He is going to have to have a really, really good day for the Jets to win," Simms said. "The Colts are going to do whatever it takes to stop the Jets' running game. They will dare the Jets to throw it because in that building, with that noise, some of those defensive players dare you. And the big thing is, can you get the time to take advantage of it?"
Of all the reasons Brett Favre might cite for playing one more season, I think we've found the most interesting. Jason Vida of ESPN's Stats & Information points out that Favre certainly won't want to be known as the best quarterback in the history of the NFL to throw an interception on the final pass of his career.

Favre
Favre
As you might have heard, New Orleans Saints cornerback Tracy Porter intercepted Favre at the end of regulation in the NFC Championship Game, and the Vikings did not get a possession in overtime. If that turns out to be the last pass of Favre's career, he would immediately jump to the top of a well-researched list Vida recently sent my way.

So check it out as we continue to count down the minutes until the start of training camp:

10. Kordell Stewart (Dec. 28, 2003)

9. Jake Plummer (Dec. 31, 2006)

8. Scott Mitchell (Nov. 25, 2001)

7. Jim Harbaugh (Nov. 12, 2000)

6. Trent Green (Nov. 23, 2008)

5. Phil Simms (Jan. 15, 1994)

4. Drew Bledsoe (Oct. 23, 2006)

3. Ken Stabler (Oct. 21, 1984)

2. George Blanda (Dec. 21, 1975)

1. Sonny Jurgensen (Dec. 22, 1974)

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