The only things that get bashed as often on Twitter as CBS analyst Phil Simms are Donald Trump’s hair, Hillary Clinton’s emails and Marco Rubio’s tendency to repeat the same scripted line during debates.
So naturally, I expected my Twitter feed to be overwhelmed Sunday with tweets bashing Simms.
But in one of the dullest Super Bowls in 50 years, the most amazing stat in Denver’s 24-10 victory Sunday over the Carolina Panthers was the number of tweets from my followers bashing Simms: zero.
Calling his eighth Super Bowl, Simms didn’t give most of his critics much to complain about.
He wasn’t perfect. His phrasing was awkward at times and he misidentified one player after a sack.
But Simms also saw Carolina’s blitzes as quickly as Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, noticed the Broncos were spying on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to stop his runs and explained Denver’s excellent secondary was making it difficult for Carolina receivers to get open quickly for most of the game.
He even did something he often is criticized for not doing: criticizing.
After Denver linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller stripped Newton for the second time prior to the Broncos’ clinching touchdown, Simms noted that the Carolina quarterback didn’t go into the pile to try and recover his fumble.
“He decided not to dive in there,” said Simms. “I guess he made a decision it wasn’t worth it to go in there and get it.”
After Miller sacked Newton and caused a fumble that led to the first Bronco touchdown, Simms also quickly noted that Carolina offensive tackle Mike Remmers was beaten on the play.
Before the half was over, Simms said: “I haven’t seen Cam Newton under this much pressure all season.”
It was a line he repeated throughout the second half, illustrating why the high-scoring Panther offense was grounded.
“Cam gets as much time to throw the football as any quarterback in the league,” said Simms near game’s end. “Not tonight.”
Simms also was quick to give an opinion of Carolina coach Ron Rivera’s decision to use his second and final challenge on a sack of Manning in the first half that only gained him seven yards and meant the Panthers had to go the rest of the game without a challenge.
Simms thought it was a reasonable gamble since the Panthers were going to get good field position and possibly change the momentum of the game, down by 10-7.
Even if you disagreed with Simms’ opinion – and I did – it was great to hear him have one. The Panthers wasted the field position, which meant the challenge didn’t really help them.
Simms’ more-admired partner, play-by-play man Jim Nantz, also had a decent game. On Miller’s big first-half play, he noted that the first (Newton) and second (Miller) picks of the 2011 draft were involved in the play.
Nantz also drew some interesting comments out of Simms about Manning’s legacy after the game was over.
Mike Carey, the former official who might be the only CBS employee who gets more criticism than Simms on game days, was asked for an opinion on the first Panther challenge to what was ruled an incompletion to receiver Jerricho Cotchery.
Carey thought the call would be overturned.
The ruling stood.
He got bashed even though replays made him appear to be right. Maybe the NFL will have fixed the catch, no-catch question in the next 50 years.
More highs and lows
Poker Face: CBS cameras caught Carolina owner Jerry Richardson looking on in his box. Lady Gaga, who sang an excellent rendition of the national anthem, would have called it a poker face.
Frozen: During one key Bronco third down, the CBS picture was as frozen as the Panthers’ offensive line appeared to be on Miller’s game-changing sacks. The telecast had one other aggravating video moment. Nantz noted that Carolina thought Denver’s Aqib Talib was offsides on a missed field goal attempt but the replay was shown too fast to see if the Panthers were right.
Bills Win Super Bowl XXV: The much-promoted pregame piece that imagined the Bills would have won four Super Bowls instead of losing them all was cute and silly, as long as you didn’t take it seriously. Jim Kelly, Steve Tasker, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Marv Levy obviously didn’t or they wouldn’t have taken part in a feature that imagined Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal in Super Bowl XXV had gone through the uprights and the Bills had won, 22-20, instead of losing, 20-19.
As Carolina’s loss proved again, a supposedly unstoppable offense can be stopped in the Super Bowl every 25 years.