“I’m not the type of guy that’s looking forward to sitting on the beach,” he told me on the phone two weeks ago.
Simms has been the lead analyst for CBS football games since 1998. Sunday’s Super Bowl, between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, will be his seventh as an announcer.
When we spoke, he was making the two-hour drive from a taping of Showtime's "Inside the NFL" in South Jersey back home to Franklin Lakes, in North Jersey. On top of the game he broadcasts each week, his workload has grown to include weekly spots on "Inside the NFL" and CBS Sports Network’s "NFL Monday Quarterback", as well as radio interviews like his Sunday spot on Mike Francesa's "NFL Now". His gigs require that he watch every N.F.L. game every weekend.
“I always used to say I prepared more as a quarterback, but that’s just not true anymore,” he said. Now, “there’s really no day off.”
But he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I was watching the game the other night, and Brent Musberger’s doing the game. And I turned to my wife and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could hang on to be 73?’ And my son [Matt] goes, ‘Dad, that’s sad.’ But it’s too much fun being involved in football. I see Dick Endberg, I see Brent Musberger. What a thrill to be part of the action! There’s so much to the game.”
There always has been for Simms. His exclamations—“Wow!” “Golly!”—speak to his unrestrained, goofy enthusiasm for football. This quality sets Simms apart from his more diffident counterparts at FOX and NBC, Troy Aikman and Cris Collinsworth.
To his fans, Simms is smart and infectiously enthusiastic. To his critics, he's a strident know-it-all.