Phil Simms, who in August suggested that he might avoid saying Redskins during “Thursday Night Football” broadcasts, said Redskins at least three times during last Thursday’s game between Atlanta and Tampa Bay.
Did Simms change his mind? No, he simply slipped. In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch this week, Simms reiterated that he will attempt to avoid saying the name on Thursday night’s broadcast when the Redskins host his former team, the Giants.
“That’s still my thought process,” Simms said. “I made that decision and I’m not going into what really drove me to it, but it offends a certain group of people and I have sympathy for them. So I can have sympathy for them and I am not denigrating the other side. Will I refer to their nickname? Look, I have already done it. It is a habit. I played for 15 years and they were a bitter rival. There is a chance I could slip.”
While it’s amusing to imagine Simms tying a string around his finger or posting a sign in the booth with a slash through the name “Redskins,” he told Deitsch that he won’t have any notes in front of him to remind him to avoid the name. If he slips, he slips.
“Unfortunately this issue and the nickname, it has been out there for so long and on my radar and I know what I said, but it’s not the easiest habit to break,” Simms said. “So if I refer to them by their nickname, I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ It could happen. In fact, it did slip this year and I did not know it. I had no idea. Now I could refer to the nickname I had for them as a player, but I don’t think that is appropriate for television. I am just going to let it go. Once the game starts, there are a lot of things on my mind I want to talk about it.”
For the record, Simms played 20 games against Washington in his career. He went 14-6 with 25 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and a 76.1 passer rating in those games.
If I wasn’t planning to listen for how many times, if any, Simms says Redskins, I’m not sure I would notice if he, or any other broadcaster, avoided the name. I’m somewhat surprised there isn’t a Simms-related prop bet on Bovada.