Phil Simms on Playing for Parcells
Michael Eisen August 3rd, 2013
Simms, a first-round draft choice in 1979, is one of only three players in history to play 15 seasons for the Giants. Parcells was his head coach for eight of those seasons (1983-90). During that time, Simms helped lead the Giants to five postseason berths and two Super Bowls and he was named the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XXI after completing 22 of 25 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns.
“When Bill was named head coach I could tell he was different from most head coaches I had dealt with. There was just more personality involved. He definitely talked to players more than most coaches that I had been associated with.”
In 1983, Parcells selected Scott Brunner as the Giants’ starting quarterback over Simms after a training camp competition.
“I know that he favored Scott, but being young and all of that, I didn’t care. You always think as a player it doesn’t matter and you’ll overcome it. There were instances I went home and said, ‘This is so biased it’s beyond belief.’ But I knew that and as I’ve said many times, really it was almost a good thing that it was, because it played itself out and probably ended up helping me.”
The Giants were 3-12-1 in Parcells’s first season.
“As much as I thought ’83 was rigged, ’84 was rigged, too. Nobody said anything to me, but you just know and they wanted me to be the guy, so things worked out quickly in practice and in the preseason. I think they named me the starter after Week 2 of the preseason. We played the Steelers in the last preseason game and I didn’t throw a pass to Zeke Mowatt. I said, ‘He’s covered,’ and I can remember this like it was yesterday. Parcells goes, ‘Simms, you got to remember, when he’s covered he’s really open.’ That was his big thing. I tell quarterbacks in the league things that Bill would say to me and I know they don’t believe it. He’d say, ‘You have to take more chances. Don’t worry. You’re going to make a mistake. Don’t try to be perfect.’
“His greatest line to me ever was during the opening game in 1984 and we’re walking out of the locker room. He said, ‘If you don’t throw two interceptions today, you’re not taking enough chances.’ If a coach said that now, they’d be struck by lightning. Coaches say, ‘Turnovers are the biggest cause of winning and losing in the NFL. I want our team to take a lot of chances and be very dynamic, but we can’t turn the ball over.’ It’s funny. That wasn’t part of the mantra with him then and God, did I make some of the most unbelievable turnovers in history. I’d come to the sidelines and he would be so mad he couldn’t even talk and he would just hold it in and go, ‘Okay, it’s alright. That’s what I’m telling you. Take some chances.’ He’d say it through clenched teeth. Hey, you’re the one who told me to take chances, big guy. It was unbelievable looking back to think how brazen and how it is just so not like anything we hear or see now. In practice sometimes I’d throw the ball and complete it for five or six yards and they’d literally stop practice and yell at me. ‘Why are you throwing it there?’ Well, because the guy down the field was covered. ‘Hell, give him a chance. What are you worried about? Your completion percentage? Your quarterback rating?’ It just was a different thought process back then.
Parcells was constantly putting pressure on Simms in practice.
“Every day. There were very few days where it wasn’t the end of the world. I say that and I don’t know how else to explain it. Every practice was the end of the world. Today has got to be a great day. If it’s not the greatest day, oh my gosh, he would stress even more the whole next day about the practice from the day before. The only time he didn’t really pressure us was when one of two things happened. One, he would pout sometimes and not talk to anybody. It wasn’t very often, but a couple of times he would do silent Bill and just stand there and not say a word to anybody. And then sometimes, especially for me, if I was really, really struggling, he would be very careful with how he treated me in practice, too.
“When I struggled, he’d back off. The better you played, the harder he would be on you. There’s a madness to it, because self-satisfaction and all of those things creep into you when you’re playing well. In sports the desperate team and desperate player is the guy to look out for. How do you do that to players who are playing well and winning? You have to somehow create a false sense of insecurity or whatever. I guess just keeping them on edge, and that’s what he tried to do. Listen, we beat the 49ers, 49-3, in a playoff game. He was absolutely out of control the next day in the meetings, just complaining about things that went wrong, that we were misled and the score didn’t tell the truth and all this stuff about the game. I didn’t sit there and go, ‘This is an act.’ It was real. He immediately went into attack mode after that game was over to keep everybody on edge and know what was in front of us. I’m not exaggerating. I got it. I felt it.
“After Super Bowl XXI - I’m not going to say what he said to me, but he just said some things to me and it was probably one of the few times that he quit being the coach for a few minutes and said some things that I’ll never forget.
“Bill liked confrontation. He liked adversity, friction, all the words you can come up with. That’s how he grew up and how he was coached probably his whole life and for most of his life that’s how he coached. Lawrence (Taylor), Carl Banks. He’d ride Joe Morris, Maurice Carthon, O.J. Anderson, all the offensive linemen; everybody was basically on that list. It was endless and those guys were all allowed to say things back to him when the time was appropriate. Here’s what’s amazing. Those confrontations and all of these things, he never took it personal. He never held it against anybody.
“I’ve never known a coach ever to be like that. I said things to him. He never held it against me. There were times you’d say things and you’d go home and you’d go, ‘Oh my God, I finally did it.’ And then the next day it was like it never happened. He might make fun of it. ‘You really hated me there didn’t you? How much did you hate me?’ And then you go, ‘Wow. What is wrong with this coach?’
“I never held anything he said to me against him, because he never really made it as personal as all the players did against him. He was always just doing it as the coach and trying to create an atmosphere where you’d perform better.
“My relationship with Bill now is good. We talk about everything. We always laugh. Believe it or not, we text every once in a while. I think that’s hilarious.
“It’s nice. I don’t know if it changes a lot. I think it still stays the same. That line is still there. It is with me. If I got on the phone with Ron Erhardt, I’d feel like I was sitting in the back meeting room in Giants Stadium still. He was still the coach and most of the time I listened.
“Bill is my friend, but he is still my coach. Absolutely. I don’t think that ever changes. I really mean it. It’s almost the same as a father and son relationship. As I grew up and as I was a so-called man, my relationship with my father was he’s still my father. No matter what. No matter what we say to each other and laugh a little bit more. But those relationships, I don’t know if that hierarchy ever changes.”
Kyle Long Welcome to the NFL
Jack M Silverstein August 5th, 2013
If Bears fans had any questions about first-round draft pick Kyle Long's mobility, they were answered Thursday at training camp in Bourbonnais. Near the end of an Armando Allen run, when most players had believed the play to be dead, safety Brandon Hardin popped the ball loose and began sprinting the other way. Trailing a step behind him was Long, who charged after Hardin like his job was on the line.
Hardin eventually pulled away, but for a bit there it looked as if Long would catch him. RedEye caught up with the 6-foot-6, 311-pound offensive lineman our of Oregon after practice, getting his thoughts on his transition to the NFL, training camp trash talk and the speed of the NFL.
This is your first NFL training camp. What are the big surprises?
Just the depth and complexity of the playbook. For a lot of guys who have been playing football longer than me, it's probably a little easier. It's been something I've been trying to pick up on, to learn more and more everyday.
Have you felt the brunt of any pranks so far?
Not a lot of stuff. Just carrying pads. Being subject to the brunt of some jokes. Subject to some ridicule, probably. You know, just the guys on defense talking smack. The older guys—in particular Peanut [Charles Tillman]. Peanut likes to give me crap.
What has he done? We've heard about him sneaking into guys' rooms ...
The other day I did a false start, and he said, "Give 'em their money back!" [Laughs.] I've never heard anything like that. So I have to develop some thick skin and roll with the punches, as they say.
Have you pranked anybody?
No. I'm subject to the pranks. I'm not trying to step on anybody's toes. We do stuff between the rookies. The rookies like to prank each other. I'm always messing with Jordan Mills. He's probably my best buddy on the team. We give each other a lot of crap
. What do you get him on?
Little stuff. Like he'll be on the phone with his girlfriend and I'll run in and rip his ear phones out. Just giving him hell. [Smiles.]
Do you have an offensive line protector? Someone who's got your back?
All the guys. [Roberto] Garza, [Jermon] Bushrod, J'Marcus [Webb], [Matt] Slauson. All these guys are doing a great job of looking out for the rookies, and I'm just really appreciative of that.
How much different is the speed in the NFL compared with college?
Everybody out here is fast. Everybody in college is fast. The difference is that everybody out here knows where to go, you know what I'm saying? It's more of a controlled speed, where people are doing the right thing, people are checking down, you know where you have help from, so adjustments happen a lot quicker. Everybody's fast.
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
About 12 hours after this interview, Long returned to his dorm room to find a hairy, ten-legged visitor in his bed. Long told the tale on Instagram: "Either tarantulas are indigenous to Illinois, or I've been pranked very horribly and I will never sleep again."
Collinsworth Multiple Emmy, Super Bowl Winner
Jeff Navin August 5th, 2013
MAN AMONG BOYS
Cris Collinsworth is among Brevard County’s greatest four-sport athletes as he starred in football, basketball, track and field and baseball for Astronaut High School.
Playing quarterback for the War Eagle’s outstanding coach Jay Donnelly, he was also named to the all-state team in basketball during his senior year, and won the 100-yard dash in the Class 3A State Track and Field Championships as a junior.
His father, Abe Collinsworth, who played for a national championship basketball team under Adolph Rupp at the University of Kentucky, was his high school basketball coach.
In track, Collinsworth, who graduated from Astronaut in 1977, posted a state championship winning time of 10.0 seconds in the 100 as the 6-foot-5 Collinsworth out-leaned the competition at the tape.
Collinsworth earned prep football All-America honors from Parade, Scholastic Coach, Joe Namath Prep and Kickoff magazines.
The FHSAA named him an all-state quarterback on two occasions and he was named the All-Southern first-team quarterback for his play during his senior season with the War Eagles.
Despite a cordial chat with legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, who wanted him to be his option quarterback, and a recruiting pitch from eventual Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, Collinsworth chose to play quarterback for coach Doug Dickey at the University of Florida.
In his first game, Collinsworth tied a collegiate record with a 99-yard scoring pass to Derrick Gaffney.
QB TO WIDE RECEIVER
A broken hand slowed Collinsworth his first season as he moved to wide receiver for his sophomore season, and began a three-year stretch where he would be named All-Southeastern Conference first-team each season.
As a sophomore, Collinsworth caught 39 passes for 745 yards and nine touchdowns. He also carried the ball 18 times for 100 yards. The Gators struggled the next season but Collinsworth caught 41 passes for 593 yards and two touchdowns despite Florida finishing 0-10-1.
The following season Collinsworth led the way in one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA college football history as Florida finished 8-4. Collinsworth, a senior, had 40 receptions for 599 yards and three touchdowns.
He finished his outstanding career at Florida with 120 receptions for 1,937 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Some NFL scouts thought Collinsworth was too slight at 6-foot-5 and 192 pounds to withstand the rigors of the NFL, which allowed the Cincinnati Bengals to take him in the second round of the 1981 NFL Draft with the 37th overall pick.
Collinsworth made an immediate impact with 67 receptions for 1,009 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie – and was also named to the Pro Bowl and played in the Super Bowl in which he had five receptions for 107 yards against the San Francisco 49ers.
Collinsworth played in his second Super Bowl during his final season in 1988. In 107 regular-season games in the NFL, 90 of them starts, Collinsworth had 417 receptions for 6,698 yards and 36 touchdowns.
EMMY AWARD WINNING BROADCASTER
Collinsworth, who received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Florida in 1981, earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Law in 1991.
He began his broadcasting career as a sports radio talk show host for WLW in Cincinnati and later became a reporter for HBO’s Inside the NFL in 1989.
Collinsworth has been both a studio host and color commentator for NBC, Fox and the NFL Network. He also was part of NBC’s broadcast team for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Collinsworth, who was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1959, has won five Emmy Awards. He and his wife Holly have four children. His son, Austin, currently plays football at the University of Notre Dame.
Bears List Kyle Long, James Brown as "Co-Starters" on Depth Chart
Michael David Smith August 5th, 2013
Bears first-round draft pick Kyle Long hasn’t quite earned the starting right guard job just yet.
The Bears have released the first depth chart of training camp, and at right guard there are “co-starters”: Long and James Brown.
Chicago won’t feel good if Brown is the starter at the beginning of the regular season, considering that the whole reason they got a brand new guard in the first round of the draft was to upgrade at the position over what they had last year, when Brown signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent and ended up starting the final three games of the regular season.
The smart money is on Long ultimately earning the job and starting in Week One. But for now anyway, Brown still has a chance to beat Long out, perhaps by impressing the coaches as the hardest working man in camp.