NEWS - FEBRUARY 2017
Chris Long shares Super Bowl win with HOF Father | SUPER BOWL LI
Phil Simms on a Dream Started on a Kentucky Farm
The former Giants Quarterback recalls his demanding father, playing sports with his seven siblings and starting to earn money at an early age.
Phil Simms, 61, is the former quarterback for the New York Giants, where he won two Super Bowl titles and set an NFL record for highest pass-completion percentage in a championship game. He is the lead analyst for “The NFL on CBS” and CBS’s “Thursday Night Football,” as well as an analyst on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.” He spoke with Marc Myers.
I was born on my grandfather’s farm in Springfield, Ky. One day when I was 4, I was playing football out back and ripped one of my socks, so I ran into the house to get a new pair. As I pulled open my dresser drawer, I said to myself, “I’m going to play pro sports when I grow up.” I never forgot that moment.
My grandfather owned 399 acres and grew mostly tobacco, though he also raised milk cows, cattle, pigs and sheep. My four brothers, three sisters and I were expected to work the farm, just like my dad.
Our family lived on the first floor of a two-story redbrick farmhouse. That’s all the space we could afford. The second floor was sectioned off because my parents couldn’t afford to heat it. The boys slept on a mattress in the hallway.
By the time I was 6, I milked cows and followed my father’s tractor as he weeded the tobacco fields. My job was to make sure the tobacco plants weren’t covered by soil after the hoe pulled out the weeds.
Phil Simms, in back on right, with five of his seven siblings in a 1958 photo in their Springfield, Ky., home.Photo: Phil Simms
My dad, Willie, farmed, and my mom, Barbara, took care of the family and the house. There was nothing she couldn’t do. She upholstered the furniture, made the curtains, cooked and made all of us clothes if she had to.
Of the eight kids, I was the fifth to arrive. My mom had seven kids in a 10-year period, so we weren’t far apart in age. Everyone inherited everyone else’s clothes and shoes, whether they fit perfectly or not.
To say that my father loved baseball is an understatement. That’s all he talked about. He had been a minor-league pitcher. Every Sunday, all of us would play baseball on the farm. Even my sisters could throw. When we were older, they played in neighborhood games, and they weren’t picked last.
When I was 5, my family moved an hour north to Louisville. My father had a falling out with his father over his share of the farm’s profits and how much work he was doing. Louisville offered better-paying factory jobs.
The first house we moved into was a rental—a white ranch house. A year later, my father bought a three-bedroom house that was actually smaller than the rental. There was one bedroom for the boys, one for the girls.
In the boys’ room, there was a queen-size bed and a single. My oldest and youngest brothers shared the small bed while the rest of us shared the queen. During the winter, we’d fight over who got the middle to stay warm.
My father first worked for a cabinet factory, while my mom worked for General Electric. After she was laid off, they both went to work at Brown & Williamson, the cigarette company.
My dad was tough. He told us, “If you want something, you better find a way to earn enough money to get it.” So we cut grass, cleaned houses and did odd jobs. From the time I was 8, my parents never had to buy me articles of clothing, schoolbooks or anything else.
Starting at age 9, I also delivered newspapers—the Courier-Journal in the morning and the Louisville Times after school. My brothers and I would get up every day at around 5 a.m., and no matter what the weather, we’d run 3Ž4 of a mile to pick up our papers. We did this again in the afternoon.
Phil Simms dumping confetti on Giants coach Bill Parcells in 1987 to celebrate the team’s win in Super Bowl XXI, in which he was named MVP.
I was consumed with sports and my first passion was baseball. Then one day the coach of the fifth-grade football team asked me to play. He wanted me to be the quarterback. I found I could really throw the ball, especially long bombs down the field.
I liked being the quarterback. I was in charge. I also liked wearing a helmet. I felt I was in disguise and could be the person I wanted to be. When I enrolled at Morehead State in 1974, I was still a better pitcher than quarterback. In my sophomore year, I switched from pitcher to playing first and third base to focus on hitting.
But I began to lose my passion. After my junior year, I decided to play football instead. What drove me to football was how darn hard it was and being at the center of so many players.
I also really enjoyed the feeling of the ball leaving my hand in a perfect spiral and watching it go to my receivers. The goal wasn’t balls and strikes but putting the football in their hands.
When I was drafted by the New York Giants in May 1979, my mother never worried about me going to New York and falling in with the wrong crowd. The days of her worrying were long gone. Working the way I did as a kid, I was always self-reliant and responsible.
Today, my wife, Diana, and I live in Franklin Lakes, N.J., on 19 acres. We have a two-story house with six bedrooms. I love the kitchen. When my three grown kids come over with the grandkids, it’s a great place to hang out.
After a few years in the NFL, I bought my parents a house in Louisville. It was on a beautiful piece of property next to one of my sisters. Later, after my dad died, my mom didn’t like being alone so I bought her a house in a subdivision.
Dad was a hard guy, but he taught us so many things. Sometimes I wish I had been more like him—the structure and the toughness. But while his approach may have worked back then, it’s a different world now.
I do a lot of reading and still have five newspapers delivered to my home each morning. This goes back to my childhood. I know that on the other end of those papers is someone up early working hard.
The Game Behind The Game
Rutherford-based 16W has its hands all over this year's Super Bowl
By Andrew George, January 30, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Three years ago, New Jersey got a little taste of what the Super Bowl is all about when the game was played for the first time at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands.
On the other hand, this year’s game, Feb. 5’s Super Bowl LI featuring the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium in Houston, will be the third big game hosted in the Lone Star State’s biggest city.
But just because Texas is a long way from home and no local teams are participating in this year’s Super Bowl doesn’t mean the Garden State won’t have its hands all over the game.
That’s where Steve Rosner and Frank Vuono, co-founders of Rutherford-based sports marketing firm 16W Marketing LLC, come in.
Rosner and Vuono will only have one client actually playing in the game: Chris Long, a defensive end for the New England Patriots.
But active players aren’t really 16W’s focus. Instead, it specializes in representing on-air talent, most of whom are retired players themselves.
“We usually have three guys in the mix, regardless of what year or what network,” Rosner said.
Clients include Boomer Esiason, Cris Collinsworth, Phil Simms and Bob Papa.
With FOX having the television rights to this year’s game, analyst Howie Long, father of Chris Long and former Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders, will be 16W’s most front-and-center client.
But Esiason is slated to handle the game on Westwood One’s airwaves and Papa, who is known locally for his play-by-play work with the New York Giants, also will be on the radio, covering the game for the NFL’s international signal.
“When you go to the stadium, they usually sell these little radios that you can listen to the broadcast of the game,” Vuono said. “So, on all three networks on that radio, our clients will be on it.”
Up until last year, Rosner and Vuono had been riding a streak of 23 consecutive Super Bowl games that they had attended and sat next to one another for. At the game, Vuono said he does his best to stay in tune with his clients on the airwaves.
“I actually plug that thing in, because I like to get a sense for how our guys are doing, and I go back and forth between the stations,” Vuono said.
But for the most part, Rosner and Vuono said, work is put on hold after the opening kickoff.
“The one good thing come Sunday is that we’re fans,” Rosner said. “Regardless of being in the business 35 years apiece, one of our bonds, besides being Jersey guys, is that we’re fans. Him of the Giants, me of the Jets, but come Sunday, we’re just like everybody else. Truthfully, I’ll worry about the broadcast and the pregame show on Monday or Tuesday when I get home and I get a chance to watch it.”
However, the week leading up to the game is a different story.
Between the on-air talent and a number of involved corporate clients like NRG, Ford and Aramark, for Rosner and Vuono, there will always something to do or somewhere to go in Houston.
“If you look at my calendar and look at every event that is happening in there, I could go to four different events at every single hour of the day at the same time … so we just constantly try to divvy it up, and you go where you can,” Vuono said.
Rosner added that, during the week, their most visible clients like Long and Esiason are “probably the least that we talk to, because they’re so entrenched in preparation and other commitments that they have for their networks.” So, an early-week dinner usually suffices, he added.
“We want them to do their thing,” Rosner said.
Even in the digital age, Rosner said that he can’t manage the big game appropriately without his “Super Bowl bible,” a thickly-bound collection of everything from clients’ schedules to directions, to events, to local dining options for the host city.
This year, for what it’s worth, Rosner points out the irony in that the Jersey guys are heading all the way down to Texas for a scheduled dinner at the Italian restaurant called Arthur Ave.
Not to be lost in the mix, however, is a large party that 16W now hosts annually on the Thursday night before the game somewhere near the game site. The event has grown in size over the years and offers a chance to connect with current and potential future clients, Rosner and Vuono said.
“It used to be a brunch, and now it’s a Thursday night party that’s attended by 125 people or so,” said Rosner.
Though 16W has clients that deal with most of the other major sports, football is certainly the most predominantly featured in their network.
But just because this past year’s NFL season will end at the culmination of Sunday’s game doesn’t mean that 16W goes into offseason mode.
That doesn’t exist in their business, Rosner and Vuono said.
“There’s a lot of negotiation that goes on in the offseason. … You’re constantly chasing. You’re putting things into place that are going to transpire in a particular sports season and you’ve got to plan that well in advance,” Vuono said.
“It’s a constant business,” added Vuono.
Pro Football Hall of Fame - 02/06/2017
Gold Jacket Howie Long is no stranger to hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy, during his Super Bowl XVIII victory with the Oakland Raiders. But this year’s game brought a unique experience for the Long family, as Howie got to watch his son Chris win his own ring with the New England Patriots’ incredible 34-28 overtime victory against the Atlanta Falcons.
With this victory, the Long family becomes the seventh father-son combination to each win a Super Bowl. Howie and Chris join Bob and Brian Griese as the only Hall of Fame Super Bowl Champion fathers with sons to hoist their own Lombardi Trophy.
The Patriots trailed 21-0 throughout the second quarter but managed to score a field goal right before heading into the locker-room at the half, 21-3. While facing the Falcons’ number one offense on football’s biggest stage, it was hard for Chris not to have some doubts in winning the game.
“I kept telling people Duron Harmon walked in and said, ‘This is going to be the best comeback of all time,’" Long said in an interview with ProFootballTalk. “And we completely believed it. We had enough guys like that that were pulling guys like me along who were down. There were some guys that were like, ‘Man, how’d we get in this hole? We’re going to keep fighting, but it’s hard to believe.’ We just kept at it.”
“I think it’s one of those feelings, it feels amazing right now but it’s going to feel better as a memory all the time,” concluded Long. “That memory is never going to leave me. You feel like you’re kind of immortal.”
Father: Howie Long, (HOF) DE, Raiders (XVIIII)
Son: Chris, DE, New England (LI)
Father: Craig Colquitt, P, Pittsburgh (XIII, XIV)
Son: Britton, P, Denver (XLVIII, Super Bowl 50)
Father: Frank Cornish, DT, Miami (VI)
Son: Frank, C, Dallas (XXVII, XXVIII)
Father: Bruce Davis, T, Oakland-L.A. Raiders (XV, XVIII)
Son: Bruce, LB, Pittsburgh (XLIII)*
Father: Steve DeOssie, LB, N.Y. Giants (XXV)
Son: Zak, LB, N.Y. Giants (XLII)
Father: Bob Griese, (HOF) QB, Miami (VI, VII, VIII)
Son: Brian, QB, Denver (XXXIII)*; Chicago (XLI)*
Father: Emery Moorehead, TE, Chicago (XX)
Son: Aaron, WR, Indianapolis (XLI)