SAN FRANCISCO — Phil Simms has a long list of topics he expects to discuss on Sunday during his broadcast of Super Bowl 50. Peyton Manning’s potentially final game will not be one of them.
“It’s the Super Bowl, it’s big enough,” Simms said at a CBS event on Monday. “I don’t know that we have to get into whether he’s going to retire or not.”
There has been plenty of speculation that Manning will call it a career after this game, especially if he wins a second Super Bowl ring. There also are those who believe that Manning needs that second ring to be considered a true great of the game. Simms dismissed that idea, just as Eli Manning did last week. But Simms also said a win would not elevate Manning any higher.
“What can Peyton Manning do in the game that can change the way you think of him?” Simms said. “I use the analogy, he’s been to the plate 5,000 times, so we’re going to judge and change everything according to this one more at-bat?
“He’s done everything there is to do. He’s changed NFL football probably as much or more than any player who has ever been in the league in history. He’s changed the quarterback position, he’s changed the way coaches coach, and his accomplishments are — he has records that I don’t know will ever be broken. To me, there is nothing he can do [on Sunday)] that will change the way I think of his career, him as a person or his legacy.”
While Simms won’t have much to say about Manning, he promised that he will go into many of his perspectives on the other Super Bowl quarterback, Cam Newton, and “how he carries himself as an NFL quarterback.”
“I can relate to it as an ex-player, as a broadcaster, as a father,” Simms said. “There are a lot of ways to look at this. I’m going to answer the question strongly on Sunday.”
That analysis will come on Sunday. As for Monday, Simms was content to talk about Newton’s athleticism.
“Somebody said to me, ‘He has so much fun playing the game,’ ” he said. “I said, ‘Well, no kidding, I would have fun, too, if I was the best player out there.’
“For everybody it’s a struggle. For almost everybody on the field, it’s play-to-play, year-to-year. You just struggle and hang.
“Guys like Cam Newton, Michael Jordan, of course they enjoy what they do, because they’re the best. His talent is overwhelming. It’s like me going in the driveway and playing against my son when he was 9 years old in basketball. I scored at will. ‘What do you think about that, son?’ I was having a heck of a time.”
Simms said he has “probably not” seen a quarterback as gifted as Newton, but he suspects that there were some who could have come close if they played today. He mentioned Terry Bradshaw, who could “throw it just like Cam Newton and might have been faster.”
“There’s been some phenomenal physical freaks in the past but we never got to see their whole talent because the game was so different,” he said.
Newton’s celebrations are different, too, and draw as much attention as his play.
How would Bills Parcells — Simms’ hard-nosed, old-school, Hall of Fame coach — have reacted if Simms danced and preened the way Newton does?
“Let’s put it this way,” Simms said. “Let’s say I was as talented as Cam Newton and I was running and throwing touchdowns and doing everything that he does. Bill would go: ‘Atta way, son! Keep it going!’ ”