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Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Phil Simms has new side job as Showtime analyst

(Credit: Watchdog)

I wrote my Sunday newspaper column about Showtime's version of the venerable "Inside the NFL," with a focus on new cast member Phil Simms.

There are some interesting quotes from interesting people about how opinionated Simms is on the show compared to his game analysis work. But as any Journalism 101 student could tell you, the gaping flaw in the story is the lack of actual examples of said opinions.

As partial penance, I have posted comments sent by Showtime from last week's show, some regarding the notion of cutting back on preseason games, and some regarding concussions and the possible conflicts of interest among NFL team doctors.

Click below for all that.On Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu being cleared to play this week after suffering a concussion last week:

COWHER: This is something that is not being taken lightly. Let’s understand the procedures that are being done. When he had the concussion on Sunday, he was in (being) tested on Monday. Every player in the National Football League, since 2006, has been given a baseline test – a test that tests for memory and for reaction. He passed that test on Monday. The next thing the doctors and trainers are looking for are reactions to that during the course of the week. So any kind of symptoms he may have during the course of the week, whether that be dizziness, imbalance, headaches, anything of that nature, that will set him back. If there are any kinds of symptoms, he will not play in that game against the New York Giants.

BROWN: With that process in place, you’re okay with the decision to play?

COWHER: Absolutely. I think as we speak today, he’s ready to play.

COLLINSWORTH: First of all, let’s say this, the players always want to play. And the coaches always want them to play. So now it’s up to the doctors to put up a stop sign if in fact they should not play – a team doctor. I do not believe that there is one bad team doctor in the NFL. But there is a built-in conflict of interest because if I’m your doctor, I’m supposed to only think about what is in your best interest. However, the way it is set up, I’m hired by the team, (pointing to co-analysts) for us three, to figure out what is in our best interest. So there is an unusual circumstance built into this thing.

SIMMS: I disagree so much. You think of these team doctors, they’ve gone their whole lives to get educated. They are some of the best in the world at what they do. That is why the clubs of the National Football League hire them because they have the reputation, the experience and everything that says they’re the best. Are they going to jeopardize all that just to satisfy a coach because he needs one guy to come onto the field who may be able to do what he is supposed to do? My answer is, no. There is no way, the oath that they took. They became doctors for all the right reasons.

COLLINSWORTH: Understand this, the ultimate marketing tool for any physician group is to be the New York Giants, or the Cincinnati Bengals, or the Pittsburgh Steelers team doctor. What are you going to do? You’re going to read in the paper that Dr. So-and-So looked at Carson Palmer’s elbow. Now, my son has to have elbow surgery. Well, I want the same one that Carson Palmer has. So it is a difficult spot.

COWHER: When I went to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1992…we switched team doctors because there was no confidence in the doctors we had. So I’m just telling you, it’s in the team’s best interest to make sure that they get a guy who is good, who is reputable, because their reputation is also at stake.

SIMMS: You have to trust the doctor. They’ve been trained to do this. I don’t know if you trusted your team doctors when you played in the NFL, but I trusted ours. If they said to me, you can play, you won’t do further damage, you’re safe…I believed them.

BROWN: The decision today, to play Troy Polamalu Sunday, you’re okay with it?

SIMMS: Absolutely. I have no reservations about it at all. Especially since concussions have been a major issue over the last few years.

COLLINSWORTH: I do have an issue because we don’t understand enough about concussions. I had a doctor one time tell me, ‘I cannot believe we have yet to see somebody die in the NFL from a second concussion. When you have the first, the likelihood of death or serious injury from a second, close-proximity concussion is so great, that I can’t believe we haven’t seen it.’ I know the NFL is studying and working this issue, I just worry about it.

On expanding the schedule

COLLINSWORTH: It’s awful. It’s all about money. No one who has ever played in a 16-game schedule would ever advocate going to 18 games. You’re going to end up with nothing but back-up players playing in the playoffs. You’re going to have all these second-string quarterbacks, who can’t play, at the end of the season. It’s a horrible idea.

COWHER: In the National Football League every game has a significant importance. It has impact upon the postseason. You’re bringing it every week. You talk about back-up players playing, now where are they going to get their development? You’re only going to have two preseason games. Where are these guys going to get a chance to play? My concern is the quality of play will go down because you’re going to have less-experienced players playing.

SIMMS: Yes, I think it’s a terrible idea. If you expand the season, then you’re automatically going to shorten the preseason…If you’re going into the championship bout, you’re going to spar a few rounds before you go out there and try to win the fight. You cut these pre-season games down from four to two, like they’re talking about, the games, you won’t be able to get them off of TV because they’re going to be stopping them every five minutes to help a player off the field because I think the injury rate will go up dramatically.

Tags: football

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