By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — You know, nobody here really wanted to write this story. When it comes to media voices trying to gain notoriety during boring offseason months, we here at CBS like to subscribe to the philosophy posited by Paul Anka and Lisa Simpson circa 1995: “Just don’t look.”
If you ignore the 50-foot monster tearing apart your city, he’ll eventually be forced to go away.
Nevertheless, when it comes to Chris Simms dishing out takes about Tom Brady, you have to give the man credit for this: He’s got staying power.
And so, as Simms’ missive against Brady enters something like Day No. 7, we must reluctantly point out the following truth: His argument stinks.
But, well, you know, it’s clearly working out for him, as folks have uttered the name “Chris Simms” roughly infinity percent more often this past week than they had in the previous 50 or whatever weeks. So he’s got that going for him.
But in terms of the actual argument to justify ranking Brady as the ninth-best quarterback in the NFL, it’s not going so great. That much became crystal clear when Tom E. Curran forced Simms to try to explain himself over the course of nearly 13 minutes on NBC Sports Boston. It served as proof that any argument can be made when it’s distilled down to single sentences or clips, but when stretched out over a long period, the inconsistencies really come to light.
Here’s what Simms said about two minutes into that interview:
“My parameters, to explain it a little bit is, you know, hey, I try to value it like this: I take everything off. No offensive coordinator, no coach. I try to take away the support system or the team or the different pieces that support the quarterbacks there, and basically try to evaluate is as a baseline like everybody has the same team and system around them and let’s just see who is playing the position at the highest level, who can make plays and do things above and beyond the system that the system doesn’t deliver to. So those are the things I kind of try to take into account here.”
So, in that long-winded assessment of his own assessment, Simms is saying that he wants to evaluate players in a vacuum. Though that’s impossible to do in a sport like football, that is his intended goal, and that is the baseline from which he makes his heightened-intelligence quarterback rankings.
Sure. Got it.
Yet when pushed by Curran to try to explain various problems with the rankings, Simms tapped into a variety of reasons to discredit Brady. Those reasons were exactly the things he stated would not be considered when evaluating quarterbacks.
For instance, when explaining why Patrick Mahomes ranked above Brady (despite an apples-to-apples comparison of both QBs playing against the Chargers), Simms pointed to … coaching.
“Oh it’s the end of the game. He doesn’t get the advantage of just sitting in the pocket, and oh, my offensive coordinator is Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick, and here’s somebody open for me. No for him to get down the field and score that day against the New England Patriots, what do you have to do? Make magic happen. Scramble to the right, throw a bomb 50 yards down the field, scramble to the right, throw a laser up the field to the tailback.”
Let’s spin it back roughly 90 seconds:
“My parameters, to explain it a little bit is, you know, hey, I try to value it like this: I take everything off. No offensive coordinator, no coach.”
“He doesn’t get the advantage of just sitting in the pocket, and oh, my offensive coordinator is Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick”
Sounds like … the offensive coordinator … and the coach … are being used … in the evaluation process. (And Mahomes’ arsenal of Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and 11 games of Kareem Hunt, AND having Andy Reid draw up his offense is somehow not factored in to the equation.)
Later, in trying to take away what Brady did last year, Simms pointed to … the Patriots’ running game.
“New England — it’s a top-five running offense in football. Go back and look at the first drive of the game against the Chiefs or the Chargers.”
While one might argue that looking at all of the fourth-quarter drives and the overtime drive against Kansas City might be more illuminating to the conversation, we could just note that the Patriots ranked 20th in rushing yards per attempt last season. The Chiefs ranked sixth.
HEY, RUBEN RABASA. CAN I GET ANOTHER “STINKY”????
Simms tried to keep it going, but legitimately ran out of things to say:
“All I’m trying to do is educate to people out there that, hey, Tom Brady is still awesome. I’m not trying to take away anything of that. But the scheme, the way New England coaches, and Belichick being the greatest coach of all time, and McDaniels certainly being one of the best offensive coordinators in football the last 10 years or so. I mean, all those things, they give some opportunities to Tom Brady that I’m just saying other quarterbacks don’t always get. It’s not a knock on Tom Brady; there’s other quarterbacks that get help from their system and do all that. All I’m saying at this point of his career, unlike 2015 … “
Again, coaches, scheme, systems — not part of the process. Unless we’re talking Brady.
We should note: This isn’t even supposed to be an argument against Mahomes. Mahomes was awesome last year, certainly the best QB in the league. Maybe he’ll do it again in 2019. This is more of a note about Simms’ continued insistence that Brady is a product of the Patriots’ system, which is for whatever reason only held against Brady whenever Simms tries to do these rankings.
All of it is a bit silly, and the fact that it’s gotten this much life is equal parts lame and just a sign of late June being the deadest of dead periods on the football calendar. When we don’t even have mostly meaningless OTA performances to discuss, we’re going to end up getting sucked down these foolish rabbit holes. At this point, it’s been happening in New England for at least five years, and it’s not going to stop until Brady finally decides to stop playing football and winning Super Bowls.
At the current moment though, with Brady continuing to excel at ages where no quarterback before him has ever excelled, media folks will continue to shoot their shots, waiting to some day be “proven” correct. Simms has been waiting since at least November of 2014. Since then, he’s argued that the 10-6 Jets in 2015 were a top-five team in the entire NFL (they missed the playoffs despite only having to face two playoff teams all year), he’s argued for Brady’s guilt in a little-known ball deflation story by dismissing the existence of science as just being “a bunch of crap” based on “Murphy’s Gas Law” (real quote), and he’s really proven beyond any doubt that stories like this one you are currently reading should not exist.
Some day, we’ll all learn to take that advice. Just don’t look.