Phil Simms, who was a New York Giants quarterback at two Super
Bowls and an NBC color analyst at another pair, would like to
dispel a myth about the days preceding the game. "Super Bowl
week isn't a distraction," says Simms, who will be in Tampa on
Sunday with play-by-play partner Greg Gumbel to call CBS's first
Super Bowl since 1992. "Are you kidding me? The players love it.
"You don't have to commute, you don't have to go over the kids'
homework," continues Simms, the MVP in Super Bowl XXI, a 39-20
New York defeat of the Denver Broncos, "and you don't have to run
any errands for your wife. All you have to do is talk about
yourself. It's absolutely the least stressful week of the year."
With the ease and efficiency that denoted his best years as a
Giant, the 47-year-old Simms, who signed a new five-year contract
with CBS last week reportedly worth more than $2 million a
season, has ascended to the top echelon of analysts. If he's not
quite John Madden, he's never maddening, either. "You've got to
make sure that you connect with your audience," Simms says. "I've
never said what a dime package is. Never will. Who the hell knows
what a dime package is? Half the NFL doesn't know what a dime
Simms prefers preparation to pedantry. He recalls Super Bowl XXX
in 1996, Cowboys versus Steelers, his first NFL title game in the
booth. "[Pittsburgh coach] Bill Cowher, when we met with him
before the game, told us that the Steelers were going to attempt
an onside kick," says Simms. "Meeting with the players and
coaches and gaining their trust allows you to get gems such as
that." The kick came with 11 minutes left in the game, whereas,
Simms then told viewers, he'd expected it in the first half.
On Super Sunday (1 p.m.), for the second year in a row, Simms
will reveal his all-pro selections (15 players and one coach),
which he calls the All-Iron Team. "The name of the team comes
from the fact that I press my sports coat, shirt and pants before
every game myself," says Simms. "When the crew found out about
it, they started calling me Mr. Fresh-Pressed." Aptly so, since
there's nary a wrinkle in Simms's game.
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO You want a real iron man? Look no further than CBS analyst and Super Bowl XXI MVP Simms (above).