Dear CBS, Can You Please Dump Jim Nantz And Phil Simms Already?

Dear CBS, please, no more Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on NFL broadcasts.
Early in the first quarter of Sunday's thrashing of the Colts by the Patriots, Tom Brady hit Julian Edelman for a short pass on the left sideline. Edelman was just short of the first down, and a discussion started between the CBS TV crew of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms as to whether there should be a replay challenge of the spot.

This started as an empty, meaningless discussion, as are most discussions involving Nantz and Simms, though it quickly devolved into incomprehensible nonsense as Simms kept talking and talking about the spot of the ball, the dangers of a review and the meaninglessness of the challenge. There was no challenge, the Patriots got a first down on the next play, then scored on the next play after that. As usual, Nantz and Simms added no insight into the touchdown or any play of the drive. There was just a lot of clichéd nonsense interrupted just enough for Simms to make an idiot of himself even quicker in the game than usual.

Nantz and Simms are the number one NFL broadcast team for CBS. Theoretically, that means that this team should be among the four best NFL broadcast crews. But the reality is that they're far and away from even being the best tandem on CBS. The fact that CBS still trots them out every Thursday night and Sunday speaks even more about CBS's contempt for its audience than the fact that the network thought 2 Broke Girls was a good idea.

It's well documented that Simms doesn't know what he's talking about. It often seems he speaks just because it's expected that he'll say something to fill the dead air. But at least Simms realizes he's at a football game. Nantz acts at all times as if he's at The Masters, speaking with that dull, muffled tone one hears when watching a golf tournament. If ever there was a sure-fire cure for insomnia, it's listening to Nantz call a play-by-play of anything.

Nantz has never met a team owner who is not the world's greatest person. All NFL broadcasters kiss up to the league and the owners, but whereas an Al Michaels might rush through some of the crap he's given to read aloud about the league, Nantz seems to mean it, and acts as if he's personally wounded if there's one person out there who might not happen to think that Patriots owner Robert Kraft isn't God's gift to humanity. (Can you just see Nantz reading that statement Michaels rushed through about Roger Goodell? Nantz would've talked about the greatness of Goodell for an entire half and found some way to take all of the blame off of Goodell.) This would all be bearable if Nantz and Simms found ways to enlighten viewers. But Nantz's play-by-play is dull and vanilla while Simms' analysis is that of a guy who suffered a few too many concussions during his playing career. John Madden's shtick started to grow tired at the end of his career, but he always seemed to have joy from being at the game. It's as if Madden lived to not only break down the block of an interior lineman, but also yearned to explain just why it was so important. One senses that Nantz would rather be on a golf course with Tiger Woods while everyone is left wondering just what game it is that Simms is watching.

Al Michaels knows how to enjoy himself in the booth, and his partner Cris Collinsworth is one of the best in breaking down what's happening on the field. Joe Buck at Fox is nowhere as good as his dad, and he has a somewhat detached style, but in recent years it's as if he's remembered that he doesn't have to be so serious all of the time and can enjoy himself. And while Troy Aikmen is probably only an analyst because he's Troy Aikmen, he's still able to string together coherent sentences on the actual game being played on the field. Mike Tirico at ESPN does his job and isn't flashy while his partner, Jon Gruden seems to be easily excitable and prone to lapsing into nonsensical jargon. Yet both are still huge improvements over what CBS offers up for its prime games.

So if anybody at CBS is reading this, how about doing football fans a favor and getting a new number one broadcast crew for next season. Maybe promote Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts to the top job. Or bring in some new blood, somebody not currently associated with your mundane broadcasts. If you really need nonsensical jock clichés, rip off Ray Lewis from ESPN -- he's never spoken a coherent sentence on TV, so he'd be just like Simms, but his shouting would at least keep everyone awake. But whatever you do, please, no more of Jim Nantz's obsequious genuflecting to the rich and powerful white men who run the league. And please, no more of Phil Simms' senile-like, concussed-sounding ramblings that peter off into nothingness, leaving all viewers confused, puzzled, and searching for any logical connections between his statements and what just happened on the field.

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