Phil Simms at Super Bowl 50 (Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Block & Tackle is John Teti’s column about pro football.

Foreword

Of all the running gags in Block & Tackle, none has generated more enthusiastic feedback than the occasional “Phil Simms is a poet” feature, in which actual words that were uttered by CBS pro football analyst Phil Simms are presented—unabridged—as pieces of free verse. (Although I strive for accuracy in the transcripts, Simms has a tendency to lapse into jumbled syllables, so sometimes I have to choose words that approximate his mutterings.) Perhaps you could perform the same trick with any number of sports commentators and end up with a reasonably amusing result, but Simms’ elliptical, peripatetic style of speaking lends itself especially well to the doggerel treatment. I’m not surprised that readers have fun reading the poems, because there’s no part of the column that brings me more consistent joy.

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People often assume, despite my insistence otherwise, that I’m disparaging the former New York Giants quarterback. Sure, I am obviously making fun of Simms, and maybe he wouldn’t appreciate my showcasing his most contorted turns of phrase—although I suspect he doesn’t give two shits what some bespectacled pop-culture nerd thinks about him. In any case, my ongoing chronicle of Phil Simms poetry is an act of love, not disdain. Simms makes me laugh, and he has a sense of humor about himself, both of which are worthy of praise in a sport that regards itself with insufferable seriousness.

But I already explained my heartfelt devotion to Simms in greater length last February. Readers didn’t seem to believe me then, and they probably won’t now. That’s okay. My affection for CBS’ towheaded galoot doesn’t require anyone’s approval, and as long as you enjoy the poems, I’m happy. For me, they’re an exercise in finding strange beauty where you least expect it, an essential skill for any cultural critic. For you, maybe they’re something else. It’s a matter of perspective—which is the underlying point of the poems anyway.

Below, at the request of a Block & Tackle reader, is a comprehensive collection of the Phil Simms poems to date, accompanied by video clips with recitations by the author himself. If I remember, I will update this page with subsequent entries in the Simms canon. If I forget, I won’t. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again after Thanksgiving.

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The Compleat Phil Simms

Mmm
Just watch how the football’s coming straight
down—oh!
and then it goes dead right before it hits the ground
But, you know, listen
that’s my opinion
I’m not the head
of the officials
Even though sometimes I think I am and
don’t laugh about that
But tough call,
doesn’t matter, Bears in a big third down here
Second down, sorry

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—Phillip Aloysius Simms

Narwhal, let’s see,
let me make an observation here
The night—gotta stay in there
The rain—’ell, he’s under there
The football!
Just a little off center
But the defenses, Jim,
we talked
(during commercials)
And boats warp fast, fresh

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—Phillip Ruttiger Simms

Everybody involved with this football:
The snappers
the holders
the kickers
You know, Jim,
it’s raining now, so I don’t care
How much you’ve rubbed those footballs up!
How good they feel!
This type of rain, it’s gonna cause
a problem

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—Phillip Montagnon Simms

Ah yeah you know
Look
We never know, we think—you know
Sometimes we get a feel
for a game
I mean, of course did not have any sensation
or feelings
That it coulda be like this

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But I’ll go back to what I saw
on Friday
How hard they were practicing
The energy

—Phillip Lentronomus Simms

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Say it or un-weenie hey
You’re not oversaying it
We’ve seen it
a lot but of course we question
it

every time
If it’s not a part of who you are you
work on
it

That’s why they don’t do
it
in the game

—Phillip Montenegro Simms

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What’s the old saying Jim
What do they ask you the day after the game
“Did you win or ja lose?”

We don’t care about
the circumstances, they come up here

“N. Tom Brady’s out!”

Half the offense’ll if you win
Its tit, it feels great

—Phillip Lucifus Simms

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Turned upfield, made a football move
Time elapsed, got all the phrases

It’s called a completion, Jim Nantz,
I do know what a completion is

I love that
I don’t know what a complete

The rules are there
Sometimes they’re close, but they’re pretty

Definitive

—Phillip Yonder Simms

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I like my choices

I could always find what to eat,
you know

It’s one of my strong suits in life,
you know

I’m a-tryin’ to keep that 300-pound man from
comin’ out of my body one day

—Phillip Squimnimbulus Simms

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Be ready for the tempo!

Well they weren’t there,
that time,
on that play,

And once you go back to
What did Tom Brady say?
about their offense?
to us?

He called it
a library, he goes

We got about a 10-year library
working here

If you want to be part of this offense, that phrase
always is a dumb football player

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That’s not gonna hold true in New England

Hold true anywhere

—Philip Meineke Simms

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