Phil Simms Should be in the Hall of Fame

By John DeRosa
July 17, 2013 1:59 am
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1,798 Views 14 Comments

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a die-hard New York Giants fan.  I first started seriously watching football during the 1986 season when the Giants defeated the Denver Broncos, 39-20 in Super Bowl XXI.  In that game, Phil Simms had one of the best Super Bowl/Championship game performances of all time going 22-25 for 268 yards and 3 TD’s earning him MVP honors.  But aside from that one game, Phil Simms had a solid career and every year when the finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame are announced, I wonder why Phil Simms does not get the recognition that he deserves. 

I must admit that when it comes to comparing players past, present or future, I get confused because I honestly don’t know what the measuring sticks are anymore.  Is it statistics?  Wins?  Super Bowl/Championship titles?  I can only assume that it’s some combination of those, but either way, I do not see why there are some quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame and why Phil Simms is not. 

Before I continue, let me just say that it is not my purpose to bash anyone.  I think that the players that I will mention deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, it’s just that I believe Phil Simms should be amongst them.  In order to properly evaluate whether or not Phil Simms belongs in the Hall of Fame though, we will need to compare some players to Simms.  This can be a tricky proposition as it is really hard to properly compare players from the earlier days of the league when passing the ball was not as easy as it is in the modern era.  So, with that being said, I decided to compare Simms to two of his contemporaries who are presently in the Hall of fame: Troy Aikman and Jim Kelly.  Here is a quick look at how the numbers measure up:

 

TD’s

TD%

Int’s

Int%

Comp%

Yards

Wins

Losses

Win%

Simms

199

4.3

157

3.4

55.4

33,462

95

64

62.3

Aikman

165

3.5

141

3.0

61.5

32,942

94

71

60.0

Kelly

237

5.0

175

3.7

60.1

35,467

101

59

63.4

 

As I mentioned before, it’s hard to do an “apples-to-apples” comparison when looking at quarterbacks, even when playing during the same era.  For example, Jim Kelly’s touchdowns and interceptions jump out because he also played in an offense that threw the ball more than Simms and Aikman did.  But when you take a look at the chart above, does Simms not belong with these other great players?  Aside from his completion percentage, what numbers pale in comparison?  Also, off the top of your head, name me one wide receiver that Simms played with during his career?

Now that we have looked at the statistics, let’s talk about the name of the game: winning.  I can only assume that a huge reason why Troy Aikman was enshrined in Canton was because he quarterbacked three teams to Super Bowl titles.  As for Jim Kelly, although he did not win the “big one,” making it to the Super Bowl for 4 straight years is a tremendous accomplishment. 

As for Simms, he had one of the greatest single game performances in Super Bowl history, but I think what gets forgotten is that during the 1990 season when the Giants defeated Kelly’s Bills in Super Bowl XXV behind Jeff Hostetler, Simms had lead the Giants to an 11-2 record before getting injured, ironically, against the Bills during the regular season.  Jeff Hostetler filled in for Simms and played fantastic football leading the Giants to the title that year, but what if Simms had not gotten hurt?  The Giants dismantled the Chicago Bears in the divisional round so we can assume that Simms would have won that game.  But what about the NFC Championship against the San Francisco 49ers when the Giants won 15-13?  Or the Super Bowl against the Bills when the Giants won 20-19?  We’ll never really know how those games would have panned out if Simms had not been injured, but assuming the Giants still win with him, would Simms be in the Hall of Fame today with 2 Super Bowl titles on his resume?

Like I mentioned earlier, I am an unapologetic fan of the New York Giants.  I watched Phil Simms play with poise and toughness, all while consistently winning games for the Giants.  Most Giants fans that I know have compared, and will continue to compare, any quarterback that the Giants bring in to Phil Simms and when you compare his numbers to other Hall of Fame-worthy quarterbacks, it is clear to me that Phil Simms deserves to be recognized with them. 

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By John DeRosa
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Previous Comments (14)

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16 months ago
A great article. I also wonder why Phil isn't in the HOF. Is it
Super Bowl Rings? He has one and Kelly has none. As you point out he has the same stats. My conclusion is when Phil played the
Giants offense was boring. No 80 yard TD'S but smash mouth football. That doesn't garner headlines and I think that hurt Phil.
16 months ago

I agree that there is something to be said for the fact that the Giants offense was not flashy when Simms was there. I wonder what his numbers would have been had he played in a system like Buffalo's.
16 months ago
Completely agree........I am a die-hard Giants fan as well, but I am also a huge fan of football in general and I honestly believe that if there is one QB that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, its Phil Simms, hands down.
16 months ago
Lionel Manuel, Stacy Robinson, Steven Baker "the touchdown maker." :P
16 months ago

Oh, and of course Phil McConkey. Again, :P
16 months ago

I know us Giants fan can name the WR's, but Simms didn't get to play with Andre Reed or Michael Irvin.
16 months ago
The best receiver during Phil's tenure was Mark Bavaro.
The other were good but not in his class.
16 months ago
Coming from a non-Giant fan who has lived in NJ for 9 years, the team and the offense wasn't carried by Phil Simms. Kelly and Aikman carried their teams and even tho they played with other great players, they were considered the leaders of their team, and the premiere players of that position.

Simms was a good player, maybe even great, don't get me wrong. But the Hall of Fame belongs to the best of the best. I don't think Simms belongs in the same conversation as those guys who compared him to.
16 months ago

If Phil Simms didn't carry the Giants offense, then who did? And Aikman had Michael Irvin (HOF), Emmitt Smith (HOF) and an all-pro offensive line. Kelly had Thurman Thomas (HOF). But the real question is: if Simms played for those Cowboys teams, do they win 3 Super Bowls? If he plays for the Bills, does he put up the numbers Kelly did?
16 months ago

Joe Morris had, IIRC, 3 straight years with 1300+ yards and 10+ TDs, including a 1600 yard season and a 18-20 TD season. If my internet wasn't sucking so badly right now I'd pro-football-reference it, but it is, so I won't.
16 months ago

Joe had 2 years of 1300+ yards and 10+ touchdowns in 1985 and 1986.
16 months ago
In addition to Simms, the Hall also needs Ken Anderson. Boomer Esiason, and Joe Theismann. All are long overdue.
16 months ago

Among Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, only Starr, Plunkett and Hostetler had a bigger boost to their postseason passer ratings (versus regular season) than Theismann. Joe went from a 77.4 to a 91.4 when the second season started.
16 months ago
The Giants ran on 1st and 2nd down during the Simms era. Everyone new he was throwing on 3rd down. His stats look impressive considering everyone new what the offense was going to do.

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