Phil Simms: Payton ‘just wanted the drama to end’ when benching Wilson

Feb 11, 2024, 3:45 PM

LAS VEGAS — Phil Simms has known Sean Payton for a great many years — from when Payton first emerged as an ascendant play-caller with the New York Giants.

But he also knows one of Payton’s mentors, Bill Parcells. Simms played under Parcells for eight seasons, from 1983-90. And in 2003, Parcells hired Payton to be his offensive coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys.

And from the moment Sean Payton laid down the law on sideline etiquette and garb during the preseason, Simms recognized all of it.

“He acted and really handled Denver this year about the way I thought he would. I mean, it started with the preseason game, right?,” Simms said.

” What did he say in the preseason game? ‘You can stand on the sideline, no sunglasses, no Gilligan hats?’ So, when I heard it, I go, ‘Oh, I know where he got it all.’ That’s Parcells to a tee. ‘Nobody’s gonna be on the sideline in street clothes! You’re gonna have a damn uniform on!’

“It’s the same stuff.”


It was different, but, to Simms, not entirely shocking.

“You know, I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t shocking to me. I think he just wanted the drama to end,” Simms said.

And Simms believe sthat it was not about Payton seeing what he had in Jarrett Stidham, either.

“I don’t think he was looking to see if our next quarterback is going to be the quarterback of the future,” Simms said.

“I don’t think that had anything to do with it. Maybe give him some experience and see if he can be my backup next year and see who the starter is.”

And that is the question of the coming weeks.

“The Russell Wilson era, I’d say it’s over there,” Simms said. “But the money and the other things that you’re talking about, I think that’s real.

“But I can’t think of who Denver’s gonna get as a quarterback. Now, I can place Russell Wilson easy on other teams. But I have a hard time placing somebody into Denver. So, this is going to be an interesting offseason.”


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Phil Simms: Payton ‘just wanted the drama to end’ when benching Wilson