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ESPN "SHOCKED" WITH SIMMS' DECISION TO GO TO NBC
Published March 20, 1995
Phil Simms' announcement yesterday that he will become an analyst for NBC Sports "jolted" ESPN, according to today's N.Y. TIMES. ESPN spokesperson Chris LaPlaca: "We're shocked and disappointed in Phil. We believed we had a two-year deal. David Fishof [Simms' agent] said signing it was a technicality and that Phil would work for us or play for Cleveland." Fishof claims the contract had not been signed "because of unresolved issues, including tying his client up for several years." NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol on Simms' work with ESPN: "He was clear and concise and learned the rhythms and cadences of TV very quickly." The new deal with NBC is for three years "for a sum probably around $400,000 a year" and will include work at the '96 Summer Olympics (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES 3/20). According to LaPlaca, ESPN is now "weighing its options" as to what it will now do "in the wake of Simms' departure" (Phil Mushnick, N.Y. POST, 3/20). Simms made an appearance with NBC's Hannah Storm after the Bulls-Pacers game. He will work on both football and non-football events for NBC, including the '96 Olympics. The network announced the deal during the Chicago-Indiana game (NBC, 3/19).