By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – In a broader discussion about whether quarterbacks should be involved in head coach searches, Super Bowl-winning quarterback and former MVP Phil Simms suddenly called out Detroit Lions passer Matthew Stafford — not for his performance, but for a style choice.
“I don’t like to do this old-school stuff, but my starting quarterback, when he comes to the sideline, I don’t want his hat going on backwards,” Simms said, voice rising. “What are you doing? It’s unbelievable – drives me crazy.”
Adam Schein, the host of CBS’s Monday QB segment, quickly chimed in with an anecdote supporting Simms.
“I remember Matt Leinhart was doing an interview with the Arizona Cardinals, and he had his hat backwards, and another rival executive sent me a text – I’ll never forget this – he goes, ‘This is one reason why this kid won’t make it,’” Schein said, “and when Stafford wears that hat backwards, it just shows you, ‘I’m not in this and I don’t really give a damn.’ Drives me nuts.”
(For what it is worth, Leinart, a Heisman Trophy winner from USC, started 11 games for the Cardinals in 2006, started five in 2007 and has been a backup in each of the following four seasons.)
14-year NFL veteran Steve Beuerlein also backed Simms, though with less vehemence.
“It’s a maturity thing,” Beuerlein agreed. “You’re sending out the wrong message.”
For Simms, the backward hat on the sideline is evidently inconsistent with maintaining a professional image.
“When you’re a quarterback in the NFL, if you’re 25, the key to success is to act like you’re 35,” Simms said. “That’s what quarterbacking has turned into, and I think we all know that now. You’ve got to be mature beyond your age to make it because it’s big business and it’s rough.”
Certainly, this discussion would probably never had happened if Stafford were playing well, but the past two seasons his numbers have declined, and he threw the sixth-most interceptions in the NFL in 2013. On a broader scale, the Lions failed to take advantage of a weak year in the NFC North, losing six of their last seven and missing the playoffs.