Phil Simms to Steve Young: Lay off my son

Published November 23, 2005

TAMPA - Now we know how accurate Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks Phil Simms and Steve Young are at throwing insults.

The exchange began Sunday morning when Young, appearing on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, questioned the mental toughness of Bucs third-year quarterback Chris Simms.

On Monday, Phil Simms played a little defense for his son during a national conference call for the former Giants quarterback turned CBS broadcaster to promote the Cowboys-Broncos Thanksgiving Day game.

"You know, Steve, follow football more than one day a week and you might know some of these answers," Simms said.

Here's what Young, the former 49ers quarterback, had to say about Chris Simms.

"Watching him deliver the football, watching his footwork, I like what I see. It tells me he's got a future in this league," Young said. "But I worry about his mental toughness.

"His dad was one of the greatest at being tough and handling all the criticisms. I worry that he grew up in a much different atmosphere, laissez-faire kind of atmosphere. And I'm worried that he doesn't have the mental toughness to deal with the information overload that comes with the NFL. Until I see that week after week, like last week, I'm still not a believer."

Young's comments came before Simms engineered two second-half scoring drives to beat the Atlanta Falcons 30-27.

Phil Simms took issue with Young's assessment of Chris Simms' upbringing.

"That's fantasy football talk," Phil Simms said. "There's one thing I know my son doesn't lack is toughness. And he didn't grow up in a laissez-faire atmosphere. Far from it. Come to my house, live with me, and let's see how laissez-faire it is. I don't know how Steve Young lives his life, but I don't live mine that way. And I didn't raise my kids that way.

"You can say whatever you want about my son, but one thing that'll get me mad, and I'll stand in your face about it, is about toughness. Who the hell can be tougher than him, physically or what he endures?"

Young said he called Phil Simms and left a message.

"I'd let Phil Simms raise my own kids," Young said.