Can Chris Simms Replace Doug Flutie During Notre Dame Games Permanently?

While everyone was obsessing over Phil Jurkovec’s incompletions and trying to figure out what the heck Notre Dame is going to do at linebacker, one very important and underrated development took place during last weekend’s Notre Dame Blue Gold Game.  Doug Flutie was out of the booth and on the sidelines and Chris Simms was in his place doing the color commentary.  Dear NBC, please make this permanent.

I tend to think that Notre Dame fans overreact to the announcers NBC uses.  Hell, even I may have overreacted when they put Michigan fan Mike Tirico in the booth for the play by play.  Tirico’s been fantastic.  I was an idiot.  That said, Doug Flutie is abjectly awful as the color commentator for Notre Dame games.

For the record, I thought Mike Mayock was fantastic in his role as color commentator a few years ago.  Some Irish fans didn’t like him because he’s a Boston College alum, but he was great. Pat Haden?  Wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t because he was a former USC quarterback.  He was just okay in the role. Despite what some Notre Dame fans felt, I thought Haden did convey a sense of respect for the Notre Dame program in his work though.

As for Mayock, he described a game better than almost any other color commentator out there in my opinion.  You learned about the game of football when Mayock called a game.

You don’t learn much from Flutie during a game other than that he probably doesn’t like Notre Dame very much.

Chris Simms shouldn’t replace Flutie just because Flutie is awful though.  Simms was actually pretty good in his debut as a commentator for a Notre Dame.  He was articulate and reserved.  He was objective in his analysis of Notre Dame players and where the program is.  And when Notre Dame made mistakes, you couldn’t sense the joy emanating from the booth like you can when Flutie is calling games.

I’m not alone with my disdain for Flutie calling Notre Dame games here.  @bridgetgoirish made some fantastic t-shirts last year with a simple message on them: “Shut up, Flutie.”

There was even a petition to remove Flutie from the NBC Booth during Notre Dame games a couple years ago.

Let’s just go ahead and make this change a permanent thing shall we?  Chris Simms appears to be an up and coming broadcaster, following in the footsteps of his father, Phil Simms, whose been on CBS’s “A Team” for their NFL broadcasts for years.

Will the younger Simms reach those heights as a broadcaster someday? Who knows.  I do know, however, that after one attempt at calling a Notre Dame, most Notre Dame fans didn’t feel like screaming, “Shut up, Simms.”  That’s progress.

NBC’s Other Experiments

Taking Flutie out of the booth wasn’t the only experimenting that NBC did with the Blue Gold Game last weekend.  NBC used the glorified scrimmage to try out a bunch of things during the telecast – some of which could stick and some of which never will.

They used a new camera angle that while not drastically different did give fans a different look.  The change in perspective was meant to give a better angle highlight how a play develops than the traditional view that every football telecast on every network has used for decades.

Flutie was still involved in the broadcast as well, he was just on the field behind the play with a roaming cameraman.  The idea sounded gimmicky and it ended up being gimmicky.  There’s no way that would ever fly in a real game since it required Flutie and cameraman to be on the field of play during live action, but at least NBC was trying something new.

NBC telecasts over the year have become stale.  The high production value intros like the glorious intro to the 1993 Game of Century with Bob Costas talking to us about a game, just around the corner, on Main St.; have gone away.

Credit Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick with getting NBC to change it up for the Blue – Gold game.  Swarbrick reportedly challenged NBC to think out of the box so that Notre Dame games on NBC stop being just another football game broadcast.  Whether or not any of the experiments stick long-term remains to be seen, but credit where it’s due to Savvy Jack.

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  1. My friends also hate Flutie. I don’t mind him. He is better than Hayden. I think people are a little too sensitive and are looking for ways to be a victim by saying that they can tell he is happy when ND screws up.

    He is fine. Who really cares?

  2. A little bit of Simms goes a long way ,as for Fredo, he’s a safe hire , just what NBC wants. I miss Harry Kalas and his dogging George Connor about his big feet .

  3. Flutie is terrible. There are no real Notre Dame fans who think otherwise. His bias is apparent and he has glee in his voice when things go bad for the Irish. Any comments to the contrary that are posted here have to be from ND junior Boston College alum.

  4. I agree – BRING BACK MIKE MAYOCK!!! He is the BEST!
    I loved listening to his analyses – every moment was a great learning opportunity as well as an extremely enjoyable experience!

  5. This is one of the worst articles I have ever read. Mayock was good, but was way to in depth for most fans. As an announcer, you are supposed to stay unbiased. Everyone knows that. Just because it is a Notre Dame broadcast on NBC doesn’t change that.

    This is also one of the poorest written articles. You should probably focus on going back to school and learning how to write. It makes sense why you have this bottom feeder reporter job. You should stick to leaving your opinions in the comments sections and stave off the embarrassment you present. You chose the twitter opinion of a 19 year old child. The petition you cherry picked has a measly 1800 “signatures” out of the millions that watch ND football. C’mon man, that is pathetic

    Simms was not very good. He over talked. He was always asking for reassurance, among other things. Tirico and Doug flow together well. Flutie breaks down plays and knows everything that will happen. He could easily do the “Tony Romo” if he wanted to, but cry babies like you will still find a way to complain. You can’t make everyone happy.

    1. This is not a job for me, John, it’s a hobby that I do in my spare time. Sorry you didn’t understand or appreciate Mayock’s analysis. Thanks for the extra clicks though.

      1. Mike Mayock was awesome. I also admired his football intellect and I did learn things from him. He was also very enthusiastic. I couldn’t ever understand why fans did not care for his input.

    2. John go back to BC and kiss Flutie’s ass at the losers bowl next year! Flutie couldn’t amount to a pimple on ROMO’S ASS!! MAYOCK was obviously way to intelligent for a dope like you!

    3. John, take it down a notch, this is obviously an opinion piece.

      I also liked Mike Mayock, a TON of knowledge although sometimes it was a little too unrelenting for an entire broadcast.

      As a Canadian, I have a soft spot for Doug Flutie and his time in the CFL and I am mostly fine with his broadcasts, but would much prefer Mayock.

  6. Finally someone else notices the bias from NBC announcers. Why does NBC feel they must use ND rival players in the booth? Pat Haden was terrible and Flutie is no better! Gee how about Aaron Taylor or Brady Quinn? Let’s face it the rating are because Notre Dame fans are watching the game and at least deserve an unbiased announcer in the booth!

  7. Frank- you obviously have an agenda along with your head up your ass. I have been watching Notre Dame and NFL broadcasts probably longer than you have been breathing whatever smug air has polluted your brain. Doug Flutie is an enthusiastic, knowledgeable, honest and insightful commentator and color man and brings authenticity to his work. Mike Tirico is probably one of the best and most prepared commentators and voices in broadcast sports. I have no idea who has urinated in your breakfast cereal or for how many years, nor do I care. It appears from this article that there is indeed a prejudice and bias in sports journalism, and it is definitely coming from you. Stick your troll hatchet and click-bait up your clover patch.

    1. Flutie is a 3rd stringer as a commentator, just like he was as a NFL QB! But you know that from all the games you have been watching from your retirement community Allie !!

  8. I agree about Mayock. He was a good commentator. And yeah, Tirico is ok for play by play. He’s not going to light to world on fire, but I don’t have a problem with his sticking around.

    But Flutie, yeah. A number of times last year when ND made an error or another team made a great play you could almost hear the glee dripping from his voice. I’ve heard Flutie in other sports, the Olympics for example, and he’s ok with those. But I don’t think he has any love for ND and it colors his analysis. It really comes across when he hypes the strengths of the opposing team.

    Now I get that NBC wants to present a balanced analysis in their games. I don’t expect a commentator to be an Irish partisan. But Flutie seemed to go out of his way to downplay any good thing ND did and praise any good thing the opposing team did. It’d be nice to have actual balance. Another thing I liked about Mayock. I found him pretty balanced on the whole.

  9. 100% concur. Listeners learned more from Mayock in one game then Flutie in years. Tirico has surpassed expectations. Simms is a step up from Flutie if only because he is providing analysis
    The new camera angle proves that change is not always good or bad, sometimes it is just different.

    I still remember.wondering what Mike M ever saw in Harrison Smith to rate so highly.
    Smith has gone on to lead several categories according to PFF.

  10. This is awful. Flutie knows football and speaks well. Simms as a lisp and doesn’t do his homework. This is the worst opinion ever. Awful

  11. I dont pay much attention to these announcers. I did like Mayock though. He imparted a lot of knowledge about the game without talking over your head

    1. If you are in the stadium watching the game you don’t need to worry about Flutie, or Tirico, or Hayden, or anybody else (except the morons standing right in front of your line of sight, and the morons behind you splashing beer down your wife’s collar). All in all…I’ll take the morons over the commentators any day!

      BGC ’77 ’82

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