Jalen Hurts is to Chris Simms as LeBron James is to Skip Bayless.
Bayless’s undying disdain for James was on full display Tuesday evening when he could barely muster any kind of adulation after LeBron broke the NBA’s all-time scoring record. That same kind of contempt for a player’s success seems to be at the center of Chris Simms’s longstanding lack of appreciation for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts as well.
The NBC Sports and ProFootballTalk analyst got on Eagles fans’ bad side earlier this season when he said that Hurts doesn’t deserve to be in the MVP conversation because he’s an okay quarterback playing for a great team.
“If you put [Eagles backup quarterback] Gardner Minshew [in for] the Eagles, they’d still be really damn good,” said Simms. “There’s just no way he’s more valuable to his team than [Patrick] Mahomes, [Joe] Burrow, or [Josh] Allen. Those teams are not the same teams if they don’t have them at quarterback.”
Around that time, Hurts went down with an injury. While the Eagles were 13-1 on the season at that point, they quickly went 0-2 with Minshew as their quarterback, seemingly proving Simms wrong. Not to mention that Hurts returned and led the Eagles through the NFC playoffs en route to Super Bowl LVII and now has the chance to join Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks to go 17-1 and win a Super Bowl in the same season.
Simms seemed to start coming around afterward, admitting that he was “wrong” and Hurts is “definitely a top-ten quarterback in football.”
Chris Simms: “I was wrong. I questioned how good he was.”
Looks like it physically pained him to give Jalen Hurts some credit. pic.twitter.com/Ukjchr3EVY
— Russ Joy (@JoyOnBroad) January 31, 2023
However, it sounds like the former quarterback is not only reverting to his initial criticism but also doubling down on Hurts’ ineffectiveness, despite the fact that he has the chance to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory on Sunday.
“Playing QB for the Eagles right now is set up to be one of the easier QB jobs in the sport”
-Chris Simms admits he was wrong about Jalen Hurts but says Jalen is not top 10 passer in NFL ?
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) February 8, 2023
“I understand the pocket passing is there, but you have to worry about so many other things to play Philadelphia,” Simms told NBC Sports’ John Clark. “Of course, Jalen Hurts is a big part of that and he capitalizes on all of that and I’m certainly not trying to take anyway from that. But, how would I put this? Playing quarterback for the Eagles right now is set up to be one of the easier QB jobs in the sport.”
As far as media schticks go, it’s a dependable one. Even if the Eagles defeat the Chiefs on Sunday, Simms can say downplay Hurts’ effectiveness in the victory. If the Eagles lose, he can blame Hurts as the thing holding them back. All the while, Eagles fans are sure to be enraged and engaged.
Chris Simms legitimately hates Jalen Hurts. I feel terrible that he is walking around with that much hate for a stranger.
— Tyrone Johnson (@TyJohnsonNews) February 8, 2023
Chris Simms can’t help himself. He says he’s not trying to take anything away from Jalen, then calls playing QB for the Eagles one of the easier jobs in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/bp3o8zYVL2
— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) February 8, 2023
Come on now Chris…
Minimizing Jalens rare ability to dictate defense, simplify defense & create advantageous situations for the #Eagle OC/OL & offensive skill players with his legs is ludicrous. pic.twitter.com/5PIVNZKe7P
— Clint Stoerner (@ClintStoerner) February 8, 2023
Of course, there’s a flipside to these kinds of schticks too. Simms is probably persona non grata in the Greater Philadelphia Area for the rest of his life. And given how he’s somewhat on an island with this take, especially so long as Hurts and the Eagles succeed, it moves him into the category of the Skip Baylesses of the world, which makes you wonder where Simms’ media career goes from here.