I wrote a story about the 1988 Giants-Jets game that appears here. It’s really the only other time – besides this coming Saturday – that there is more than just bragging rights on the line for either team. In this case, it just happens to be on the line for both teams.
But the loss did not completely kill the Giants’ 1988 season. It wasn’t until later that night when the 49ers lost to the Rams that they were eliminated. That prompted one of the most famous quotes of the era from Phil Simms, who was talking to Peter King as he watched the events unfold on the televsion and remarked that he was “watching the 49ers laying down like dogs.”
Neil Best was kind enough to ask Phil Simms a few questions about that game when they met on Monday at an event at the Museum of Modern Art, and some answers were used in the article linked to above. But they also spoke about that quote and the state of journalism today. It’s always been relayed to me in the folklore of Giants beat reporters that Simms is still mad at King for using that quote, which he seemed to believed was off the record. Here is some of the give-and-take between Neil and Phil on that topic:
Q: Are you still mad at Peter King about that quote?
A: What was the quote?
Q: The “laying down like dogs’’ quote.
A: Oh, because [that] night we needed [the 49ers to win]? Yeah, yeah. Well that just shows you you have to be careful what you say to reporters. We were just chatting.
Q: So you’re still mad.
A: Why am I still mad? The facts are the facts. We were just chatting. I never saw his quotes in the thing that he asked, so there you go.
Q: That’s one of the most famous quotes in this series.
A: Is it? Well, maybe it was the beginning of what we see right now. Always be on the guard of everything you say to everybody at all times. I don’t care if you write this: I’ve even found out this year when you talk you almost have to say it in segments because that’s how it’s going to be interpreted. You’re going to interpret what I say by cutting and fitting.
Q: To fit on Twitter, 140 characters.
A: It’s pretty amazing. I saw somebody on TV the other day interpreting an answer that somebody was giving, trying to read between the lines in his body language. I’m telling you, the world is coming to an end.