"They're cheering because Pennington's going out. I don't care what anybody says." Phil Simms, during the broadcast of Sundays NY Jets game.
"... rip the tar out of Jets fans for cheering when Chad Pennington got hurt ... What a sickening, shameful display." - Peter King, in his MMQB column.
I like when Simms calls games, I consider him one of the better football broadcasters on TV right now. And I read Peter Kings stuff most days on SI.com. But I have to disagree with them on this.
I was watching the Jets game when Pennington went down. I didn't get any impression that the crowd was cheering because he was hurt. Instead, I thought they were cheering for him because he was eventually able to get off the field on his own strength. I was surprised when Simms made his comment, and as the rest of the media took the same viewpoint I figured I probably just missed something.
But I've since spoken with three different people who were at the game (and not together). All three said they were cheering for Chad, not for him getting hurt, as I had originally thought. I gotta believe that my initial reaction combined with what these three game-goers say is the truth. I can't imagine the fan that would boo a player -- Pennington in particular -- while he's writhing in pain on the field, let alone a stadium full of them.
And this business of making some story out of the crowd cheering for Clemens? OF COURSE they're cheering for Clemens, he's a backup QB coming into the game to relieve the injured starter! They BETTER be cheering!