Witness: Instigator Simms Called Howard ‘Fraud’

Yesterday I reported on a confrontation that went down between Phil Simms and Desmond Howard at the NFL Xperience exhibit in Dallas on Saturday.

Desmond Howard reports about near attack by Phil Simms in Dallas

The heated exchange between Simms and Howard came to light after Howard sent out a series of Tweets indicating that he’d been antagonized by Simms to the point of Simms threatening violence against him.

After my report, Simms sent out the following statement through CBS regarding the incident:

“Desmond and I were having a private conversation that became heated. But at no time was there ever a chance of any physical confrontation or that I felt the police officer assigned to me by the event planners for my appearance needed to separate the two of us.”

Howard also addressed the situation in a statement released by ESPN:

“I was at a public signing for a sponsor when Phil approached me to express anger over on-air analysis I made months ago about his son, Tennessee QB Matt Simms. During the conversation, Phil made a reference to hitting me and security and sponsor representatives soon stepped in. It was an unfortunate incident and I’m moving on.”

Since those statements were released, I’ve learned details of what happened between Simms and Howard from eyewitnesses at the scene.

It wasn’t coincidence that Simms and Howard were in the same proximity Saturday in Dallas, as both were making a promotional appearance for the same sponsor.

Desmond Howard reports about near attack by Phil Simms in Dallas

Simms had just finished his appearance in the sponsor’s exhibit area and was about to leave when Howard sat down at a different table in a separate, partitioned area that was roped-off for his appearance.

It was then that Simms, who was behind a rope and being accompanied by a sponsor-assigned security officer as he was leaving the exhibit, spotted Howard and attempted to get his attention. As a sponsor rep alerted Howard, Simms blurted out loudly in Howard’s direction:

“Hey Desmond, I saw the tape. You called my son (Tennessee football player Matt Simms) the worst quarterback in the country.”

Howard then slowly got up from his promo appearance and approached Simms. Once he reached Simms, Howard said,

“I never called your son the worst quarterback in the country, I said that in the Tennessee-LSU game you will see three of the worst quarterbacks in the SEC.”

Simms replied, “That’s bull—-, you don’t say that about anyone else.

Howard: “I just said it about two other guys (in the same sentence) and statistically, they were.

Simms: “Well, you didn’t say statistically.”

Howard: “You’re in the business, I’ve got 20 seconds to make my point and I think people got what I was talking about.

It was then that Simms indicated he “wanted a piece” of Howard to which Howard said, “I’m here Phil, let’s go.

At that point, Howard turned to somewhat-flummoxed sponsor reps and the two security officers assigned to the event - one of whom was to escort Simms out of the area following his promotional appearance - and said, “Are you all just going to let this happen? What’s going on?

Desmond Howard reports about near attack by Phil Simms in Dallas

Once the officer assigned to Simms began to move in his direction, Simms started to walk away. But not before delivering some parting shots at Howard.

“Whatever … Desmond you’re a fraud and the worst analyst in the country. You’re a fraud.”

Here’s Simms’ statement again - via CBS - about the incident:

“Desmond and I were having a private conversation that became heated. But at no time was there ever a chance of any physical confrontation or that I felt the police officer assigned to me by the event planners for my appearance needed to separate the two of us.”

And Howard’s:

 “I was at a public signing for a sponsor when Phil approached me to express anger over on-air analysis I made months ago about his son, Tennessee QB Matt Simms. During the conversation, Phil made a reference to hitting me and security and sponsor representatives soon stepped in. It was an unfortunate incident and I’m moving on.”

Contrary to Simms’ claim of a “private conversation,” eyewitnesses told me Simms provoked the entire episode in front of sponsor reps and law enforcement and dozens of fans.

While Simms obviously isn’t going to come clean and apologize for putting Howard in such a situation, at the very least I’ve been told not to expect Simms back at the same sponsor event next year.

Follow Brooks on Twitter for real-time updates.