Phil Simms generally did a good job as the analyst on the Jets/Steelers game Sunday. He said one thing, though, which made my head spin. He was talking about Jets QB Mark Sanchez and said — I’m paraphrasing — people questioned Sanchez’ toughness because he’s from California but he’s proven to be tough.

Say what? Since when are Californians not as tough as people from other parts of the country?

This is the same mindset that said Bill Walsh’s Niners won with “finesse.” Tell that to Ronnie Lott.

So here’s my question. Is it true that athletes’ from California have questionable toughness?

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  1. Stan

    Most of the Colleges and NFL are filled with Californian’s-Pro sports in the coldest citys would be all last place teams if they depended on kids born in Minnesota or North Dakota.
    How many Super Bowls did Phil Simms win?
    Californians might be smartest too. We live in California-and that trumps Broadway or the Empire State building put together. The east coast pretends to be the cultural center of the universe..but they imitate the west coast every chance they get.

    January 24th, 2011 10:20 am

  2. Erick the Red

    Simms made a stupid generalization about Californians. It figures. He never had a reputation of being particularly bright.

    January 24th, 2011 10:21 am

  3. KauaiRobert

    I thought he meant USC players actually.
    But I think it’s true that west coast athletes aren’t respected like those from other parts of the country.
    Californians in general are considered to be laid-back and carefree.
    East coast players are weathered.
    Mid-west players are down-home-on-the-farm tough.
    Southern players eat, drink, and sleep the game.
    It’s all crap.

    January 24th, 2011 10:29 am

  4. Niner-Fan

    That got my attention too. It is one the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. The east coat bias shows up again, this time in a different form. I have never been a fan of Phil Simms and this proves once again that he is indeed an idiot!

    January 24th, 2011 11:02 am

  5. Neal

    That is Bull crap. Matter of fact their are more NFL players from California, then from any other state in the country.

    January 24th, 2011 11:14 am

  6. Joe Sanchez

    What about Aaron Rodgers? He’s a Norcal kid and nobody questions his toughness. In fact people praise him for hanging in there behind the Brett Favre carnival.

    Phil Simms is just giving the latest example of the East Coast bias inherent in sports journalism.

    January 24th, 2011 11:18 am

  7. Jay T.

    I’m glad you mentioned Ronnie Lott, California native. Dude cut his finger off and went back in the game… if anyone else can top that, I’d like to hear it.

    January 24th, 2011 11:40 am

  8. Dave

    Not the best comment by Simms. I would tend to agree though it was likely aimed at USC Quarterbacks of the recent ilk. Palmer and Leinhart have been an overall bust in the NFL. And if I am thinking of the top NFL Quarterbacks by Superbowls or even Hall of Fame, most of them are not CA players. Montana, Kelly, Marino, Unitas are all from western PA, Favre, Bradshaw and the Mannings are from the south. John Elway lived in CA his last two years of HS and College. Steve Young is from Utah. And Roethlisberger, love him or hate him, is from Ohio. Of the dominant QB’s the only Californian to really set an imprint in the past say 20 years is Troy Aikman.
    Not sure what Simms was really trying to say. But I think he may missed the boat on the word toughness.

    January 24th, 2011 1:11 pm

  9. James

    Phil Simms is full of it. Looks like he was a little to tough on Chris, who is now in REHAB!

    January 24th, 2011 1:14 pm

  10. Dave

    My apologies, I left Tom Brady off the list of CA QB’s to make an impression in the NFL. Sorry about that.

    January 24th, 2011 1:15 pm

  11. Dave

    And here is what I can find for states producing most Super Bowl Quarterbacks, and this is started and played, not won.

    Pennsylvania (8): Marino, Montana, Namath, Unitas, Kelly, Kerry Collins, Jeff Hostetler and Rich Gannon.

    Louisiana (7) Bradshaw, Eli and Peyton Manning, Doug Williams, David Woodley, Stan Humphries and Jake Delhomme.

    California (8) Jim Plunkett, Brady, Aikman, Darryl Lamonica, Vince Ferragamo and Tony Eason. And now add Aaron Rodgers to that list.

    January 24th, 2011 1:28 pm

  12. Fred G

    I can’t stand listening to Phil Simms. I hate his voice. Yes I said hate. He never says anything interesting. Unless of course he makes an absurd comment like he just did about people on this coast. And to all my co responders I would say making a list of “tough guys” from the west isn’t the point. He is generalizing and he doesn’t deserve a response. Period.

    January 24th, 2011 1:53 pm

  13. B-Rad

    Mr. Cohn:
    I’m not a professional athlete by any stretch of the imagination,
    but I work out 6 days/week.
    When we moved out here from Chicago, we bought a house and
    had a pool installed immediately. The first year I started
    swimming in February and stopped in mid-November. I swam
    down to 53 degrees and was very comfortable in the low 60′s.
    Now I won’t go in under 75 and hate that, much preferring 80
    or preferably above.
    I’ve been Californicated.
    I prefer training outside. In Illinois I would work out unless the
    ‘chill factor’ hit minus 40. It rarely got that cold there so I seldom
    missed a workout unless it snowed too much.
    Now, I couldn’t survive even one winter there.
    I’m a wimp.

    January 24th, 2011 2:31 pm

  14. NeverWrong


    Well, you are a wimp, but you shouldn’t extrapolate from that. Plenty of tough numbers in California, and always have been. You’re also a transplant, and your point of view is commensurately weak and ungrounded. I’ll pray for you.

    January 24th, 2011 4:52 pm

  15. DANIEL

    There are two ways of looking at this. People from the East or Midwest are certainly more used to having to deal with snow, ice, more extreme weather. Yet because our climate is warmer, we have the luxury of doing more things active–like golfing, tennis, hiking.

    Also out here in California we smoke less and are less obese.

    Not sure i agreed with Sims unless his defintion of toughness involves one that is more on the mental side. If can be tough having to shovel snow and making sure you are layered enough before going outside to go bowling.

    January 24th, 2011 9:15 pm

  16. Chris from Santa Rosa

    I’m sure that the news that Californians aren’t tough will be unexpected news for the folks who work the farms, the ranches, the assembly plants and the docks in this large and diverse state.

    January 24th, 2011 9:34 pm

  17. Johnc

    I think this is all a tempest in a tea pot. I like Phil Simms and I think his remark was designed to offset the impression left by some USC quarterbacks who came into the NFL and busted out like Dave mentioned.

    January 25th, 2011 2:47 am

  18. MJ


    FYI, Steve Young isnt from Utah. He’s from Connecticut.

    January 25th, 2011 3:16 am

  19. David


    What I have found is that Steve Young was born in Utah. He spent a good part of his life in Connecticut. Either way, weather is more inclimate in Salt Lake City and Connecticut.

    As I mentioned. I think Simms missed the boat here. I think he might have the USC Quarterback thing right, but not the CA toughness thing as a whole. And as much as I think Tom Brady is a great QB, I am not personally sold on his toughness, thoug it could have more to do with his overall lack of mobility. He never had any at Michigan, though he was successful. And he gets whacked a lot unless he lets the ball go quickly. If you can get to him, he gets rattled, which is what the Jets did. I personally would take Montana, Unitas, Kelly and Namath any day. Montana was not only a great system QB, he was in fact tough. He took some amazing hits, and came back to make great plays. And yeah, he is a Western PA guy, Steeler Country, as were Kelly, Namath and Unitas.

    January 25th, 2011 10:20 am

  20. Thumper

    Tough , you want tough…try being a Raider fan……now THAT is tough!

    January 25th, 2011 12:27 pm

  21. Paul

    I’m a lifelong 49ers fan who happens to have been born and raised in the Philadelphia area. This is a pretty funny discussion for me to read. It’s true it’s pretty blue-collar around here, many people pride themselves on being tough, no-nonsense, down-to-earth types. It’s more than just about shoveling snow, it’s a mindset that’s perpetuated though the culture. I wouldn’t say there’s a perception of Californians being “not tough” as much as “laid back”, if you can appreciate the difference. Then again, I can’t speak for everybody.

    If you were to give me two football players, tell me one is from Philly and the other from San Fran and ask me to pick the tougher one, I’d flip a coin, because such assumptions are silly.

    Now, if I were to walk away from this discussion with any bias it might be that you Californians are a little full of yourselves… I’m looking at you, Mr. Stan “Californians might be the smartest too”

    January 25th, 2011 12:41 pm

  22. HollywoodinSJ

    Simms is an ASS. Typical coming from him. He just hates California cuz the 49ers whipped the Giants more often than not.

    January 31st, 2011 3:15 pm

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