On the heels of a big Sports Illustrated story on him, good ole Bill Simmons "broke the ESPN.com" record with a two-hour chat yesterday. The chat — which somewhat inexplicably included two Deadspin references — covered various topics and, as was remarked upon by several chatters, seemed to be allowing Simmons more freedom to criticize various broadcasters on his network and others than usual.
The main target was, of course, Billy Packer, whom Simmons slammed twice. Monitoring the chat at the time, we thought, "Aw, bet that doesn't make the final transcript. ESPN will take those out." Sure enough, out they went. Fortunately, we swiped 'em, and they're after the jump.
As for the SI story, which we've been asked about a few times since we're a part of it, we'll say it seemed somewhat reasonable, at least for your typical print magazine story about Web sites. (We thought it would be a bit more embarrassing than it was.) It still has that Andy Rooney-talking-about-grunge feel, a little big media tsk-tsking to those Wild, Wild West folks of the Interweb who aren't as Serious as They are. And as for the experience of physically picking up a copy of Sports Illustrated and reading a story that has a picture of you in it? We wouldn't know how that works; we'd already read the story online.
Bill Simmons: I think they use [Jim Nantz] for cliches and bad puns. But I'm delighted how this whole thing turned out - everyone forgets, Billy packer has been pulling this crap since the late-70's. During the '79 Tournament, he ranted and raved that Indiana State didn't deserve to be a high seed and they made the Finals. I even have the games on tape where they talk about it. My question is this - he's not funny, and he's not more or less insightful than anyone else. So why keep him on the air when he seems to have an innate tendency to piss people off and interject himself into storylines over and over again? We can't do better than this as the lead analyst on CBS?
Bill Simmons: I'd like to eliminate that Mike mancuso guy... no, that's not his name. It's Mike M. and he has a goatee, he calls himself Mike the Mouth. That guy is the anti-Christ. When Billy packer finally leaves CBS, that's who they will replace him with - Mike the Mouth. it's really the only logical move.