I just finished reading Wade Phillips’ new book, Son Of Bum, covering his years in the NFL – starting off as an assistant under his dad, and his later years on his own. Seems like a good guy, and nice to see him finally win a championship with the Broncos.
It’s an above-average football book, with decent backstories about how he felt he was unfairly treated during job interviews with Marty Schottenheimer and Jay Gruden. Phillips says he was the guy who lobbied hard for J.J. Watt when the Texans were mulling which direction to go in the 2011 draft – they thought Aldon Smith was a better pass rusher, but he was chosen four picks earlier. Phillips argued that they could move Mario Williams to a pass-rushing linebacker spot, making room for Watt.
Phillips also winds the clock back to 1981, explaining that the Saints drafted George Rogers instead of Lawrence Taylor because they were trying to recreate what had worked so well for them when they had Earl Campbell in Houston. Phillips points out that the Saints believed there were seven good linebackers in that draft, and that they’d be able to get one later. Sure enough, they got Rickey Jackson in the second round, and while not quite on Taylor’s level, Jackson went on to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Rogers once admitted to spending $10,000 on cocaine during his rookie season, and the Saints released him in 1985. On this front, Phillips opts to steer clear of really pulling back the curtain. There’s no mention of cocaine or drugs, or Rogers perhaps showing up bleary-eyed to practice. Instead, Phillips offers simply that the team released Rogers after the 1984 season because of “off field problems”. If you read the books that Jeff Pearlman has written on Walter Payton, Brett Favre and the Cowboys in the ‘90s, those kind of issues are discussed far more openly.
Phillips mentions that his dad was fired was fired by the Oilers after winning 10, 11 and 11 games in his final three seasons. They won playoff games in two of those seasons, losing AFC Championship games at Pittsburgh. That caught my eye – got me wondering whether other coaches have been fired after three straight seasons with double-digit wins. (I thought it might make for a good trivia question.)
I spent a half hour looking through the historical records, and it has happened more often than I would have guessed. I found 10 coaches who won 10-plus games three years in a row and then left teams. That includes Tony Dungy, who clearly retired after seven straight seasons with 10-plus wins for the Colts.
But there are many others. Chuck Knox won 10-plus games in all five of his seasons with the Rams in the ‘70s but resigned when he believed the team was going to fire him. After the 1990 season, there were two of these teams in the same division – Bill Parcells retired from the Giants, and the Eagles fired Buddy Ryan (looking to take the next step after going 0-3 in playoff games in three years).
|Leaving after 10+ wins for 3 years|
Phillips isn't running Denver's defense anymore. He will be the defensive coordinator of the Rams this season.