A league rife with larger-than-life icons lost on of its largest on Friday when former Oilers and Saints coach Bum Phillips passed away. In the two days since his death, the tributes from former players and peers have rolled in for the man who once said, “The harder we played the behinder we got.”
Sports anchor Bud Allen remembered Bum as “a good friend and mentor” and declared, “If you were putting together a Mount Rushmore of Houston sports icon, Bum would be at the top flanked by Earl (Campbell), Nolan (Ryan) and Hakeem (Olajuwan).”
Colts owner Jim Irsay took time off from posting stupid selfies to pay homage on his Twitter account.
Former Texans player Shaun Cody also joined the chorus of praise for Bum.
The Texans themselves paid tribute.
And the Houston Chronicle did as well.
Former Saints player Rich Mauti told The Advocate of Bum and those early 80’s Saints teams, “He was the right guy at the right time for us. He brought on players that he wanted to be around.”
Morten Andersen, legendary kicker if ever there was one, said of Bum:
When I think of all the coaches that I played for, Bum is at the top of the list for many reasons. It was fun playing for him. His teams were tight. We were family. He had your back and would defend you. I thought I was getting cut in 1982 after a dismal preseason, but Bum stuck with me and allowed me to mature, develop and figure it out. Like a good parent, he was there for me. I will miss his guidance and wisdom.
And, yes, Texans defensive coordinator and Bum’s son Wade Phillips will coach today as the Texans travel to Kansas City, though whether or not Wade will wear a giant Stetson in honor of his father remains to be seen. The Rog would probably fine him $10,000.
Lastly, not to be forgotten, we await word on whether or not Bum’s passing will mean any alterations to the opera that’s been written about him.
Still need more Bum? There’s always this great NFL “Lost Treasures” film on the great coach who wouldn’t wear his Stetson in the Superdome because that’s just good manners, son.