Wade Phillips earns his first Super Bowl title
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Wade Phillips stood at the podium, pumped his right hand in the air and screamed: "Yes!"
Son of Bum is a champion.
Phillips’ smothering defense shut down Cam Newton and the Denver Broncos beat the Panthers 24-10 to give Peyton Manning his second Super Bowl title Sunday.
They wouldn’t have done it without Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and the rest of Phillips’ D.
"We were underdogs," Phillips said. "They said we can’t stop this quarterback or that quarterback, so it’s real gratifying."
The 68-year-old Phillips was out of football last year before returning to Denver as coach Gary Kubiak’s defensive coordinator.
"From unemployed to Super Bowl is good. From unemployed to winning the Super Bowl is even better," Phillips said.
Phillips learned defense from his dad, Bum Phillips, who led the Houston Oilers in the `70s. Bum Phillips was 82-77 coaching the Oilers and New Orleans, but never won a Super Bowl. His Oilers couldn’t get past the Pittsburgh Steelers’ dynasty.
"He would be glad we kicked the door down," Phillips said, referring to one of his father’s famous quotes. Bum Phillips passed away in 2013.
The Broncos were No. 1 in yards allowed, passing yards allowed and sacks in the regular season. Then they beat Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and the NFL MVP in the postseason.
"You have to say this is a special, all-time defense," said Phillips, who was The Associated Press Assistant Coach of the Year.
Phillips has gone 82-61 as a head coach, with only one playoff win in six tries. Of his three head-coaching stints, in Denver, Buffalo and Dallas, none lasted longer than four seasons.
He has served as defensive coordinator with the Saints, Eagles, Broncos, Bills, Falcons, Chargers, Texans and the Broncos again. Wherever he goes, he builds strong relationships with his players.
"We love to play for him. He brings that energy and enthusiasm every day," cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said.
Phillips put together a game plan that did what no other coach could manage this season. Newton and the Panthers were 17-1 and rolled into the Super Bowl with the highest-scoring offense in the league.
Miller had 2 sacks and forced two fumbles, DeMarcus Ware had two sacks and the Broncos tied a Super Bowl record with seven sacks. They also forced four turnovers.
"When you have DeMarcus and Von, you let those guys go and others can cover for them," Phillips said.
The Broncos allowed just 44 points in the playoffs to three of the best offenses in the NFL.
"We proved we’re one of the greatest defenses ever," Harris said.
And they might have the best defensive coordinator in league history.
"He came in and figured out how to utilize the talents," Ware said. "He changed everything up to where we could be more aggressive and get to the passer, but also create a lot of havoc."
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