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Wade Phillips feels lucky to be where he is

FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2015, file photo, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips pumps his fist during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Denver. The Broncos defensive coordinator is a character cut from the same cloth as his dad, quick with a quip and as good a teacher as he is a tactician. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney, File) AP

Wade Phillips has been a fixture on NFL sidelines for most of the last four decades as a defensive coordinator or head coach, but 2014 was the rare season that unfolded without Phillips being a part of any team.

He got his chance to return with the Broncos after Gary Kubiak was hired as head coach and brought Phillips on board as defensive coordinator in a reprise of their partnership with the Texans. The play of the Broncos defense this season has been a reminder of why Phillips has lasted so long as well as a reminder of the role chance can play in the NFL.

Phillips wasn’t the Broncos’ first choice for a coordinator — their attempt to interview then-Bengals assistant and current Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was rebuffed — and he said Monday that he feels lucky to be coaching in the Super Bowl for the second time in his career.

“I do. I’m lucky to be where I am in some ways,” Phillips said. “I think I’ve earned a lot of it, but you still have to be lucky. Just look how this year turned out. I didn’t have a job last year. I thought I was going to get one, guys that thought they were going to get a job didn’t get it. This year, pretty much the same thing was happening and I did get the interview at Washington, didn’t get that job. And I was second place at Denver, but it worked out great for me. Sometimes you’re at the right place at the right time.”

It’s impossible to know how things would have worked out for the Broncos if they hired Joseph. Given how good their defense has been and how good they’ve needed it to be this season, though, it’s hard to imagine anyone would want to go back in time and replay the 2015 season without Phillips at the reins of the unit.

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14 Responses to “Wade Phillips feels lucky to be where he is”
  1. dallasfan76 says: Feb 2, 2016 1:27 PM

    I’ve always liked Wade Phillips. However some coordinators are just not meant to be head coaches. Not the worst thing in the world to be a great defensive coordinator but a poor head coach. At the very least, a great coordinator will always have a job in the NFL (see Norv Turner).

  2. tennesseeoilers says: Feb 2, 2016 1:35 PM

    I’m not a Wade Phillips fan per se, but seeing him out-chess and even manipulate Bill Belichick a couple weekends ago was a sight to behold. Easily one of the five best-called defensive efforts I’ve ever seen.

  3. marvsleezy says: Feb 2, 2016 1:42 PM

    Wades Denver defense held the Bills to 10 points in a 10-7 loss in the 1991-1992 season AFC Championship game. Bills K-gun was at its best up until that game.

  4. texansfan82 says: Feb 2, 2016 2:05 PM

    As a Texans fan we really appreciated what Phillips was able to do with our defense. He was able to turn an underachieving bunch into one of the top units in the NFL. His system isn’t complicated, but he finds ways to put his guys in positions to make plays. And he deserves a lot of credit for being able to stick around for this long.

    I’m happy for him and Kubiak that they made it to the Super Bowl.

  5. nfloracle says: Feb 2, 2016 2:08 PM

    Wade Phillips has been a classy guy his entire career. I still remember watching him tear up a bit on Hard Knocks when he was about to cut a player. Even though I’m rooting for the Panthers this weekend, I do so with some regret because I’d like to see Wade finally get a SuperBowl ring to top of his career.

  6. brendafortheboyz says: Feb 2, 2016 2:21 PM

    I have always loved Wade Phillips!!! He is definitely a better DC than HC, but for the first couple of years, he did a fine job for my ‘Boys at HC. When he was fired, I always felt Garrett may have sabotaged him…just imho 😦 But, the players just quit on him and I really hated that!!!!
    Now, he is in a position to get a ring and, brother, do I hope he does……along with Peyton and DWare!!! For this SB, I am pulling for the Broncos. I love Cam and Carolina, but he is the MVP, still young, and they will be a force to be reckoned with next season….

  7. leftlaneisforpassingonly says: Feb 2, 2016 2:36 PM

    Hall of Fame co-ordinator as far as I’m concerned. Some of the best work ever in big games has been done by Phillips. He’s the only reason I give the Broncos a chance.

  8. jjackwagon says: Feb 2, 2016 2:39 PM

    Feeling lucky now, will feel snake-bit by this time next week.

  9. cardinalsfan20 says: Feb 2, 2016 2:58 PM

    Pure class, just like his Dad.

  10. sallust99 says: Feb 2, 2016 3:21 PM

    He has been in the league almost 40 years. He has won NOTHING!! I mean odds say you win something! His only other trip to the SB, Montana and Co. pounded his D. He is an average D coordinator at best. And he is an awful head coach. He needs this win more than anyone to validate a pretty mediocre career.

  11. endzone says: Feb 2, 2016 3:56 PM

    Another example of Daniel Snyder just being his maddening self.

  12. sallust99 says: Feb 2, 2016 3:58 PM

    You read the comments here and you would think this guy is Dick LeBeau, Buddy Ryan or Bill Belicheat – give me a break. He has lost more big games than I can remember. Nice guy, yes. Elite, not even close.

  13. catfish252 says: Feb 2, 2016 5:23 PM

    Wade – I’m so happy that you are in the Superbowl, you absolutely deserve it. I wish you well next Sunday

  14. tnt2003 says: Feb 2, 2016 10:01 PM

    sallust99 says:

    He has been in the league almost 40 years. He has won NOTHING!! I mean odds say you win something! His only other trip to the SB, Montana and Co. pounded his D. He is an average D coordinator at best. And he is an awful head coach. He needs this win more than anyone to validate a pretty mediocre career.

    Awful Head Coach?

    Record as Head Coach

    Wade Phillips 82-64 / .562 winning percentage

    Marv Levy 186-143 / .565 winning percentage

    Marv was elected to the Hall Of Fame.

    I wouldn’t say that Phillips has had a pretty mediocre career.

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