MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 4: Head coach Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys argues with line judge Carl Johnson #101 during action against the Minnesota Vikings at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 4, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Cowboys defeated the Vikings 35-31. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Wade Phillips responded on Wednesday to Emmitt Smith's very public, kind of scathing criticism, kowtowing to Smith to some degree and doing much to placate the Cowboys purists who hold such figures as near deities.
"I predict this: Most of the predictions will be wrong," Wade said, before setting out to make clear that he meant no offense in his judgment.
"I have a lot of respect for him," he continued. "I don't completely agree with everything any of those guys say, but I do take it to heart when it's one of ours."
This is some top shelf politicking on the part of Phillips, who seemed to maintain a dry humor while bowing to the all-time leading rusher and champion ballroom dancer. Still, one got the feeling that Wade was treating Emmitt's complaints and criticisms like those of a child; namely, with passive appeasement.
Particularly when he said, "If Emmitt doesn't think I did it well enough, I'm going to try to do it better."
Just how serious Phillips was when he said this last bit, I'm not sure. The third-year coach seems to understand the lofty esteem in which Smith is held in Dallas. But given his later remarks about coaching in Dallas--about smelling the roses, and such -- it's doubtful that Phillips will be losing any sleep over old no. 22's remarks.