People said many things about Wade Phillips during his three-plus years as Cowboys coach and most them weren't particularly nice. He was a creampuff, a pushover, slow to adjust on the field and weak-willed off of it. And those are just some of the printable epithets.
No one ever called him out for a lack of humility, though. Phillips, whatever his other flaws, never seemed to have an unrealistic opinion of himself. Perhaps he just needed to be free from Jerry Jones's shadow to let his true colors come to the surface.
Phillips did an interview on Bruce Smith's radio show in Virginia Beach on Monday and didn't shy away from associating himself with one of the bigger icons in Cowboys history when discussing the difficulties he'll face getting another head coaching job.
"It took me a long time to get another head coaching job and we went 34-22, which is pretty good. I went out with the same winning percentage as Tom Landry, so I don't feel bad about my head coaching career but I think they're going to look at me more as a coordinator and that's fine with me. I just want to coach."
He's right about the regular season winning percentage, but is it even necessary to point out how completely out of your mind you have to be to compare yourself to Landry? Probably not, but we'll bite anyway.
One man built a franchise from expansion into a team that did not have a losing season between 1965 and 1985 and the other took over a winning team without making any significant advances. Landry won 20 playoff games, two Super Bowls, three other NFC titles and took his team to 11 conference title games. Phillips won one playoff game.
Maybe we're being unfair. Wade didn't say he was as good a coach or as successful a coach as Landry. He's just trying to argue that he wasn't as big a loser as Cowboys coach as he's perceived to be right now.
Alas, he's wrong there as well. The amount of talent he was given to work with as head coach of the Cowboys was such that there's no way he should have wound up with such mediocre results during his tenure as the team's coach. He also lost all three playoff games he coached with the Broncos and Bills, which gives a pretty good indication of his limitations as a head man.
Wade Phillips is a nice man and he can put together a fine defense, but his reputation as a head coach is exactly what it should be.
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