Bum Phillips was a Texan. Sure, this isn't the club he coached but the fans of the Texans are his fans too. And the powerful connection he had with the city will never be forgotten. His son coaches the current Houston defense. One of his former ball boys is the head coach of the team.
Bum was a huge part of the Texans' biggest day, the first playoff win over Cincinnati. After 10 seasons, the Texans were in the post season. Before the game, he walked out of the tunnel to a magnificent roar. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I said to color commentator Andre Ware off the air, "There's no way we lose this game today."
How fitting that Wade Phillips would see his unit shut down the Bengals and even score with J.J. Watt's interception for a touchdown. And how fitting that the win would be over a former AFC Central rival during a year that the Texans would also register a big win over Oilers' nemesis Pittsburgh.
The amazing thing about Bum Phillips was not that he led the Oilers to two AFC Championship games. It's the relationship he had with his players. Ask Earl Campbell, Dan Pastorini, Carl Mauck or Mike Barber about Bum and they speak with such love and respect that you wonder if they are talking about a football coach or a family member.
I was so fortunate to spend some time with Bum and Debbie at charity events over the last decade, as well as the occasional football practice. He took a genuine interest in what I did. It amazed me that this legend, someone I had only known through television, was so kind and friendly. But anyone who knows him well knows that's no surprise. He was warm and caring and it was obvious to all who had ever come into contact with him. This was a great man. A Marine, a football coach, a father. There will never be another like him. The standard he set in Houston sports history goes far beyond success on the field. Bum Phillips will forever be celebrated as a hard working, caring, successful American. He will forever be remembered as a true Texan.