An NFL locker room after a loss is generally a somber place. That was especially the case on Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium, as the Texans were reeling from a 17-16 defeat. But on top of what happened on the field, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of the players were also aching for their defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who lost his father on Friday night.
"He's going through a tough time right now," linebacker Brooks Reed said. "This defense has backed him up. We played for him today."
Former Oilers head coach Oail Andrew 'Bum' Phillips died Friday in Goliad, Texas, and his son Wade was able to see him one final time. It was with a heavy heart that he coached in Kansas City, but it was something he said he had to do.
"It's what he wanted me to do," Phillips said. "I tried to do the best I could do, and I thought our players tried to do the same thing."
Houston's defensive boss talked about how he got into coaching because of his father. The elder Phillips' love of the game was also embraced by the son, and he said he was grateful to
see his father before he died.
"The reason I'm a coach is because of him," Phillips said. "He's my hero."
For Kubiak, it was a sad day as well. As a youngster in the 1970's, Kubiak was a ballboy for Phillips and the Oilers. The head coach's voice wavered when he spoke about Bum.
"He was always Coach to me and I was thinking about him all day today," Kubiak said. "My first taste of the NFL was him bringing me to this stadium as a little boy. It was ironic that I was here today, this weekend."
Bum Phillips' coaching career was over before defensive end J.J. Watt and many of his teammates were born. But that didn't stop Watt from honoring Phillips' after a sack. When he dropped Chiefs' quarterback Alex Smith in the fourth quarter, Watt popped up and made a tip of the cap gesture. Phillips famously wore a cowboy hat whenever his teams played outdoors.
"I think all of us had some sort of experience with Bum," Watt said. "I know I had a few conversations with him over the years, and he was a special guy. He means a lot to the city of Houston. He means a heck of a lot to our defensive coordinator."