I feel sorry for Wade Phillips – and it’s for much more than his team getting completely dismantled by the Minnesota Vikings in this past weekend’s divisional playoff round.
I feel sorry for him because he gets absolutely no respect. He’s the real-life Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL.
He is a little frumpy looking and doesn’t lash back at those in the media who make him the butt of their jokes. These two things by themselves make Phillips an easy target, but what makes matters even worse for him is that the team’s owner, Jerry Jones, seems to enjoy keeping Phillips off-balance when it comes to his future employment with the team.
I completely understand that the NFL is a results-driven league, but how can a coach function when the team’s owner is five feet away from him looking over his shoulder while he’s attempting to win a football game? Jones didn’t do that to Bill Parcells when the Tuna was coaching the Cowboys, nor did he do it to Barry Switzer or the wavy-haired Jimmy Johnson, the coach who came before him.
If the team owner doesn’t give the coach the respect he deserves, why would the media? Why would the rest of the NFL?
Despite all his perceived shortcomings, here’s a guy who has gone 81-54 in his NFL head coaching career. Bet you didn’t realize his record was that good, did you? He also guided the Cowboys – a team not nearly as good as their press clippings might indicate from a talent perspective – to an 11-5 record this year and their first playoff win in more than a decade.
Folks, there are a lot of so-called legendary coaches who don’t have a winning percentage that good.
There should not be any debate over whether or not he’ll be retained as coach. (I’d be thrilled to have Wade head to Florida and coach those hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers right now.)
Yet here it is, one day after the game and speculation is alive and well all over the Internet. This speculation is happening for one reason … Jerry Jones is allowing it.
Now, today comes word that Jones is leaning toward giving his coach a contract extension. Now there’s one more reason to feel sorry for Wade Phillips.