Former Houston Oilers Coach Bum Phillips may be 90 years old, but he still loves to talk football.
Phillips sat down with Kiii News Reporter Michael Gibson to remember the Houston Oiler days, and there were also a couple of his players on hand to share their thoughts on the coach as well.
Coach Phillips says on his 250 acre ranch in Goliad -- the perfect place to relax and talk NFL football, Luv Ya Blue style.
Bum was one of the most colorful coaches in NFL history. He reminisced about a huge pep rally back in 1979, after a second straight AFC Championship loss to the Steelers.
"We didn't win the big win," Bum said. "We might have had a better chance had it not been in Pittsburgh, where it was snowing. Southern people aren't used to snow in Houston, and weren't ready to play in it really."
Coach Phillips and his Oilers never did kick in that door.
"That's a good thing about my past," Bum said. "I've been able to forget what I wanted to forget, and regardless, whether that was a catch or wasn't a catch, they said it wasn't. No use wasting any time thinking about that. I don't know of a way to beat them anyhow."
Still, Luv Ya Blue was a big hit with the fans. It was a special time that Bum and his players will never forget.
"We all loved the guy, okay. I can say it in front of you," Houston Oiler Center Carl Mauck said. "I don't think you're ashamed to tell somebody you love them, so I'm here to tell you I love Bum Phillips, and I enjoyed every time I was around him. Even today."
Mauck and other players, like Mike Barber, have been showing up at the coach's Goliad ranch this week.
"That was a different time, a different era," Mauck said. "It was kind of like Camelot. The town loved us, and we loved them, and they all loved him, and he's been pulling the wool over a lot of people's eyes for a longtime."
A little humor is needed these days. Bum recently turned 90 and quickly ran into some health problems. He has fallen and bumped his head a couple of times, so former players and coaches have come down to check on him.
"There's not a coach that's ever coached in the NFL that has more of his kids, his players, contact him by phone or come see him than Coach Phillips," Houston Oiler Tight End Mike Barber said. "I doubt if there's a coach that's ever been. Or today. That's because he was loved by all of us so much."
Barber credits Phillips with helping him turn his life around. He said he came into the NFL an angry young man, a product of an abusive home.
"He's my coach, but for me, Mike Barber, he's the dad I never had," Barber said.
Barber went on to become a star tight end and now he runs a prison ministry.
Bum keeps pictures of his players right next to those of his own family. We couldn't help but ask him about his big star among all those photos, Earl Campbell. If Phillips was the conductor of Luv Ya Blue, then Earl had to be the engine that powered that train.
"You could have coached Earl," Bum said. "I'm serious. It's just line me up and tell me what to do."
Phillips said, like the rest of his old players, Earl still keeps in touch, proving that Luv Ya Blue is alive and well, thriving here in Goliad.
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