Former Buffalo Bills head coach Wade Phillips, 68, has enjoyed a decorated coaching career that has seen him roaming NFL sidelines since 1976. Despite a high degree of success in the 38 years he's coached, Phillips is making just his second career Super Bowl appearance this Sunday, when his Denver Broncos defense will try to slow down Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
Ironically, his first Super Bowl appearance came at the end of the 1989 season, when Phillips was in his first stint as the Broncos' defensive coordinator, working under Dan Reeves and with his future bosses, John Elway and Gary Kubiak, comprising Denver's quarterback depth chart.
In 1989, the Broncos finished with the No. 3 overall defense in the league, surrendering just 275.4 yards per game. In Super Bowl XXIV, they matched up with the league's No. 1 overall offense, a San Francisco 49ers outfit that featured all-time great players Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, among others.
San Francisco's offense prevailed with ease in that game, as the 49ers blew out the Broncos, 55-10, with Montana and Rice in particular shredding Phillips' defense.
26 years later, Phillips has another crack at a championship ring, this time as the coordinator of the league's No. 1 ranked defense. Newton and the Panthers aren't exactly at a late-'80s 49ers level offensively, but in two convincing playoff wins, they've racked up averages of 32.5 points and 385.5 yards per game. Denver's defense was excellent in wins over Pittsburgh and, especially, New England, to reach the title game, but they have their work cut out for them in the Super Bowl.
What do you think, Bills fans? Is Phillips' Broncos defense good enough this time around to help Denver win a title?