Phillips returns to Buffalo

ROB LONGLEY, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Hindsight being as flawless as the Cowboys' 4-0 record, it's a given now that the Buffalo Bills didn't know how good they had it with Wade Phillips.

And the friendly old son of Bum isn't about to let them forget it, either.

Phillips returns to Buffalo tomorrow as head coach of the Cowboys, ready for some Monday Night Football and to show his old employers he still can coach.

Too often and by too many in his Bills days, he was portrayed as a bumpkin rather than the sharp son of Texas coaching legend Bum Phillips.

Since he was run out of town by owner Ralph Wilson after the 2000 season, the Bills' record is 39-61.

During the folksy Texan's three-year run on the Bills sidelines, it was 29-18, including the infamous Music City Miracle loss to the Tennessee Titans in the 1999 playoffs.

Not that Bills fans need a reminder, but that was the most recent time their heroes had a sniff of the post season.

"I'm proud of the fact that we were one of the winningest teams in the '90s," Phillips said this week on a conference call with Buffalo reporters.

"There aren't many guys with winning records as a head coach. I was one of those guys when I left Buffalo. Whatever the perception is ... I think I've done well."

Then Phillips delivered this zinger about another notable coach who kept his job after that same 2000 season.

"I believe Bill Belichick was 5-11 that year, (the Patriots) kept him around," said Phillips, who was a successful defensive coordinator in San Diego the past three seasons. "I don't know what he has done since, though."

While in Buffalo, Phillips took all sorts of silly abuse from fans and media. The wackiest though was the commentary surrounding the flaming quarterback controversy between Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie.

Flutie was yanked just prior to that playoff loss in Nashville, though many believe it was the owner's call. Phillips always was a Flutie fan, though, and as a special treat for the Buffalo media, compared current Cowboys starter Tony Romo to the former CFL star.

"We had it with Doug Flutie, that magic," Phillips said. "(Romo) has that whatever 'it' is ... he can make a play when somebody else can't."

SUPER HANGOVER

It is a full season and a quarter removed from their Super Bowl loss to the Steelers and some in Seattle still can't get over it.

The Seahawks were wild after the Ford Field loss claiming, not without some merit, that the officiating was horrid.

Sour grapes, say the Steelers, who face the Seahawks in an interesting battle of 3-1 teams today in the Steel City.

Even though he was most vocal in the aftermath and was pretty compelling in his arguments against the officials, Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren said it's time to let go.

"I bump into people on the street and they still talk about it," Holmgren said. "I say 'listen, it really is time for us to move on.' "

ON THE RECORD(S)

With every touchdown pass he completes, Brett Favre will add to his NFL record. There is a less dubious one on the horizon, however.

Favre is just two wild throws away from matching George Blanda's career interceptions record of 277.

When you have been around as long as Favre though, you have to take the good with the bad. Since Favre started his current iron-man streak of 231 games with the Packers in Sept. 27, 1992, the team he faces today, the Chicago Bears, have had 21 starters.


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