There are some people you don't forget, and one such character is Oail Andrew (Bum) Phillips, who recently removed himself as head coach of the struggling New Orleans Saints. Phillips, the man who wore a burr haircut under a 10-gallon hat, is as Texas as a pickup truck with a dent in the driver's side, as rural as a schoolmarm, and as relentless as a dog catcher. Bum usually managed to finish what he started, and although he never had great material as a National Football League coach, first with the Houston Oilers and later with the Saints, he always seemed to make the most of what he had.
For Phillips to quit with four games left was out of character. The feeling here is that he did it partly to give owner Tom Benson time to find a new head coach and also because Benson agreed to make Bum's son, Wade, interim coach for the rest of the season. (Wade, who had been the team's defensive coordinator, had quite a debut in the top job Sunday as the Saints upset the Los Angeles Rams 29-3).
New Orleans, which has never enjoyed a winning season, was 4-8 under Bum this year and 27-42 since he took over the team in 1981. Phillips, whose grandfather rode the old Chisholm Trail across the Texas panhandle on a horse in the 1800s, got his nickname by accident. A younger sister, unable to pronounce brother, had no trouble with Bumble, which was later shortened to Bum by friends. Some friends!
Like a lot of plain folk, Phillips has a sharp mind, a quick wit, and a satchel full of homespun advice. Among his more famous Bumisms:
My idea of discipline is not makin' guys do something, it's getting 'em to do it.
The only discipline that lasts is self-discipline.
Bum is a name, not a description. I don't mind people usin' it as long as they don't put a ``you'' in front of it.
Some people get long hours and success confused. I say do what you got to do, get it done, forget it, and go home.
And on telling the media how he slept after an opening preseason loss to Kansas City in 1976: ``Like a baby -- for two and a half hours!''
Miami did more than win a football game and enhance its playoff hopes by routing Chicago 38-21 in the Orange Bowl Monday night. By ending the Bears' 12-game winning streak, the Dolphins kept intact their own 1972 record as the only team in National Football League history ever to win all of its games. Those Dolphins won 14 regular-season games, two playoff contests, and the Super Bowl for a 17-0 record. Ironically, the Bears have been the only other team to make it through the regular season unbeaten and untied since the league's inception in 1921. They did it twice, going 13-0 in 1934 and 11-0 in 1943, but lost the championship game in both years.
With 16 regular-season games, Chicago had a chance to outdo the '72 Dolphins, since an all-winning team today would finish 19-0. Miami was determined to prevent this, and with Dan Marino having a big night (270 yards passing, 3 TDs) the Dolphins rolled to a 31-10 halftime lead and were in charge all the way.
From Pittsburgh wide receiver Louis Lipps, whose punt return average is among the NFL's highest: ``Returning punts is something I've been doing since I started playing sandlot football as a kid. It's a hard habit for me to break. I know the risks that are supposed to be involved, but I've made it a point to think only about the good things that can happen.'' Buffalo center Mark Traynowicz, a rookie from Nebraska, on how he came to be engaged to a former beauty queen: ``Believe it or not, where I come from, I'm good looking!''