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Wade Phillips earned his dance

Posted Feb 8, 2016

He's drippin'. He's Tweeting. He's dancing. Wade Phillips is marinating in the moment for which he and his late father waited lifetimes.

Wade Phillips

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Wade Phillips owned the party Sunday night.

He joined his players on one stage. He strode a few steps across a parking lot to a tent and danced in front of another. No one would confuse his moves with a those of a professional. No one would care.

Von Miller got the MVP. Gary Kubiak, as the head coach, addressed the media with him Monday morning in the wake of the 24-10 Super Bowl 50 win over the Carolina Panthers.

But from start to finish, this was also Wade's Week, too.

Understand this -- nothing slips past his gaze when it comes to game-planning -- or people.

One of the reasons why the Son of Bum Phillips owned the week was because he, like his father, holds fast to the notion that the game is, at its core, fun.

No one busts chops better than Phillips. With a twinkle in his eye, he approaches me on the practice field, in the cafeteria, in the hallway every week and chides me for my Power Rankings whenever they had the Broncos too low for his liking -- which was often, mostly due to low offensive efficiency and giveaway-takeaway numbers.

This week startled media, and then had them in hysterics, when he showed -- briefly -- how he can get mad at one press conference. He told stories of his past years. He joked about his time as a head coach -- which, despite his self-deprecation, was actually pretty good, since he took three different teams to the playoffs and qualified his clubs for the postseason more often than not.

But now Phillips is a world champion, nearly 40 years after his first game as an NFL assistant coach, working for his father on the Houston Oilers in 1976.

During those "Luv Ya Blue" years, Bum and Wade Phillips helped guide the Oilers to a pair of AFC Championship Game appearances. After the second of those losses to Pittsburgh, Phillips told 50,000 Oilers fans at an Astrodome rally, "Last year we knocked on the door. This year we beat on it. Next year we're going to kick the sumbitch in!"

It didn't work out that way, of course. Houston is still looking for its first Super Bowl appearance for one of its home teams.

But Wade Phillips, a son of Houston through and through, got it done. What would Bum think?

"We finally kicked the door in," Phillips said. "I coached for a long time. I wanted my dad to be proud of me -- and he was proud of me -- but I know he'd be very proud of me at this moment."

Phillips earned his chance to dance and show off his moves Sunday. And from the moment the confetti fell, he was in full embrace of the moment, of being No. 1, of being the architect of one of the best defenses in league history.

In the midst of the chaotic on-field celebration, Phillips spotted me and smiled.

"Are we No. 1 in the rankings now?" he asked.

He and his defense are better than No. 1. They're champions. For the 2015 season, Wade Phillips -- and his D -- owns the league.