Bum's Son, Wade Phillips back at Super Bowl with LA Rams

ATLANTA (AP) -- Wade Phillips Looks Like He's Ready To Kick That Son Of A B#%ch In doesn't understand why everybody is so

impressed by his ability to bridge generations of people and

football knowledge with equal aplomb.

The Los Angeles Rams' 71-year-old defensive coordinator sees

nothing unusual in his ability to quote lyrics from a month-old

Future song right after walking off the team plane at the Super

Bowl wearing his 10-gallon cowboy hat and an ancient, iconic

sheepskin coat once owned by Bum Phillips, his late, great father.

And though he eagerly makes granddad jokes about his advancing age

and his millennial boss, Sean McVay, Phillips is undeniably still

at the peak of his profession.

The Rams (15-3) are coming off two outstanding defensive postseason

performances as they get ready to face New England and Tom Brady,

who had one of the worst outings of his playoff career against

Phillips' defense.

During 41 seasons in the NFL, Phillips has survived multiple

firings and several unsuccessful head coaching stints to become a

well-traveled defensive mastermind. He isn't the type to lecture

youngsters on his accumulated wisdom, but a few simple truths

underline his life's work.

''You have to be able to adjust,'' Phillips said. ''You have to

learn and grow and get better. That's what coaching is about. Life,

too. The game isn't waiting around for you. It's going into the

future.''

Part of Phillips' future is Future, the Atlanta rapper who gets

played in the Rams' training complex. Phillips says he picked up a

few bars from ''Rocket Ship'' this month and then dropped a verse -

''I've been poppin' since my demo'' - on a disbelieving Aqib Talib

for a team video Monday.

But Phillips also carries the accumulated wisdom of his past into

this late-career renaissance.

After making the Super Bowl once in his first 37 seasons of NFL

coaching, Phillips is back in the big game for the second time in

four seasons. He won his first championship ring with the Denver

Broncos just three years ago.

Denver Broncos v Houston Texans

''We try to let the guys know you have to appreciate this

opportunity,'' Phillips said. ''You don't know if it'll ever happen

for you, and they're getting it now. Even if you're a younger

player, you can understand that, I think. So we just remind them.''

Phillips' clever expeditions into another generation's culture

happen too often to be just a goof. He is genuinely interested in

learning about his players' experiences, just as much as he was in

the late 1970s as a 30-year-old assistant under his father with the

Houston Oilers.

While Phillips listens to whatever music is playing at the Rams'

training complex, he prefers Drake and likes Migos. He plays video

games with his grandson, and he showed up at training camp last

July with a ''Fortnite Legend'' T-shirt, claiming his squad would

probably win a Battle Royale if he tried.

When the Rams took the arena stage at media night, Phillips

gleefully shot video on his phone for his popular Twitter account,

which is full of SpongeBob GIFs and self-deprecating humor .

''I love this,'' he said. ''I love the camaraderie. Some of the

guys from my Houston Oilers team, (safety) Vernon Perry and Dr.

Doom (Hall of Fame linebacker Robert Brazile) and those guys, I'm

still in touch with them. We do a thing where we buy bicycles for

kids. All along the way, I've had players that I've been close to,

and a lot of coaches. Those friendships are life's meaningful

things, and that's what I've learned.''

Unsurprisingly, Phillips is universally popular with his Rams.

Talib agreed to move from Denver to Los Angeles partly because he

would be reunited with Phillips, and he joked that his eventual

retirement plan is to ''just chill with Wade.''

Cornerback Marcus Peters, who has clashed with coaches in the past,

would love to get in on that.

''When you get to spend time with a guy who loves the game like

that, and who's so honest and genuine, you love that,'' Peters

said. ''Yeah, we'll hang out. Have a few drinks, and let's groove.''

Phillips jokes that having All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald

on his roster has turned him into a genius, but he quickly

assembled a solid unit this fall after the Rams made big offseason

changes to his 2017 defense, including the departures of leading

tackler Alec Ogletree and top cornerback Trumaine Johnson.

The Rams' revamped pass defense struggled at times during the

season, but has been mostly solid ever since Talib returned from

injury in December to renew his partnership with Peters. Talib

excelled in Phillips' scheme for the NFC title game against New

Orleans' Michael Thomas, who had only four catches after cutting up

Los Angeles for 211 yards receiving when the Saints beat the Rams

earlier in the year.

While the Rams' performance against the running game hasn't been

dominant this year, they've stopped their two postseason opponents'

ground games cold. Even while facing Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara

and Mark Ingram, the Rams have allowed just 98 yards rushing in

their two playoff games combined.

Phillips' defenses historically have struggled against New England

- just like almost everybody else's defenses - but his Denver

Broncos thoroughly stifled the Patriots three years ago to reach

the Super Bowl. Phillips isn't promising a repeat with the Rams.

''Coach Wade always has something to show them,'' Talib said.

''He's always planning, always thinking.''

When told about Talib's faith, Phillips replied: ''Oh, he knows I

don't think a whole lot.''

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