Popular Ex-Rams Assistant Sounds Off on Why He’s Not in the NFL

Wade Phillips

Getty Wade Phillips and Cory Littleton on December 29, 2019 in Los Angeles.

One would think that a Super Bowl winning coordinator would still be employed by an NFL franchise. But in the case of Wade Phillips, who last coached for the Los Angeles Rams alongside Sean McVay in 2019, he’s found a way to continue his coaching career outside of the league in the XFL.

Phillips, 75, told the New York Post on Friday, March 3 that he believes there’s this reason as to why he’s not on an NFL coaching staff.

“I hate to say it but I think it’s age,” Phillips told David Russell of the Post.


Phillips Sounds Off on XFL Career

Phillips not only became a distinguished defensive mind in his defensive coordinator career that began in 1981, but he was the coordinator behind Aaron Donald producing his career-best 20.5 sacks in the 2018 season. That was also the last time Phillips coached in a Super Bowl.

Phillips, who won Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos coaching up future Rams Aqib Talib and Von Miller, takes pride in his coordinator work.

“It’s hard to beat my record as a coordinator so there’s got to be another reason,” Phillips said. “But that’s ok. I’m glad to be doing what I’m doing.”

And what he’s doing now is leading the Houston Roughnecks to an undefeated start in the XFL’s return. And in typical Phillips-led defensive fashion, his unit has led the league in sacks. They’ve additionally bottled the scoring — with the Roughnecks surrendering the second-fewest points so far this season. Known as a player’s coach who finds ways to connect with who he’s coaching, Phillips has taken a liking to the new group of players he has.

“They’ve got great focus,” Phillips said. “They’re trying to accomplish something and they’re looking for you to help them.”


Phillips Once Pleaded for NFL Return

Again, Phillips has been away from the NFL game since his dismissal from the Rams after the 2019 season. But he took to Twitter twice with the hope someone would lure him in.

“Watching and waiting the league not one team. Just looking to see if I can get an opportunity to help someone win,” Phillips wrote.

And in January 2021, he added this tweet: “I am ready to retire from retirement! I am ready and available. Let’s win.”

And along with his defensive coordinator work, he proved he can produce playoff teams as a head coach with the Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys — making a combined five postseason appearances with all three as their coaching leader. Phillips can confidently say that he wasn’t terrible when he had the head coaching reins.

“My niche in the NFL was defensive coordinator,” he said. “My record’s pretty good as head coach. It was fun being a head coach. I didn’t do terrible.”

But is he discontent about the league not giving him an opportunity? Especially with his age being brought up?

“I’m not mad because I’m not in the NFL,” Wade said. “I’m glad I got an opportunity.”

However, he concluded with Russell that he’s enjoying his new gig in the city where his father, Bum, became a city legend.

“The NFL used to be the No Fun League,” Phillips said. “This is the Xtra Fun League.”

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