The pulpit was decorated with a towering oil derrick made of red and white carnations adorned with sparkly light blue letters that spelled out: ‘Luv Ya Bum!” Next to it was a much smaller flower arrangement in the shape of the Texans mascot.
Phillips spent a lot of time in his last years around the Texans after Wade Phillips was hired as an assistant coach. Texans owner Bob McNair, general manager Rick Smith, coach Gary Kubiak, defensive end J.J. Watt and several other Texans players attended the service.
“He was always very encouraging, very positive and always a great supporter of the Texans,” McNair said. “He just never had a bad thing to say, and it was just nice to have that level of support from someone who had been so successful for so many years in the NFL. I always appreciated that because he didn’t have to do it.”
The Oilers lost to Pittsburgh 34-5 in the AFC championship game in Campbell’s rookie year. Houston returned to the game the following season only to be beaten again by the Steelers, this time 27-13.
The Oilers went 11-5 in 1980 but lost to Oakland in the AFC wild-card round and Phillips was fired. He was 55-35 with the team in the regular season.
Fans loved his no-nonsense demeanor and were entertained by his often blunt comments. Many shared their favorite Bumisms on Tuesday. Wade Phillips said his top one came when Campbell’s was unable to finish a mile run.
“When it’s first-and-a-mile, I won’t give it to him,” Bum Phillips said.
Campbell chuckled when reminded of that quote.
“A lot of people think he ran me too much, but it wasn’t hard to carry,” he said. “I just only ran. The guys did all the work.”
He left Texas to coach the Saints in 1981, going 27-42 before retiring after the 1985 season.
Linebacker Robert Brazile, who played for Phillips with the Oilers, choked up when speaking about him on Tuesday.
“It makes me sad to know he’s not here,” Brazile said. “Now it’s our job and it’s your job to be here for others just like Bum was for us.”
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org