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Morten Andersen reflects on Bum Phillips

Legendary former NFL kicker Morten Andersen played for two coaches as a member of the New Orleans Saints. Although he enjoyed more winning times with Jim Mora, the man they call 'The Great Dane' savored the early years of his career under O.A. 'Bum' Phillips.

Phillips passed away Friday at the age of 90. I broke the news to Morten, who shared his thoughts and affinity for the coach known for his ten-gallon hat, one-liners and winning football:

A rare and treasured gem has left us.

As I received the news of Bum Phillips' passing this morning, my thoughts drifted back to 1982 when I first received his phone call informing me that I was a Saint.

His humor shined through back then as clearly as it would many times after.

"Son... do you like beer and country music?" Those were his first words to me. I thought 'one out of two isn't bad'. "Yes sir," I replied. "Well come on down son, we just drafted you," Bum told me.

So began my journey with Bum and the Saints.

He was a rare man in many ways. Some mistook his grandfatherly manners for being soft, but he was fiercely competitive and he ran his team with unfaltering loyalty to his players and staff.

Everyone has a Bum Phillips story. One of my favorite ones came from his pregame speech. It was short and succinct.

"Every man get a man and every good man get two." Everyone looked around waiting for more. Bum just stood there and finally said, "Well s**t boys, go play'"

And we did and we would, because everyone played for him. You were his boy, it was his team and it was beautiful.

When I think of all the coaches that I played for, Bum is at the top of the list for many reasons. It was fun playing for him. His teams were tight. We were family. He had your back and would defend you. I thought I was getting cut in 1982 after a dismal preseason, but Bum stuck with me and allowed me to mature, develop and figure it out. Like a good parent, he was there for me. I will miss his guidance and wisdom.

I have not spoken to Bum in a long time. He sent me a video greeting when I retired.

It was short and succinct. "Hey Morten, If it hadn't been for my good coaching, you probably wouldn't have lasted for 20-plus years."

Amen to that, Bum. May you rest in peace.

Respectfully,

Morten Andersen

 

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