Following a video tribute to Bum Phillips, who coached the Oilers from 1975 to 1980, the service was hosted by former Oilers tight end Mike Barber, who now ministers to prison inmates.
He says he wasn’t surprised by the huge turnout.
“This is because Bum Phillips was the real deal. He loved everybody. He had time for everybody, and anybody that he was talking to walked away feeling like a somebody. And that’s why you have this crowd here tonight.”
Offensive lineman David Carter agreed.
“I’m not surprised at the turnout. We’ve got guys from all over the country that have flown in for this thing. That’s how much Bum meant to all of us, and that’s how special this whole ‘Luv Ya Blue’ thing was. It was just a mesh of the economy in Houston, Bum being a Good Old Boy, and the people of Houston getting behind us, and it all culminated into a pretty sweet situation. Fortunately, we played some good football and we just couldn’t get by those damn Steelers.”
Twice Phillips’ Oilers had to battle the Pittsburgh Steelers for a berth in the Super Bowl, and both times they came up short. After each loss, the team came home to more than 40,000 cheering fans at the Astrodome.
Linebacker Robert Brazille said it made him sad to know he’s not here, but vowed to keep his memory alive.
“The one thing that I learned from Bum, that it’s my job now, to be there for others, just as he was for me and my family.”
Phillips spent a lot of time in his last years around the Houston Texans football team after his son Wade was hired as an assistant coach.