I wouldn't be on this message board today (or any day) if it wasn't for Bum Phillips. I literally owe my love and passion for the sport to Bum Phillips.
As a lad growing up in NJ, baseball was my passion. I played it, ate it, watched it, and and lived it 24/7. The Phillies were my team. Yes, I did watch some football too, some bigger Eagles games. I have memories of my Dad and I watching a couple of Super Bowls, but I had no passion for the sport.
My parents moved me to NJ in early 1978. I believe I was 14. Earl was drafted within a couple weeks of me moving here. I remember kids talking about it at school, although I didn't really have any real friends yet. Then training camp came, and I watched the news and saw Bum on there, and he just seemed bigger than life. I was smitten.
By the time the next school year started, it was Luv ya Blue fever at my school. That got me to start watching it more carefully. Unlike in NJ where baseball is really popular, it quickly dawned on me that football was king.
But it was Bum that captivated me all those years ago. All his home spun sayings, the way he treated his players like family, the stories I heard, and just the general camaraderie of the teams back then just amazed me and it didn't take long to pull me deeply in love with Luv ya Blue. Sure Earl and others contributed, but it was Bum that really pulled me in completely.
I may have watched more football as I grew up naturally Bum or no Bum. It's more sophisticated, and a little harder for a youngster to understand easily. But there is no way I would have grown up to be the passionate fan I am without Bum Phillips.
I never met the man, but he had such an influence on me personally. I would literally be a different person if Bum Phillips was never born.
RIP Bum. You will be missed by many and I owe you a debt of gratitude.
Bravo sir on a life well lived.