Wade Phillips’ Coaching Career is Similar to…?

Pro-Football-Reference has a page that allows users to sort through coaching records, including playoff wins, champions, and so forth. According to this list, a total of 80 coaches have coached at least four playoff games during their career. Among those 80 coaches, Dallas coach Wade Phillips’ career record of 1-5 is tied for 78th in terms of winning percentage.

Wade Phillips and Jack Pardee both have 1-5 career playoff records.

The other coach with a 1-5 playoff record? Um, that would be former Chicago, Washington, and Houston coach Jack Pardee. That doesn’t bode well for Wade.

Pardee was Walter Payton’s first coach in Chicago. He led the Bears to the playoffs in 1977, but Chicago was blown out by the Cowboys. Pardee then had a rift with management in Chicago (here is an article on Google), and in 1978, Pardee wound up in Washington. He was the coach who led the Redskins to a 10-6 record in 1979 but lost to the Cowboys in the final week of the regular season when Roger Staubach pulled out his final miracle. In three years in Washington, Pardee never led the Redskins to the playoffs.

(Two years after Pardee left Washington, the Redskins won their first Super Bowl title. You might recall that the Broncos won a Super Bowl title two years after Phillips was replaced by Mike Shanahan in Denver.)

During the 1980s, Pardee wound up coaching in the USFL and then at the University of Houston. Ten years after leaving Washington, he was hired by the Houston Oilers and installed the run-and-shoot offense featuring Warren Moon. Pardee recorded his only playoff win in 1991 when the Oilers beat the Jets in the wildcard round of the AFC playoffs. However, the Oilers blew a 21-6 lead and lost the Broncos in the divisional round. One year later, the Oilers had a 35-3 lead at Buffalo but fell apart and lost 41-38.

(Completely trivial, of course, but Phillips first two permanent head coaching jobs were with the Broncos and Bills).

Pardee led the Oilers to another division title in 1993, but Houston lost to Joe Montana and the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs. In 1994, Houston started at 1-9, and Pardee resigned.

Here is the comparison of the careers:

Jack Pardee

Permanent NFL head coaching jobs: 3
Overall record: 87-77 (.530)
Total seasons: 11
Seasons above .500: 6
Playoff record: 1-5
Notable losses:

  • With the Bears, a blowout loss to the Cowboys in the 1977 playoffs.
  • With the Redskins, a 35-34 loss to the Cowboys that cost Washington a division title and a playoff berth.
  • With the Oilers, gave up a 21-6 lead to the Broncos in a 26-24 loss.
  • With the Oilers, gave up a 35-3 lead to the Bills in a 41-38 loss.
  • With the Oilers, lost to an aging Joe Montana, who left join the Chiefs after many years in San Francisco and led Kansas City to a championship game appearance.

Wade Phillips

Permanent NFL head coaching jobs: 3
Overall record: 81-54 (.600)
Total seasons: 10
Seasons above .500: 6
Playoff record: 1-5
Notable losses:

  • With the Broncos, couldn’t stop Napoleon McCallum or Jeff Hostetler in a 42-24 loss.
  • With the Bills, appeared to have beaten the Tennessee Titans, but the Titans used a controversial lateral on the kickoff return to score and win the game.
  • With the Cowboys, lost a first-half lead to the Giants, and the Cowboys could not manage a comeback in a 21-17 loss.
  • With the Cowboys, suffered a 44-6 blowout loss to the Eagles that cost the Cowboys a playoff berth.
  • With the Cowboys, lost to an aging Brett Favre, who left join the Vikings after many years in Green Bay (with a stop-off in New York, of course) and led Minnesota to a championship game appearance.

* * *

The only coach on the list who never won a playoff game after having at least four appearances is Jim Mora, Sr.

In 15 seasons, Mora went 125-106 (.541) and led his two teams to the playoffs six times. He went 0-6.

His two teams? That would be Super Bowl XLIV participants New Orleans and Indianapolis.