Quote of the Day

The late Bum Phillips said this in praise of an opposing football coach (maybe Shula, maybe Bryant):

He can take his’n and beat your’n. Or he can take your’n and beat his’n.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

16 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. Bum Phillips died Friday at the age of 90. I lost interest in pro football quite a while ago, but I still feel sad today because one of the good guys in football for a long time is gone now.

    Ironically, Bud Adams died just today, also at the age of 90. Adams was the anti-Phillips. In the inimitable, and totally accurate, words of Wikipedia, Adams was “a huge asshole.” After his Oilers had lost in the NFL playoffs for the third consecutive year to the team that went on to win the Super Bowl, Adams fired Phillips, saying (as best I can recall) “I just think it’s time for us to go in a new direction.” New direction my butt. Phillips gave him the second best team in the NFL, consistently, year after year. To me, that lunacy was matched only by the Yankees firing Yogi after losing a nail-biter seven game World Series to the Cardinals. What an idiot!

  2. As Bum himself said “There are two kinds of football coaches. Those who’ve been fired and those who will be fired”.

  3. My favorite Bum Phillips story:

    Another coach in the old AFL, Sid Gillman, was telling Bum how much he loved his job. He was saying that he stayed up all night watching game film. He loved seeing the little things that each player did, and making adjustments to counter them, like in a chess game. He loved knowing more about the other team than the other team’s coach did. He finally said “I love watching game film even more than I like making love”.

    To which Bum replied: “either I don’t know how to watch film or you don’t know how to make love”.

  4. In case anyone else was wondering, I wanted to know what word “his’n” and “your’n” were contractions of. It is “his own” and “your own”. I suppose my’n, her’n, our’n, its’n, and their’n also exist someplace?

        1. Google is the way I found the answer. Before that I had no idea what word the ‘n stood for. This wasn’t used by people I’ve lived around, nor taught in school.

      1. I’m from California, currently living in New Mexico. I’ve never heard a living person say “his’n”. I’ve heard some old Cowboy actors in films say stuff like that, but it never really occurred to me to figure out what the heck it meant. So I googled it and shared the result for those puzzled like myself by this odd construction.

        1. The lyrics of the song ‘High Noon’, from the movie: “He made a vow while in state prison, Vowed it would be my life or his’n”. So yes, cowboys. I haven’t spent any serious time in the part of the country that was ever inhabited by such types, so I can’t say how much the expression has survived them, but it does not come as a surprise. OTOH I would have guessed ‘his one’ not ‘his own’ for an expanded version.

  5. Many sources give the African-American coach Alonzo Smith “Jake” Gaither the original credit for that line, in reference to Bear Bryant, supposedly 50 years ago when Phillips was not well known. See here — http://www.salon.com/news/sports/col/kaufman/2005/05/26/thursday/index1.html#bryant — for the best source I could find. It is a familiar enough line, however, that even if it were to turn out that Phillips did use it without having originated it, he could easily have assumed that a football-savvy audience would recognize it as a classic compliment to a good old boy foo-baw coach.

  6. My favorite was his response when a reporter asked him if he thought Earl Campbell was in a class by himself (Campbell was the superstar running back for the Bum’s Oilers). “I don’t know,” Bum said, “but whatever class he’s in, it don’t take too long to call the roll.”

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