For his first hurrah as the new head coach of the New Orleans Saints, O.A. (Bum) Phillips had a quip for the several hundred reporters, 47 assorted microphones, and 10 television cameras today at a news conference in the Stadium Club at the Superdome.
"this is not my idea of a proper way to come to the Super Bowl." he said after John Mecom Jr., owner of the Saints, announced that Phillips was that Phillips was signed to a five-year contract and given total control. Phillips will not have the title of general manager, but will have the authority and responsibilities that usually go with that job, Mecom said.
Mecom noted that Phillips was the first of eight coaches he has hired "without a lot of outside advice."
"the five years was my idea," Phillips said, "if I can't do it in five years I'll get out; I made it in six at Houston. I'm in control of my own destiny."
Helping him shape that destiny will be his son Wade, one of Phillips' assistants in Houston. Phillips said he has hired Wade as defensive coordinator and has been granted permission to speak with three other Oiler assistants about jobs.
One of the assistants Phillips wants to talk to is Joe Bugel, offensive line coach in Houston who has been offered the same position with the Redskins.
Phillips said he will not have an offensive coordinator.
"the Saints are better than people thought they were. They had offensive; Tony Galbreath used to give us fits when I was at Houston. I can't take five years; I've got to do something right away. The Saints were good enough to be 8-8 a year ago; there must be some good players here. And you don't have to say a hell of a lot to a 1-15 team."
Phillips ended speculation that the club might trade its leader, when he said, "Archie Manning is still the Saints' quarterback."