There’s going to be a game of “Cowboys and Indians” played in Kansas City on Sunday. The Houston Texans best not forget their hats.
The group of vaqueros that ride out of Houston these days have never been defeated in Kansas City Chiefs territory. However, a look back at the history of hat-bearing ranchers to gallop North out of South Texas leads to a different campfire story.
The Houston Oilers were coached by Bum Phillips in the late 70s. He was known for wearing his signature Stetson cowboy hat on the sideline during games, except when they were played in a dome. His mother had taught him it was unmannerly to wear a hat indoors.
Phillips and his ranch hands were pretty successful at fending off the Chiefs’ attack inside Arrowhead Stadium, as well. They lassoed and returned home with two victories under Bum in ’75 and ’78. Kansas City sent them away wounded in 1980, winning the last battle they’d have with Phillips on their turf by one sharp point.
The war wasn’t over, we’ll get to that in a bit…
Bum’s son, Wade Phillips, is also a cowboy of sorts. He was the hand in charge of the defensive front seven while riding with his father’s clan in Houston. Wade also spent four years of his own on the lead horse of the Dallas Cowboys from 2007-10. He’s back at the old family ranch now and coordinates the defense of the Texans. They’re the top-rated group in the NFL.
In 1981, Bum and his son mounted up and rode east out of the Lone Star State together. They settled in the bayou and took charge of a group known as The Cajun Kids. The kids had recently built a new rodeo arena in New Orleans and it had a roof.
This is where the final raid would occur. On Sept. 8, 1985, the Chiefs invaded the SuperDome and slaughtered the Phillips gang 47-27. As Bum was limping off the battlefield, a female member of the New Orleans Saints faithful congregation poured a beer on his head.
Wade ended up leading the team on an interim basis midway through that season. His father’s coaching career went boots up. When the Chiefs go 7-0 on Sunday, defeating the Texans for the first time on the open-air reservation, libations will be flying everywhere.
Phillips best not forget his hat.