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Wade Phillips, Denver Broncos defense continue to get no respect

It doesn't matter that the Broncos have the best defense in football and have had it all season. It doesn't matter that this defense can go down as one of the best in history. People think they'll get torched on Sunday.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Fans can't get enough of Wade Phillips.

Neither can his players or fellow coaches.

The "Son of Bum" is one of the most unique and special people in the NFL. He has fun. He enjoys every second of what he does, and that shows. He knows how fortunate he is; especially when you consider he was out of football last season.

You see that when he attempts to dance like Von Miller or he's "drippin'" with Aqib Talib.

Phillips allows his players to be who they are - on and off the field.

And the rare times Phillips gets on social media, he owns Twitter.

At the same time, he demands the best of his players. That's why the Denver Broncos have a league-best defense that has a chance to stamp its place in history with a win on Sunday in Super Bowl 50.

Fans love Phillips now, but when news broke a year ago he was the new defensive coordinator, they didn't. They wanted no part of him.

"He's a retread."

"He's too old."

"The game has passed him by."

"There's a reason he didn't coach this past season."

"The Broncos should have done whatever they could to get Vance Joseph. Or Jim Schwartz. Or Teryl Austin."

"He's not mean or nasty enough."

"He was a horrible head coach."

"He doesn't fit the scheme."

D'oh.

As I said a year ago, you can either coach or you can't. And Phillips can coach defense better than anyone.

He is one of the brightest defensive minds football has seen the last 30 years.

But that's not the only reason Gary Kubiak wanted Phillips. There's no doubt familiarity played into that since they worked together in Houston. It also goes back to Kubiak's playing days in Denver when Phillips was the defensive coordinator here.

This goes deeper than that.

This goes beyond that.

The reason this worked is because Phillips is a Bronco.

He knows what the organization is about. He knows what the goal is. He's lived it. He's breathed it. If you haven't been paying attention, the last two coaching staffs didn't get that. The expectations that come with being the head coach in Denver crushed them. One didn't get it or care, the other had one foot out the door and quit.

If Phillips wasn't a defensive genius, this wouldn't work. There's no way Kubiak would have considered Phillips for his defensive coordinator. But when you look at what Phillips did in Houston with a defense that is nowhere near the level of the Broncos, there's no wonder why Kubiak wanted him.

I said a year ago that Kubiak would be doing the Broncos a major disservice by not even talking with Phillips.

The results speak for themselves, and they have since Week 1 of the season.

Yet just like Phillips a year ago, it's not enough.

People still question this defense.

They still question Phillips.

It doesn't matter that the Broncos have the best defense in football and have all season.

People still question this defense. It doesn't matter that the Broncos have the best defense in football and have all season. It doesn't matter that this defense can go down as one of the best in history.

It doesn't matter that this defense can go down as one of the best in history.

It doesn't matter, in their most recent game, they shut down what most said was an unstoppable force in Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense.

When people do mention that performance, there's a rich caveat "Yeah, but ..."

Over the last week we have heard the same nonsense.

"This defense will get torched by Cam Newton and this Carolina Panthers offense."

"The Denver defense has no shot."

"It's going to be Super Bowl XLVIII, Part Deux."

At this point, this is old hat for Phillips and the Broncos' defense.

The Panthers will continue to play their "no one respects us" card, but that's akin to Bob Ross saying he couldn't paint a mountain. It doesn't pass the smell test, and it is a foul odor that only gets more rank.

"If they're at their best and we're at our best, we're going to win," Newton said this week.

A year ago, people doubted whether Phillips was good enough. If he could even do the job.

A year later, people are doing it again with his defense - as they have all season.

That's just the way Phillips and the Broncos want it.