Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips opens up about his star defence ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Phillips defence line have notched up some astonishing numbers for the season and are ranked number one in total defence (283.1 yards), number one in pass defence (199.6), number one in sacks (52), number three against the run (83.6), number four in scoring (18.5) and number three in defensive touchdowns (5).
“You’ve got to rate them pretty high,” Phillips told ESPN of his charges.
“It’s up to everybody to determine that; it depends how we play, obviously. You don’t hardly ever lead the league in almost every category. And even rushing, we were third but we gave up the least yards per carry in the league — we were 3.3, so we almost literally led the league in every important category.”
John Elway, Broncos general manager and executive vice president of football operations, echoes Phillips’ sentiments.
“I know for us, I wasn’t here in 1977, but it compares to that 1977 Broncos defence,” added Elway.
“I’m not going to say it’s better, but it’s the best I’ve ever seen with the way they play and with the speed they play. They’ve given us a shot all year and we are here because of them.”
There have been a few nicknames for the defence passed around, though none have stuck.
The ‘No Fly Zone’, ‘Orange Rush’ and ‘Kool and the Gang’ have all done the rounds, but linebacker DeMarcus Ware believes they have to win on Sunday before any one of them becomes official.
“I don’t know what our nickname is yet,” said Ware.
“We hadn’t said anything about the nickname of our defence yet, we just know who we are. Ray Lewis asked me, ‘Do you guys think you are great?’ We don’t think that we are great. We’re good enough and played good enough each season.
“To be great, you have to end the season at number one, but you also have to be the winning defence in the Super Bowl. That’s when you can give yourself a nickname.”