Experiencing the “Music City Miracle” from the losing sideline back in the 1999 playoffs was excruciating enough for Wade Phillips.
So when a referee crew brought up the historical play in a visit to the Buffalo Bills‘ facility the following year, pointing it out as an example of good NFL officiating, the then-Bills head coach was understandably upset.
As Phillips recalled in his new book, entitled “Son of Bum,” he promptly told the crew to leave.
An excerpt, via Pro Football Talk:
All of a sudden, one of the first plays to appear on the screen was the ‘Music City Mistake.’ They didn’t just show the play, but they also said it was an example of ‘why we’ve got good officiating’ in the NFL. I couldn’t believe it. None of us could. …
That really made me mad. Every coach in that room was fuming. As far as I was concerned, our meeting was over. ‘Turn it off!’ I said. ‘We don’t want to see that. First of all, it’s wrong. And for you to sit there and say it’s right is wrong. You need to get out of here right now.’
The play in question, which allowed the Tennessee Titans to knock off Phillips’ Bills as time expired in a wild-card matchup that followed the 1999 season, remains among the most controversial in NFL history.
Phillips is convinced that the officials didn’t overturn the call – and instead ruled that the Frank Wycheck lateral was actually an illegal forward pass – because “they probably thought they would have gotten lynched” by the home Titans crowd.
Unfortunately for Bills fans, the devastating loss would be the club’s last taste of postseason action before a lengthy drought.
Buffalo is still looking for its first playoff berth now 17 seasons later.
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