Not only are those two legendary Broncos figures cherished by the fans of the team, but they’re beloved by each other as well.
After the Broncos’ 2015 Super Bowl-winning defense was named as the best unit of the decade by Pro Football Focus, Mecklenburg and Phillips exchanged compliments on Twitter that showed off the respect and admiration shared between the two.
You’re the Best ILB – pass rusher combo I ever coached— no one else has ever come close to having that kind of talent !
— Wade Phillips (@sonofbum) June 29, 2020
Considering the number of players Phillips has coached throughout his 41 years in the league, being called, ‘the best inside linebacker-pass rusher combo he’s ever coached’ is quite the compliment. Especially when Phillips adds that it’s not even close.
Phillips compliment is backed up by the numbers too.
During his time with the Broncos, Mecklenburg went to six Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro four times. Also, despite not playing on the edge, he managed to record the third-most sacks in Broncos history with 79.5. Only two other Broncos have recorded four sacks in a single game, and Mecklenburg is the only player in franchise history to accomplish that feat twice.
It’s also worth noting that Mecklenburg’s love for playing under Phillips isn’t unique or an outlier by any means. Almost every defensive player to play for him has a soft spot in their heart for the master defensive coordinator, and you can find similar quotes from Von Miller to Aqib Talib and just about everyone in between.
It’s great to see that the love shared between Phillips and his players has lasted so long after the two last worked together.