Wade Phillips has been around the NFL long enough to know he should ignore Tom Brady’s naysayers.

The Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator praised the New England Patriots quarterback to the hilt Sunday, just one week before their teams face off in Atlanta in Super Bowl LIII. Phillips, 71, started his salute to Brady, 41, with a wisecrack about their respective ages before expanding on what impresses him most about the legendary signal caller.

“Well, unfortunately for me, I get older, but Tom Brady doesn’t,” Phillips said, per ProFootballTalk. “Besides the guy being a great player, I just have so much respect for him. He seems like such — now, I don’t know him well — but, he has so much class. He says all the right things all the time — the right kind of guy. He’s leading the league in passing in the playoffs, and he’s already won four (Super Bowl) MVPs (and three league MVPs), so I don’t know if there’s any critics of him. If there are, I’d like to critique them.”

However, don’t interpret Phillips’ praise for Brady as a dulling of his competitive edge. Phillips was the Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016 when they beat Brady’s Patriots twice in three meetings, including in the 2015 AFC Championship Game.

We shouldn’t expect Super Bowl LIII to be the last Brady-Phillips bout. Brady has said in recent days he has no intention of retiring after Super Bowl LIII.

And Phillips seems to be enjoying his time with this fine Rams team to walk away from the NFL sidelines after 43-plus years.

Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images