NEWARK, N.J. - Shaun Phillips is probably at the Super Bowl because of a fax machine, and it's only fitting — the Broncos' pass rusher couldn't live without his.
"Honestly, I send faxes probably once a week," Phillips said. "I know it's kind of boring. But I really enjoy sending faxes."
It's 2014 and the Broncos team leader in sacks is fax aficionado? Sure, that makes sense.
"For some reason, I think it's amazing that you can send something through and scan it through to someone else," Phillips said. He added that he uses his fax machines for "random things, business things," for the businesses that he owns.
"I have an actual fax machine," Phillips said. "I own a fax machine."
It's probably safe to say that the sort of mixup that led to the Broncos signing Phillips wouldn't have happened with him operating the fax machine.
What happened was, the agent for former Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil wasn't able to fax his client's signed contract to the Broncos in time to meet a league deadline back in the spring, and the team was forced to cut its best pass rusher, or be on the hook for $12 million.
They cut Dumervil, who later fired Marty Magid and joined with Tom Condon. Dumervil then landed a deal with Baltimore, leaving the Broncos with a big hole on defense.
The Broncos turned to Phillips, who spent nine seasons with the Chargers as a linebacker, though his job in San Diego was the same — get to the quarterback. The Broncos were suitably impressed, and the 32-year-old Phillips and Denver agreed on terms to a 1-year deal. There were no reported issues with delivering contracts by any method.
In fact, it's worked out well.
Phillips was dismayed to leave the organization that drafted him out of Purdue in 2004, but San Diego only wanted him to return as a backup.
In Denver, he found a role as a starter, and wound up with 10 sacks, only the third time he's reached double digits. He said he's learned from his teammates and improved as a player. And now here he is in the Super Bowl, in the state where he went to high school.
"This is where I started playing football. I didn't even touch a football until I was in ninth grade. I grew up in Philadelphia and when I moved to Jersey, that's when I first tried football. It's pretty much where it all started for me."
On Tuesday, at the cattle call known as Super Bowl media day, reporters came by Phillips' booth to ask him about playing the Super Bowl in his home state. They got an impromptu lesson in Garden State geography. East Rutherford is in the northern half of the state, which is oriented toward New York. Phillips grew up in Willingboro, a Philly suburb in the southern half. The two don't really mix.
"It's two different places," Phillips said.
Phillips had a good chance not to be here. When he figured he would have to move on from the Chargers, Phillips expected to sign with the Texans.
"Houston really wanted me and they showed a lot of interest," Phillips said. "Obviously, Houston had a bad year, but they're a really good team. It was between these two teams and luckily I made the right choice."
Even if he had a little help. The facsimile fiasco was the precipitating event that brought him to Denver, and now the Super Bowl, right?
"It probably is the reason that I'm here," Phillips said. "I sit back and think about it sometimes but again, everything happens for a reason and it was meant for me to be here."