Growing up, an invaluable piece of advice was offered to me by my father. “Play dumb,” he told me, “To get yourself out of a bad situation, you don’t have to admit you know more than someone thinks you do. Let them think you don’t know what’s going on and use it to your advantage. Just play dumb.”
It works like a charm too. “I’m sorry, I thought I was invited to this meeting… well since I’m already here this is what I think.”
According to former employees, Wade Phillips is a master of this Zen art. They are calling him “dumb like a fox” and not the “bumbling, silver-haired uncle he’s often portrayed as by the media.”
Generally, the dumb act can only last so long, because if you do it right eventually you tip your hand to take advantage of the situation. I’ve yet to see Phillips perform part B of the equation. At some point, without results, playing dumb becomes just plain dumb.