Gary Kubiak has found his way home.
The place he’s called home for over 20 years of his life. With the team he’s found the paramount of success and the extreme of defeat. With the man who was his teammate, quarterback (as a coach), roommate and best friend. The guy who has orange in his blood.
As Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported Sunday night, Kubiak has a four-year deal to become the Denver Broncos head coach and be introduced as soon as Tuesday at Dove Valley. Kubiak will become the 15th coach in Broncos history.
After the shellacking the Indianapolis Colts took at the hands of the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, this was the best news for Broncos Country. As fans across the country saw, when coaches focus on the game at hand and not leak stories to reporters and try to get their next job, that’s the result.
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Denver should have never lost to the Colts. Period. But that’s a story for a different time. Broncos Country and the Broncos can erase John Fox from memories for good.
John Elway was able to get the guy he wanted four years ago. It’s the coach he’s wanted all along. It couldn’t work four years ago since Kubiak was the head coach of the Houston Texans. But when Denver cashed it in against Indianapolis, this was the result everyone knew and expected to happen.
With matches like this, you just know. This is about more than executive vice president and head coach. This is more than just a football team playing a game. This is about friendship. This is about trust.
This is what makes Broncos Country more than a phrase or place, but a way of life. It’s because of moments like this.
With Kubiak becoming the head coach, expect Rick Dennison to come home as well as offensive coordinator. Like Kubiak, Dennison played with the Broncos (1982-90). Dennison also coached in Denver (1995-2009). He has Broncos blood in his veins.
Just as Kubiak does.
Jan 13, 2015; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway speaks to the media at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
And that’s what it’s all about. Fox and Jack Del Rio showed their true colors. They weren’t Broncos. It never felt right, despite division titles and one AFC title game win.
That’s not the case with Kubiak and Dennison. What remains to be seen is who Kubiak brings as his defensive coordinator. With assistant coaches getting picked up, he’ll have to make his decision quick (if he doesn’t know already).
The other big question, for some, is whether Peyton Manning will come back. It’s a completely different system and Manning doesn’t like change, they say. Nonsense. Both are professionals, and my guess is Kubiak can and will adjust his offense to work with Manning.
What’s not a question is the Broncos running game will finally be a threat. As offensive coordinator, Kubiak took the Baltimore Ravens from 30th in the NFL in rushing to eighth. Joe Flacco went from being sacked 48 times to 19. The Ravens also scored the franchise record for points. Kubiak also did that with Dennsion and Brian Pariani (who is expected to be the tight ends coach).
For those who say he didn’t have success in Houston … As longtime NFL writer John McClain at the Houston Chronicle put on Twitter, Kubiak took 2-14 team with little talent and went 6-10. Throw out the first and last season records and he was 55-44 over six years and two division titles.
Kubiak’s success speaks for itself. In 31 seasons as a player or coach, he has been part of 17 playoff teams, 12 division titles, eight conference championship games, six Super Bowls and win Super Bowl wins.
As a bridge, I would expect Greg Knapp to stay on as quarterbacks coach, as he has the last two years for Manning.
But that’s all for another time and day. This is about Elway getting his man. The guy he wanted four years ago. The guy he trusts. Has all the qualities he wants. But more importantly, is a Bronco.
Welcome home, Kubiak. It’s great to have you back in Broncos Country where you always have belonged.
Aug 16, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak on the sidelines during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Baltimore beat Dallas 37-30. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports