Gary Kubiak became the Denver Broncos newest Head Coach in 2015 following the departure of John Fox to the Chicago Bears.
After spending 1-year as John Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, John Elway and the Denver Broncos front-office decided to go with Gary Kubiak to helm the team for the foreseeable future. They felt that Kubiak’s history as a quarterback would help Peyton Manning, and would make the team more offense oriented. They also felt that their new head coach would foster a changed locker room from the one that existed when John Fox was in charge.
Though it was widely thought that Gary Kubiak’s presence would help the Broncos offense improve even more, it was the defense that has excelled under his administration. Gary Kubiak decided to reunite with Wade Philips, his defensive coordinator from 2011-2013 during his 8 year tenure as head coach of the Houston Texans.
Wade Philips went from unemployed to a Super Bowl champion, leading a historically good defense that propelled the Denver Broncos to a win this past Sunday. It’s amazing how the defense was the side of the ball that excelled, rather than the offense. Even when dealing with an inconsistent and sometimes beleaguered offense, Gary Kubiak and his staff kept their team winning.
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Amidst a career worst season for Peyton Manning, Gary Kubiak stuck with his veteran quarterback. After Manning went down in November with plantar fasciatis and Brock Osweiler took the reigns of the offense, the Denver Broncos continued to overcome adversity under Kubiak’s leadership, securing the top seed in the AFC going into the postseason.
With the return of Peyton Manning, Gary Kubiak deftly dealt with the quarterback controversy that ensued. As reports came in that Manning was not happy with the potential of suiting up as a backup quarterback behind Brock Osweiler, Gary Kubiak did not acquiesce to the pressure of the media, handling the situation with grace and aplomb.
While other head coaches may have succumbed to other external pressures during a crisis such as that, Gary Kubiak’s leadership and composure helped the team avoid an unwanted distraction entering the most important period of their season. In his second tenure as a head coach, this season showed the growth of Gary Kubiak, and the personality he brought to this team.
Not many people (myself included) did not expect for the Denver Broncos’ new head coach to win a Super Bowl in his first season. Of course, I’m sure it was an expectation of the front-office knowing that Peyton Manning is in the twilight of his career; but to the average fan, getting to a Super Bowl and let alone winning an NFL Championship was an unexpected surprise in Gary Kubiak’s first season.
Will the Denver Broncos repeat as NFL Champions next season? Who knows. Will the defense excel as they did in 2015? Perhaps. Will Peyton Manning retire? Probably. Regardless of the uncertainties entering the 2016 season, Gary Kubiak really did trample every expectation this season, and has the potential to bring more championships to the city of Denver.