What's It Gonna Take To Get Gary Kubiak Fired?
Photo by Mark C. Austin
Before the football season, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair supposedly said that anything short of the playoffs for the team would be unacceptable. I say supposedly because here we are, in January, at the end of another non-playoff season, and not only is Gary Kubiak still the coach, there's even talk of Kubiak being given a contract extension.
What kind of world is this where continued failure is continuously rewarded with work? Well, it's Houston, the home (Houston Rockets excepted) of owners and fans who think that being mediocre is good enough to for a person to keep a job. And frankly, I'm disgusted.
Who cares if the Texans finished with a winning record for the first time in team history? That's not really something to be celebrating because it shows just how damn bad this team has been. And instead of celebrating, maybe the fans should be demanding the head of the head coach and the general manager who, despite having a kicker who couldn't hit the side of a barn while standing an inch away, refused to bring in any kickers during the regular season to compete for the job. Who knows, maybe instead of bitching about the Indianapolis Colts preventing Peyton Manning from falling prey to a Wes Welker-type injury in a meaningless game, the players should be bitching because their coach couldn't be bothered to get a kicker who might be able to actually make an important kick against the Colts.
I know, Kris Brown is an original Texan. But that's what's wrong with Gary Kubiak, Rick Smith, and Bob McNair. They care more about things like original Texans than they do about really winning football games. When Joe Montana was having trouble during the later stage of his career, Bill Walsh didn't stick with him because he'd won his first Super Bowl with Montana as his QB, he went with Steve Young because Young gave the 49ers the best chance to win the game. Do you really think Walsh would have kept letting Kris Brown trot out to miss PATs because he was an original player? Hell no. Walsh would have had John Carney in town as soon as the Saints decided to go with Garrett Hartley.
But forget about Kris Brown. Can anybody really tell me what it is that Kubiak has done to preserve his job? The running game is just as bad now as it was when Kubiak took over. The entire team is still prone to the kind of stupid penalties that you don't see teams like the Colts and Patriots making on a weekly basis. Kubiak still hasn't shown a complete understanding of clock management, game preparation, or player motivation. And he still doesn't quite seem to grasp that the best Texan on the field isn't Matt Schaub, it's Andre Johnson.
Last month, the Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice trotted out a tired argument about how, after 60 games, Kubiak's record was about the same as the records after 60 games of Jimmy Johnson, Bill Belichick, and Jeff Fisher. So now I ask, is anybody going to trot the comparison of Kubiak to these guys after four full seasons? Well, I will. And let's see. Johnson had the Cowboys in the playoffs for the second straight season (they won the Super Bowl that year). Belichick had the Browns in the playoffs. And Fisher was getting his squad finally settled into Nashville and was getting ready to field a playoff team.
What do we have to show with Kubiak after four seasons? A team that has yet to reach the playoffs. A team that was 1-5 in division play -- and could easily have been 0-6. It's a team that played an easy schedule and struggled to win against some of the worst teams in football, and that next season will be playing the Colts, Jaguars and Titans twice each, the Jets, the Ravens, the Eagles, the Cowboys, the Chargers, the Giants, and the Broncos -- luckily, the NFL is going to let them play the Redskins and the Raiders. So just what is there to suggest that Kubiak will be able to make them a playoff team next year (I suppose that Texans fans can hope the NFL schedules the Colts for the last two games of the season and that, by then, the Colts have clinched a playoff berth and will be using the third-string QB).
So go ahead and throw the team a parade because they didn't suck as bad as they did last year. But maybe it's time for the fans to stop accepting mediocrity and force owners like McNair to actually care more about fielding a wining team than hugging original Texans like Kris Brown on the sidelines after they almost cost the team a game.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.