Three weeks ago, the Baltimore Ravens made what is sure to be their biggest acquisition of the off-season in the signing of Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak. Today we will be taking a look at the Offensive mastermind who has engineered several of the best Offensives in the history of the NFL during his career, and the man who is faced with the task of turning the Ravens O into a high-scoring machine in 2014 and beyond.
The 53-year-old Kubiak is a native of Houston, Texas and graduated from St.Pius X High School, where he earned All-State honors in Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Track. As the Panthers QB, Kubiak set a then-state record with 6,190 passing yards and went on to accept a scholarship from Texas A&M. (Note- Kubiak was elected to the Texas HS Hall of Fame in 1999)
After earning 1st team All-SouthWest Conference honors as a Senior in 1982, leading the SWC in yards (1,948) and TD’s (19), Kubiak was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 8th round (197th Overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft. Kubiak ended his career in College Station with 4,078 yards (11th in school history) and 31 TD’s (7th in school history) along with a 12-11 record as a starter (’81-’82) and won his only career bowl game, a 33-16 Win over Oklahoma State in the 1981 Independence Bowl.
Kubiak played his entire nine year career (1983-1991) with the Denver Broncos. While serving as John Elway’s back-up his whole career, Kubiak retired with 1,920 yards on 173/298 passing (58.1%), 14 TD’s, 16 INT’s and a 70.6 QB Rating in 119 career games (5 starts, 3-2 career record).
After his NFL career, Kubiak jumped right into coaching and went back to his alma mater to be the RB’s coach at Texas A&M. In his two years in College Station (1992-93), the Aggies were ranked in the top 10 nationally and won the SWC title in both seasons, and ironically lost in the Cotton Bowl to powerhouse Notre Dame (Coached by the legendary Lou Holtz) in both seasons.
Worth noting, the top two RB’s under Kubiak at A&M went on to have careers in the NFL.The most notable was Greg Hill, who was a 1st round pick (25th Overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1994 NFL Draft and played four of his six NFL seasons with KC while having a solid career as Marcus Allen’s sidekick. Hill finished his career with 3,218 yards and 12 TD’s. Rodney Thomas also had a solid career after being a 3rd round pick by the then Houston Oilers in the 1995 Draft. Thomas spent six of his seven NFL seasons with the Titans franchise and totaled 1,973 career yards and 12 TD’s, mostly as the back-up to Eddie George.
In 1994, Kubiak left College Station and joined the San Francisco 49ers as the team’s QB coach, working with Steve Young and a 24-year-old Elvis Grbac. It was under Kubiak that Young would go on to have an amazing year in ’94, completing 324 of 461 passes (70.3%- Led NFL) for 3,969 yards to go along with 35 TD’s (Most in NFL), 10 picks, and a sparkling 112.8 QB Rating (Led NFL). Young won his 2nd NFL MVP trophy following his remarkable season, and capped it off with a 49-26 thrashing of the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX, throwing for a Super Bowl record six TD passes en route to winning his first and only SB MVP award.
After then-49ers OC Mike Shanahan was hired as the Denver Broncos head coach in 1995, Kubiak went back to where he played his entire NFL career to run the offense and went on to be the mastermind of one of the most potent offensive units in the NFL during his 11-year tenure as the Broncos OC from 1995-2005 which featured All-Pro (And some eventual HOF) players such as QB John Elway, TE Shannon Sharpe, RB Terrell Davis, OT Gary Zimmerman, OG Mark Schlereth, C Tom Nalen, WR Rod Smith and WR Ed McCaffrey.
During that span, the Broncos put up the most yards (66,501) and TD’s (465) in the NFL. In Kubiak’s 11 years of running the Offense in Denver, the Broncos won three division titles, made the playoffs seven times and most importantly, won back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998. Here’s a list of Kubiak’s other Offensive accomplishments in Denver from 1995-2005:
- Led the NFL in total yards in 1996 and 1997 while finishing in the top 5 in the total yards category in eight of his eleven seasons.
- Led the NFL in points in 1997 while his high-scoring Broncos finished in the top 10 in points scored in ten of eleven seasons.
- The Broncos finished in the top 5 in Rushing Offense in nine of Kubiak’s eleven seasons and led the league in rushing yards in 1996 and led the NFL in rushing TD’s in 1998.
- The Broncos also featured a top 10 Passing Offense in six of his eleven seasons. With Shanahan and Kubiak, HOF QB John Elway had the best run of his career during the last four years of his career from 1995-1998. During that span, Elway threw for 101 TD’s (2nd most behind Brett Favre) along with 13,379 yards and ended his career with back-to-back Super Bowl Championships in 1997 and 1998 ( Also was the SB MVP in 1998).
- From 1995-2005, the Broncos had a Running Back go for 1000+ yards on the ground in ten of Kubiak’s eleven seasons. Also during that span, the Broncos totaled 25,022 yards on the ground, most in the NFL during that time frame.
Kubiak was then hired as the Houston Texans Head Coach in 2006, and turned the Texans from one of the biggest laughing stocks in the NFL into a legitimate title contender. In his eight seasons in his hometown (2006-2013), Kubiak compiled a 61-64 career record (2-2 in the playoffs) and won two AFC South division titles (2011 and 2012). Here’s a full list of Kubiak’s achievements in Houston:
- His 61 Wins is the most in Texans franchise history. His best season came in 2012, when the Texans won a franchise record 12 games.
- Kubiak was the Head Coach for some of the Texans biggest franchise firsts, such as the Texans first .500+ season, when they went 9-7 in 2009, and their first division title (2011). Also in 2011, the Texans recorded their first playoff win in franchise history, when Kubiak’s Texans beat the Bengals 31-10 in Houston. (Note- They lost to the Ravens by a score of 20-13 in the divisional round).
- The following year in 2012, the Texans beat the Bengals (again) in the Wildcard round, making it the first time a Houston franchise has won a playoff game in back-to-back seasons in the city’s 53 year history in the NFL.
- Kubiak coached the Texans All-Time franchise record holders in passing yards ( QB Matt Schaub- 23,221), rushing yards (RB Arian Foster- 5,063 yards), receiving yards ( WR Andre Johnson-12,661 yards), sacks ( DE Mario Williams-53), interceptions ( CB Dunta Robinson-13), and tackles (LB DeMeco Ryans-482). He also coached several other Pro-Bowlers in Houston, such as DE JJ Watt (2012 DPOY), TE Owen Daniels, current Ravens FB Vonta Leach, and LB Brian Cushing (2009 DROY).
- QB Matt Schaub had an excellent run as Kubiak’s signal caller. Not only did the 2-Time Pro Bowler end up holding the franchise mark in passing yards and passing TD’s (124), he also led the NFL in yards in 2009 (4,770) and passed for over 4,000 yards in three seasons (2009-2010,2012).
- Kubiak turned the Houston Offense into a high-flying, high-scoring machine during his tenure, as the Texans finished in the top 5 in total yards from 2008-2010 and in the top 10 in scoring from 2009-2012.
Kubiak’s Texans also featured a well-balanced attack that finished in the top 5 in passing offense from 2008-2010 and top 10 in rushing offense from 2010-2012.
Such an accomplished career already, and Kubiak’s legend could continue to grow if he turns the Ravens offensive attack into something it has always had the potential to be — a dynamic, high-scoring machine.