Kubiak calls the shots, through unity and inspiration

Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:12pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - Calling the shots is something Gary Kubiak has been doing superbly for over three decades, first as a quarterback for the Denver Broncos and then in various coaching positions for multiple teams.

He has taken part in six Super Bowls, losing three as a player with the Broncos and winning three as an assistant coach -- first with the San Francisco 49ers and then with the Broncos.

Now back in Denver as head coach, Kubiak, 54, will have a crack at another Super Bowl -- the 50th edition -- in Santa Clara, California on Feb. 7 when he will try to mastermind a victory over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

As he has been doing ever since he returned to Denver in early 2015, a little over a year after he was fired during his eighth season as head coach with the Houston Texans, Kubiak has led by example with an emphasis on team unity.

Kubiak introduced a Broncos tradition, which he described as 'Wise Words', whereby any player or coach in the organization could end a team practice by uttering a short prepared statement of advice or encouragement.

In setting the tone, Kubiak came up with just five words that had a remarkably positive effect in the team's locker room: "Life is fair -- keep working."

According to Broncos insiders, one of the players later said of Kubiak's statement: "It was brilliant, so simple but so impacting. I think it's something that you see in our team's play and attitude."

While future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning is widely perceived to call the shots on the field for the Broncos, the players themselves accept that Kubiak has taken full ownership of the team.   Continued...

Jan 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak greets fans in the stands after defeating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports