Houston Texans owner Bob McNair received one of the three game balls handed out after the miracle 20-19, playoff-clinching, franchise-changing, last-second victory in Cincinnati Sunday. But it sounds like he'd almost rather give the ball to someone else.
To Gary Kubiak, the coach McNair refused to fire when everyone wanted the Texans' owner to start over. With McNair declining to bow to public opinion, Kubiak somehow survived a disastrous 6-10 season in 2010 — remember last year was supposed to be the season when Houston made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Kubiak lived to coach another day — and what a run of days it's been, seven straight wins leading to a 10-3 record and not just that long-awaited first playoff berth, but a AFC South division championship as well, one guaranteed home playoff game already and a chance to finish with the best record in the entire conference. So excuse a 74-year-old billionaire if he wants to gloat a little.
About his coach.
"A lot of people thought Gary Kubiak wasn't capable of coaching a winner," McNair said in a 610 AM radio interview in a jubilant visitor's locker room at Paul Brown Stadium. "I think we proved them wrong."
McNair is touting Kubiak for NFL Coach of the Year, but for a native Houstonian who used to be a ball boy for the Bum Phillips' Houston Oilers, it goes much deeper than any awards season. The 50-year-old Kubiak grew up five miles from what's now Reliant Stadium and he was a fixture at the Astrodome. Kubiak now has a winning record (47-46) for the first time as an NFL head coach too.