Super Bowl 50 was played last night and there were more than a few surprised faces over the outcome. The upstart Denver Broncos using a lights-out defense crushed the seemingly invincible Carolina Panthers’ juggernaut. What may be even more surprising than the score were the two opposing head coaches. One is just two years removed from a dreadful eleven game losing streak in Houston and the other just three years from a make-it-or-break-it campaign that might have sent him back to assistant coaching.
Gary Kubiak had been at the Texans helm for almost eight years. During that time he had won 61 and lost 64 for a winning percentage of under 50%. He had been to the playoffs twice. As a laid back local Houstonian, it seemed that owner Bob McNair would never run out of patience with Gary. In fact, it took eleven straight losses in 2013 after a 12-4 season the previous year to send him on his way. Ironically, deserving 2015 Assistant Coach of the Year, Wade Phillips, took over for Gary at the tail end of the season and managed to extend the losing streak to 14. Gary immediately caught on with the Ravens as Offensive Coordinator in 2014 until old buddy John Elway brought him to Denver this year. He performed masterfully winning it all, and even though he inherited perhaps the best quarterback of all time in Peyton Manning, who truthfully as a tired old veteran was hardly himself.
Ron Rivera stumbled out of the blocks in Carolina winning only 43% of this games in his first two years. Then he raised expectations to new heights with a superb 12-4 record in 2013, but stubbed his toe in 2014 at a miserable 7-8-1. Gary Kubiak had done the same thing when he went 12-4 before 2-11-out in Houston. Rivera’s job may have only been saved by the fact that somehow he still made the playoffs and even won a game. Of course, this year his team went nuts at 15-1 and on to the big dance.
When we analyze coaching performance, we calculate a Coaching Achievement Scoring Hierarchy (“CASH”) score which enables us to compare coaching proficiency among all NFL head coaches. When he last coached in 2013, Gary Kubiak’s 1,300 CASH score ranked him below average at 23rd out of the 32 active coaches. In one year his rating for 2015 jumped to 1,530 and 19th among active coaches. He is now among the top 35% of coaches who qualify for all time ranking. After 2014 Ron Rivera also ranked below average at 22nd of the 32 active coaches with a score of 1,492. His CASH score now after 2015 has leaped to 2,077 and 10th place among active coaches. CASH measures the career body of work by a coach and is much more sensitive between years early in a career. 1,000 to 1,100 generally is the deciding line between proficient and clueless.
Gary Kubiak seems to have been a slower learner who is maturing very gracefully. Rivera is on a faster track earlier. Oh, by the way, having the horses tends to make a big difference.
For more on how we rate head coaches visit our website- http://perfectprocoach.com .