Zapruder Analysis of Bob McNair's Press Conference to Address the Firing of Gary Kubiak
0:07 -- "Good morning. This has been a very disappointing year for the Texans organization."
SP: So far, we agree on everything, Bob...
0:12 -- "We started out with such high hopes."
SP: Well, I had you under 10 1/2 wins, but I did have you winning the division, so "high hopes" may be a reach, but okay...
0:16 -- "We felt like that we had the best roster that we've ever started the year with and we really, really anticipated a very favorable outcome. To have this string of losses that we
sustained is just totally unacceptable and it's not what this organization is about."
SP: Hmmmm, maybe not 11 losses in a row, but the organization has hardly been covering the walls at Reliant in championship decor. Continue, kind sir....
0:39 -- "We're about winning and accountability."
SP: Okay, now stop right there. You're about winning, in that we ("we" being society) are all about winning, in that we all love to win. (Whether we all hate losing is a separate argument, for another time. Loving to win and hating to lose are not the same thing.) But throwing around the a-word. It's actually the complete lack of accountability that's gotten your organization into this mess. Eight years of below .500 performance, a special teams coach who's allowed to stay while his units rot to the core, a quarterback who gets a $62 million extension with exactly zero playoff wins and a year still left on his deal...these things are the opposite of accountability. If accountability is going to be the deal going forward, then I speak for Houston when I say "FANTASTIC!" But your using the word on Friday like it's been the standard is just not correct. Eight years of Kubiak. Checkmate, me.
1:02 -- "As a result of that, we felt that a change was needed in the head coach position. So Gary Kubiak is no longer the head coach and Wade Phillips will serve as the interim head coach. We'll evaluate the rest of the coaching staff."
SP: Not gonna lie, even though we all knew it was coming, it was still weird to finally hear these words come from Bob McNair's mouth. Continuing....
1:25 -- "We decided that one of the advantages of going ahead and taking action now rather than waiting is it allows us to start the process of finding a new head coach. And that process is under way and those prospects that are not under contract in the NFL are people that we can visit with. So we'll start this process immediately."
SP: This is neither here nor there, but one of the rhetorical questions that got repeated while the Texans' season slid into the toilet was "Why fire Gary Kubiak now? Let him finish out the year, right?" McNair's point on one of the benefits of doing it with three weeks still to go in the season actually puts the burden of proof on people defending keeping a coach through the remainder of the season if you know he's gone. Once December hits, you know which way the wind is blowing on a guy, especially one who's had as many chances as Kubiak. Get the process started, get a jump on candidates who you can speak to without tampering, move forward. Also, my guess is everyone else is sitting up a little straighter around the building today than they were on Friday morning. The unfocused will stick out like a sore thumb, football Darwinism is under way on Kirby, and while it's stressful for those involved, it's necessary for McNair and the decision makers.
2:55 -- "I want to thank Gary Kubiak. Gary, he has brought this team to a new level."
SP: Actually, he brought them to a new level (a barely upper middle class neighborhood in the city that is the NFL) and drove them right back to where they were before. Inherited a 2-14 team, leaves them a 2-11 team. In between, two playoff wins. Hardly soaring to new heights. Semantics, and I know the purpose of this press session is not to pile on Kubiak, but the "new level" he brought them to would be the basement for elite franchises.
3:04 -- "We've had two division championships. We've had some outstanding performance."
SP: I'm picturing the owners of teams who have actually accomplished significant milestones since 2002 -- Super Bowl wins, perennial playoff appearances -- lounging in a luxury home theater in leather recliners, sipping scotch, smoking cigars, and watching this press conference and cackling out loud at this quote.
3:10 -- "It's been a job that he has totally committed and he's put everything, his whole being into it. We couldn't ask for more out of anyone and it's very disappointing that he's not going to be with us in the future...."
SP: Yes, Kubiak worked hard. Every coach works hard. I personally hate when the whole "grinder/work ethic" thing gets brought up as a line of defense for Kubiak when that's a baseline requirement for the job. It's like lauding an attorney for having a college degree.
"I truly felt that he would be with us until it was time for him to retire."
SP: John Granato and I discussed "What's next for Gary Kubiak?" on our show last Friday, and Granato boldly predicted that Gary Kubiak actually was done coaching, that he would settle down on his ranch, live off the interest and that's that. I bring that up because if that's the case, then Kubiak did wind up with the Texans until it was time for him to retire. (For the record, if Kubiak's health issues are legit, Granato may be right.)