Assessing the Damage: Comparing Losing Streaks of the Gary Kubiak Era
Say what you will about Gary Kubiak the head coach, but Gary Kubiak the person seems to be a genuinely nice man. All stories behind the scenes point to that, and every player of his I've ever spoken with, past and present, seem to have a sincere admiration, if not adoration, for the man they call Kubes.
Photo by Groovehouse More evidence this is not the guy.
So it pains me, Bob McNair, that you've driven me to this.
It pains me that you're sending a sincerely nice human being, albeit one that is having his worst season in coaching, back into the ring against the furious fists of my evidence that he needs to be replaced and the organization needs to move on.
And yes, this is Kubiak's worst season as a head football coach, and it's really not up for debate.
I've written and discussed the indecisiveness with which he manages the team, and the specific instances of tactical conservativeness that have practically turned fans' malaise into outright anger, but today I'm going to get a little more statistical on your ass.
Don Banks of SI.com recently wrote an article which I thought did a nice job of outlining another unfortunate signature of the Gary Kubiak Era -- losing streaks of three or more games at some point in nearly every season.
In all but one season of his seven-plus as head coach of the Texans, Gary Kubiak has had at least one losing streak of three or more games, and in some seasons he's had two. Think about the slim margin for error in the NFL when it comes to competing for playoff spots. Three (or more) losses in a row can be (and have been, for the Texans) a season killer.
(Ironically, the only season in which Kubiak avoided a three game losing streak was the 12-4 season in 2012, but one could argue that season includes the most disappointing stretch of football in team history up until this current five game losing streak, the tail end of last season where the Texans had home field advantage and bye all but locked up and blew it by going 1-3 down the stretch.)
Banks does a perfect job of summing up what these losing streaks mean in a larger context about Kubiak's ability to inspire, manage, and lead:
"It's not breaking news, of course, that Kubiak is no Shula, and you could substitute the name of almost any other NFL head coach in that blank and make the same point. But this latest slump in Houston is not a new phenomenon. It's a near-annual event. Like the Astros losing 100-plus games, or 11 months of humidity.
"Even in those years Kubiak had his improving team chasing Peyton Manning and the Colts and striving to climb the ladder in the AFC South, the Texans showed the tendency to swoon, often failing to meet expectations. They were a chic team-on-the-rise pick by many in 2008-10, but in reality they were just a tease, going 8-8, 9-7 and 6-10 over that span, never winning the games that mattered most. Usually it was an ill-timed losing streak that did in Houston's playoff chances."