Dear Coach Kubiak,
It’s impossible to sum up in just a few paragraphs how much you have meant to the Denver Broncos. Or at least we thought it was. Then Von Miller wrote this classy and sincere farewell to you and made us look bad. We may as well be another helpless right tackle.
Quite frankly, you deserve a lot more than a letter from a couple of fans. As far as we’re concerned, you deserve the neverending gratitude from all of Broncos Country, and free meals at Elway’s for the rest of your life. That probably still wouldn’t be enough to thank you for all that you’ve done for this franchise and this community. A letter certainly isn’t enough.
But we’re going to try and do you justice, Coach Kube. You always gave us your best, so it’s only right that you receive as much from us.
You may have been more comfortable operating in the background, but most of our favorite memories of the Broncos involve you directly. Of course there were the back-to-back Super Bowls. Mike Shanahan got a lot of credit for being “The Mastermind” behind our offense that ran roughshod over the NFL during those two seasons, but listening to guys like Terrell Davis, Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith gush over you tells us that you were just as essential to our success. Do people realize that you were the one who discovered Davis and suggested to Shanahan that the Broncos should draft him? Do we win those Super Bowls without TD? No way. We probably don’t win without you, either.
Then there was the 2005 season, when the Broncos finally climbed back into Super Bowl contention after years of mediocrity. Led by a resurgent Jake Plummer (Jesse’s hero!) and yet another devastating running attack, you were two wins away from helping this city obtain its third Lombardi trophy. It just wasn’t meant to be that year. When you left for Houston, everything fell apart. Jake lost his confidence, Shanahan ditched him for Jay Cutler (ugh) and the offense was never the same, at least not until a guy named Peyton Manning came along. He was pretty good!
But it was your return in 2015 that we will ultimately cherish the most. After three straight years of abysmal playoff failures, it was clear that the Broncos needed a coach who could get them over the hump. Thank goodness that John Elway called you and that you picked up the phone. It couldn’t have been easy to persevere through all the adversity you faced that season, including an ailing and aging Manning, a bad offensive line and a certain backup quarterback who thought he was a lot better than he actually was. And while Wade Phillips and the defense get the lion’s share of the praise for our success that year (deservedly so), we’re not sure that everyone is aware of how easily everything could’ve come crashing down if the Broncos hadn’t had you steering the ship. It took a lot of guts to bench Manning for Osweiler. It took a high acumen to reinsert the Sheriff at exactly the right moment. And it took a true leader to weather the storm in between and make sure that this team stayed on course.
The Broncos have never won a Super Bowl without you roaming the sidelines. For that alone you are a hero in our book, Coach, but there is something even more impressive than your on-the-field accomplishments, and that is the kind of man that you are. Quite simply Coach Kubiak, you have always represented this team and this city with the utmost class and highest character possible. We’ve never heard another coach or player ever say anything bad about you. Von’s letter is proof of the profound effect that you have on people, even those you have only known for a brief time. We’re so proud of everything you’ve achieved as a member of the Broncos, and we’re so grateful that we’ve had such a quality person representing our team the last two seasons.
You would probably deflect all of this admiration and redirect it toward all of the coaches and players you worked with, and that’s what makes this so difficult. You’re one of a kind, Coach Kube, and we hate to see you go.
Of course, we understand why you have to. There is more to life than football and you deserve to enjoy your health with your family. That being said, your absence next season will be noted. In a lot of ways, it already is. The next coach is going to have some damn big shoes to fill, but no matter what you’re always going to be a Bronco, so we’re not saying goodbye.
We’re just saying, “See you later.” Particularly in five years for your Ring of Fame induction ceremony.