Skip to main content
Houston Texans

Victory sweet for Kubiak, Shanahan


Gary Kubiak and Mike Shanahan embraced at midfield after the game.

Neither Gary Kubiak nor Kyle Shanahan would admit it, but Thursday night's 31-13 throttling of the Denver Broncos at Reliant Stadium had to feel good.

Kubiak owes 20 years of his NFL life to Broncos coach Mike Shanahan and the Denver organization. Kyle owes half of his chromosomes to Denver's head coach, his father.

Teacher versus pupil. Father versus son.

That, at least, was the media's story all week. In the days leading up to the game, Kubiak downplayed it. Shanahan joked about it. But neither allowed it to sensationalize and become a distraction for a team bent on moving to 7-7.

Even during his postgame press conference, long after the final whistle had blown, Kubiak still wouldn't acknowledge any extra significance to the win.

"It's not about me," Kubiak said. "I just told the players it's about them. I've been a player before and I know how hard those kids are working. There was a big deal made out of where I came from and who we were playing tonight, and that makes for good talk, but it's about those players.

"They're the ones busting their tail and playing hurt and out there bleeding for each other to find victory. The key thing is that the Texans got a big win tonight."

Those words are one thing, and they make for great coaching. But Kubiak's players know better.

"He said what he was supposed to say, but you know inside he was like, 'Yeah, I stuck it to my old boss,' and it's just good to be able to give him that," veteran defensive end N.D. Kalu said.

"To play the guy who used to be your boss and the place that you played at – he's so well known in Denver, so for him to come in here and beat him so bad, he sent a message to the people back in Denver that they're really missing a good coach."

Guard Mike Brisiel, who started in his second NFL game Thursday night, hasn't been around quite as long as Kalu. But he knows Kubiak well enough to be counted among the numerous players thrilled to give their coach the win.

"He's such a good coach, he'll tell you it's just another victory for him or another game for him," Brisiel said. "But you know what, it's got to mean a little bit extra just because he had so much tradition there with Denver and he'd been there for so long.

"It really makes the players around us feel good when we can give him something like that. He deserves it. He's a heck of a guy."

{QUOTE}Running back Ron Dayne, who played under Mike Shanahan and Kubiak for two seasons in Denver, battled a sore ankle to pile up 67 yards and a key fourth quarter touchdown in the win.

After the game, Dayne couldn't pinpoint what allowed him to play through the pain. Perhaps he was running on a little extra motivation for his head coach.

"A couple guys that played with Denver are here, and we know that's a big game," Dayne said. "Coach always is real low-key, so we're going to go out there and we had to do the talking for him. I'm excited that we beat the Broncos, and I know a couple other guys that played with them are excited, too."

Kubiak and Mike Shanahan embraced at midfield after the game. Kyle, meanwhile, did not speak with his father at length on the field.

"We just said hi real quick," Kyle said. "I think he was a little disappointed in the outcome, so we didn't do too much talking right there. I know he was obviously disappointed, and he should be, but that's the way it goes sometimes."

But while Kubiak avoided talking about how sweet the win was, Shanahan was a little more ready to admit it: He was glad to beat dad.

He also was honest in his assessment of where this win ranks in father-son rivalry history.

"It felt better when I beat him in basketball one-on-one for the first time because that was solely me versus him," Kyle said with a smile. "This was just the team that I work for beat the team that he works for.

"It wasn't much of a one-on-one deal, but it was good."

In the locker room after the game, tackle Ephraim Salaam and center Mike Flanagan honored their victorious coaches by handing out two game balls: one to Kubiak, and one to Shanahan.

"There's nothing like beating your dad," quarterback Sage Rosenfels said. "There's nothing sweeter than that. (Kyle) and coach Kubiak didn't talk about it during the week, but we all knew what it was for those guys.

"There's nothing better than beating your mentor and your father."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content