"We wish you all the continued success and prosperity for years to come. May you continue to reach the playoffs and extend your amazing 9 year streak. Please let us know if we can do anything to further assist you in your pursuits. We hope you enjoy our presents. Good luck in the New Year."
With kind regards from your AFC South Neighbors,
Bud Adams and Wayne Weaver
Still in the holiday spirit Houston and Jacksonville each gave the Colts a gift that will keep on giving (at least for one more year anyway).
The decisions over the past few days to keep Jack Del Rio and Gary Kubaik amount to something between a holiday card wishing the Colts good fortune and a white flag of surrender.
Colts' fans should be thrilled. In fact, it would only be right to send Mr. McNair and Mr. Weaver boxes of cookies, and pound cakes to show our appreciation.
Don't get me wrong, I am sure that Kubaik and Del Rio are nice guys (Kubaik at least), but in their combined 13 year tenure they have somehow managed to win a grand total of 0 AFC South titles and only 5 second place finishes (4 by Jacksonville).
Houston has never even been to the playoffs and Jacksonville is a pathetic 1-2 in the postseason - their only win a shocking 31-29 upset of Pittsburgh in 2008. Peyton Manning meanwhile is making his 19th career playoff start and has amassed 3 times as more wins (9) as the Jags and Texans have combined total playoff games (3). Shocking.
These statistics are a combination of 2 factors.
1. The Colts have achieved unparalleled dominance (literally) - the Colts own the best record of any team over the span of any decade - that few teams could compete with. It isn't an outlandish argument to say that a good 24 other teams during the Manning era would not have fared any better than the Texans or Jags have. The Colts are winners and therefore have robbed Jacksonville, Tennessee and Houston of at least a few more playoff appearances each.
Its kind of like going up against Duke or UNC in the ACC. You might get lucky one or two years, but usually you are resigned to the NIT.
2. Jack Del Rio and especially Gary Kubiak are waaaaaaaayyyyy overrated.
(Scenario 2 far more plausible and more fun)
An argument, albiet a weak one, to keep Del Rio can be made: He is a respectable 65-63 in his tenure in Jacksonville and like mentioned above, did take his team to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons a few years back. That says nothing about his fratish and often idiotic demeanor that causes him to try stupid stunts and make ignorant comments like 'the Colts still pump in noise' in order to mask his on the field deficiencies, but based purely on wins and losses, his overall record isn't terrible.
On the other hand, Bud Adams is out of his mind in keeping Kubiak and the poor Texan fans know it. As a rule of thumb, I generally support giving coaches time to implement their coaching philosophies and shape the rosters as they see fit. Too often players and coaches do not succeed because fans and ownership wont allow them too.
In today's culture of instant gratification coaches never have a chance (Look at this blog - dozens of fans wanted Cadwell's firing only a few weeks back). If they don't win in their first year, fans call for their heads. It takes time to build a roster and imprint a philosophy. Few coaches have the luxury Jim Cadwell and Mike Tomlin had of taking over for proven winners who had already assembled winning, veteran teams. Not to take anything away from two excellent coaches, but it almost might have taken more to botch those teams than to succeed.
Normally, success is a longer process. It took a few years for even the greatest coaches such as John Wooden or Vince Lombardi to really take off and achieve greatness. 5 years later though its clear that Gary Kubiak is no Vince Lombardi. His 37-43 win-loss record (.463) ranks Kubiak a whopping 106th out of 153 coaches in terms of a winning percentage (When Butch Davis is right on your heels, that is certainly troubling).
In 5 years under Kubiak, the Texans have had 1 winning season. That's it.
A more acute indication than their records would suggest (which is pretty damning considering Kubiak's already awful .463 winning percentage) is the fact that unlike the Lions, Browns or Rams, both teams have had considerable talent.
While Del Rio has never had a franchise quarterback, he has always had one of the best running backs in the NFL, whether it be Fred Taylor or presently Maurice Jones-Drew. He was also fortunate enough to coach of one the games all time leading receivers in Jimmy Smith. Add Kyle Brady and a steady offensive line, and Jacksonville had a lot of fire-power to go along with their always tough and aggressive defenses.... too bad they could never utilize it.
Contrary to the Jags, the Texans have a franchise quarterback and a lethal offense with Schaub, Johnson and now Foster. In fact, earlier this year, Michael Irving went as far as to call them the new 90's Cowboy trio of Aikman, Smith and himself (Apparently Michael is still smoking Cocaine). While the offense has been electric, its the putrid defense that has held back the Texans and prevented them from every reaching the next level - or the playoffs.
To make matters worse, the Texans recently hired Wade Phillips to be there new defensive coordinator. While Wade is definitely a good guy, its hard to imagine fixing possibly the worst defense in the history of the league with a coach who just took one of the most talented teams in memory and ran them into the ground. Good luck with that.
While I am sick of the constant coaching carousel and think stability is the key to wins, even I will acknowledge that its time for a change for both organizations. Jacksonville needs someone who is a bit more serious and grounded while Houston just needs a winner.
But then again, as a Colt's fan, maybe I should keep quiet. Here's to our good fortune and to continued successful endeavors in the AFC South!
Thanks Bud and Wayne
PS. A few poundcakes should be arriving soon.