If you were watching Super Bowl 50 last night, I’m sure you heard Jim Nantz say a couple of different times that if the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers, head coach Gary Kubiak would be the first person to win a Super Bowl as a head coach for a team that he played for. He even made mention of it during the postgame trophy presentation. It all sounds well and good and makes for a nice story. There’s just one problem. He’s wrong.
As soon as I heard him say it the first time, I immediately thought of Mike Ditka. You remember Mike Ditka, don’t you? You know, the guy who played tight end for the Chicago Bears from 1961-1966 and then was the head coach when the Bears won Super Bowl XX. So there’s one right there. Ditka is also one of only two men to win a Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach and head coach. In addition to that Super Bowl XX as the Bears head coach, Ditka won Super Bowl VI as a player with the Dallas Cowboys and was an assistant coach for the Cowboys when they won Super Bowl XII.
The other man to accomplish that feat was Tom Flores. Flores won Super Bowl IV as a player with the Kansas City Chiefs, was an assistant coach when the Oakland Raiders won Super Bowl XI, and led the Raiders to victories in Super Bowls XV and XVIII as their head coach. The thing is that Flores played for the Raiders from 1960-1966. So that would mean that he would have been the first man to win a Super Bowl as a head coach for a team that he once played for.
Now, had Nantz said that Gary Kubiak was the first to win a Super Bowl as a head coach for a team he played in a Super Bowl with, he would have been correct. Kubiak went to the Super Bowl three times with the Broncos, losing in Super Bowls XXI, XXII, and XXIV. Maybe that’s what Jim Nantz meant to say, but he didn’t. And yes, maybe it’s a little petty to bring up but it just wasn’t sitting right with me. It probably wasn’t sitting right with Tom Flores or Mike Ditka either.