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Two years after going 2-14, Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips are inspirations for coaches everywhere

Gary Kubiak

Twenty-six months and one day before Sunday's Super Bowl, Gary Kubiak was as far away from football's ultimate game as one could be. After stringing together a run of two straight AFC South championships and 24 wins in 34 tries, including two straight to start the 2013 season, Kubiak was swept out of town after an 11-game losing streak.

"This has been a very disappointing year," Texans owner McNair said at the time. "We started with such high hopes. To have this string of losses is unacceptable... We normally would wait until the end of year to evaluate our staff; under these extreme circumstances thought best to start the process now."

"What's taken place with this organization is unacceptable,'' general manager Rick Smith added.

Kubiak's defensive coordinator Wade Phillips finished out that season -- three more Texans losses -- and then joined him on the unemployment line. It was the fifth time Phillips had been fired in the past two decades: after a 16-16 run as head coach of the Denver Broncos in the mid-90's, after a 29-19 mark as head coach of the Buffalo Bills in the late-90's, after head coach Dan Reeves was fired as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons (another instance where Phillips played out the string as interim head coach) in 2003, and then after a 34-22 stint as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, in which two playoff trips in three seasons weren't enough to buttress a 1-7 start to the 2010 season.

Kubiak spent the 2014 season as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, while Phillips missed his first season since 1971.

And then there both were Sunday night in San Francisco, living examples of the coaching business's sling-shot nature. The men themselves never changed though the circumstances around them -- from 2-14 season to Super Bowl champions -- could not have been more different.

Considering his entire career is a tribute to the man, perhaps it's best to summarize Wade Phillips' philosophy with a Bum Phillips quote: "How do you win? By getting average players to play good and good players to play great. That's how you win."

“It’s a crazy business,” said Kubiak said after the game. “You just keep working, stay true to who you are and try to enjoy it along the way. That’s what I’ve tried to do.

I just feel fortunate that I have gotten another chance,” Kubiak. “A lot of coaches don’t.”