ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --The Broncos don't have the only head-coaching vacancy this offseason. But they do have the only one for a recent champion with much of the team that won a recent Super Bowl still intact.
1. "THE BEST JOB IN AMERICA"
That's what Gary Kubiak called the job from which he stepped away. Five other teams are in the midst of head-coaching searches, but the Broncos are the only team with a vacancy that posted a winning season this year -- or in each of the last two seasons, for that matter.
The other five teams looking for head coaches went a combined 50-110 the last two seasons. The Broncos went 24-11 with a world championship.
"It is a competitive situation," to look for a head coach at the same time as five other clubs, President/CEO Joe Ellis said. But he also feels the Broncos offer the most attractive job opportunity.
"I do, but it's easy for me to say that," Ellis said. "But I do. I think we've done a lot here recently to make this a very good place to come to work, get out of your car and come into the building."
In recent years, the UCHealth Training Center has received a massive renovation, with the two-year-old Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse, a renovated locker room, expanded offices and a new kitchen being just some of the high points which Ellis feels can attract the best possible candidate. And then there's the quality talent on the roster, the devotion of the fan base, and the attraction of Denver as a city.
"I think all of that adds up. As a head coaching candidate, you look at that and say, 'I've got a chance to come to Denver and be successful,'" Ellis said. "It's football first here."
- NO TIME TO REST**
Ellis had a particularly strong relationship with Kubiak, as they first joined the Broncos organization in 1983 -- Kubiak as a backup quarterback, Ellis as a marketing executive.
Understandably, Kubiak's departure hit him hard.
"It takes more time to separate from him than it would any other coach that was leaving, just because of who he is and what he's meant to the organization," Ellis said.
But the speed at which the Broncos must move to secure interviews and find a new coach leaves no time for moping.
"This is a big-boy business, and we've got to strap it on and get a new head coach and get somebody to come in here that will help us win another a championship," he said.
- WHAT TYPE OF COACH DO THE BRONCOS WANT?**
Elway mentioned the possibility of nabbing one of the "bright young guys" to be the Broncos' head coach, but Ellis augmented that by noting that age would not be a determining factor.
"I don't know that we're looking at age," Ellis said. "You just want the best guy in here that can manage his team and lead his team to the best of his ability and to the expectations that we have here -- and to understand what we're all about as an organization.
"I don't know if that's young or old. I don't think that really matters. If you have the qualities necessary to be the head coach here, you'll get the job."
- MAKING THE POSTSEASON WOULDN'T HAVE CHANGED KUBIAK'S MIND**
Even a run to a second consecutive Super Bowl wouldn't have caused Kubiak to veer from the decision that he first shared with Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway in Kansas City prior to the Broncos' 33-10 loss in Week 16.
"It sure would have been a lot more fun, I can tell you that," he said. "I'd love to be up there preparing for an opponent this week, but no, it still wouldn't have taken away from how I felt and what I was going through."
The complex migraine with which he was diagnosed after the loss to the Falcons on Oct. 9 was part of that, but Kubiak said his struggles lasted throughout the season.
"It wasn't like this is something that I can't handle. I wouldn't say that," Kubiak said. "It was a struggle for me throughout the course of the year just keeping up with the things that I normally do and the way I want to do them and handling situations the way I wanted to handle them."
Kubiak said he changed his routine after his brief hospital stay, but that he eventually went "right back into my mode because that's the way I'm built, the way I'm wired."
"I just think if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it a certain way," he said. "I had a hard time. I had to be honest and say, 'I can't do it that way anymore.' It's time for somebody else to do it, not to go changing a bunch of stuff and go trying again. I think it's time for somebody else to do it."
Gary Kubiak, joined by his family, John Elway and his coaching staff, addressed the media Monday morning on his decision to step down as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. (Photos by Eric Bakke)
- CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR ELWAY IS IN THE PLANS**
"It's my plan," Ellis said with a smile when the subject was broached at a question-and-answer session.
Ellis added that the conversations between himself and Elway go back to October and will continue.
"I'm optimistic that we will get something done, for sure," he said.
Ellis hopes that Elway wants to remain as general manager for many years to come, but he knows that is ultimately up to Elway himself.
"My hope -- and strong hope -- is that the answer to that is, 'Yes,'" Ellis said. "But it's a tough job, and it's demanding. I think each person individually has to gauge how much they can put into it each and every day."