Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 6/14/12
We are witnessing a transformation here in Houston. Texans coach Gary Kubiak has always had this aw-shucksy anti-heroic thing about him. He has always seemed sort of like a boy in some black-and-white sitcom that just grew older but remained a light shade of gray. He had those wispy shocks of hair that made it look like he just got off a jet ski, and this way of looking like he was in pain, even while smiling. He had this unique way of always seeming down on his luck, even when he wasn't. And now: My goodness, the man has a flat-top haircut! He's using the media to deliver harsh messages to his players. He's getting contract extensions and then issuing quotes that ought to be punctuated using Funkmaster Flex's sound board. "I pride myself on fulfilling contracts," Kubiak told HoustonTexans.com, "not signing them." Kaboom! Amazing what a little winning will do for someone's identity. Kubiak is turning into Your Father's Football Coach. He's probably got the Texans taking salt tablets before practice. It seems weird, but here's the thing: Kubiak, for the first time in his head coaching career, is validated. He took over the Texans in 2006 and more or less spent the next five seasons dealing with everybody in Houston, his home town, trying to fire him. Year Six ended with a division championship and a playoff win. Year Seven begins with a contract extension. And Kubiak begins a new phase in his career. He's the hometown boy done good. He has joined the ranks of successful NFL coaches. Most significantly, he's popular, and nothing sets a personality free quite like popularity. Which makes me wonder if this is the real Kubiak, and that other guy was just a big gray blob of anxiety. Only time will tell. He may just be feeling zippy because it's June and the first game is just a vapor off in the distance. Coaches always seem a little more carbonated this time of year. But it may be that Kubiak, like the franchise itself, has finally settled into a comfortable identity. It may be that Kubiak finally feels like he has settled into this city where he grew up. It may be that Kubiak can finally start acting like the football coach he's always wanted to be, grown up and in full Technicolor.
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