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Horse Tracks: Gary Kubiak, always a Denver Bronco

With a few notable exceptions, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who has given as much to the Broncos organization as Gary Kubiak.

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I was four years old when John Elway and Gary Kubiak were drafted to the Denver Broncos. Growing up, the sun sun set in the west, asparagus made your pee smell, and Gary Kubiak backed up John Elway. That was they way it was for eight seasons. When Gary left in 1992, I was to see him go. Then when Mike Shanahan brought him back to Denver in 1995 the Broncos universe was back in alignment.

Two Super Bowl championships later, Gary cemented himself as more than just Elway's backup. He was the mastermind behind the mastermind, Mike Shanahan. Anyone who saw Mike Shanahan's Broncos after Kubiak's departure to the Houston Texans knows that Kubiak was a piece every bit as important as Terrell Davis and John Elway in getting those championships.

So fast forward to 2015. Gary assumes command of a Denver Broncos squad whose lifeless (gutless?) performance eliminated them from the playoffs at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts. Gary stated that he 'was home' and make no mistake, for fans like me who grew up with Kubiak, it felt really good to see him roaming our sideline again. He was home.

Coach Kubiak and his staff wasted no time in bringing another Super Bowl championship to the Mile High City. As the confetti fell on the field, I remember wondering to myself, who better to win this than Gary Kubiak? Is there a more deserving coach in the world?

Here is a man who has given large swaths of his life to Denver football and a man who was instrumental in bringing every Lombardi trophy to the Denver Broncos. Simply put, you can't tell the history of the Denver Broncos without mentioning his name multiple times. The man is a Denver Broncos legend.

Later today, coach Gary Kubiak will step down and the Denver Broncos will find themselves looking to the future without the soft-spoken man with the Texas drawl. I'm going to miss him.

HORSE TRACKS

Kubiak is riding off into the orange and blue sunset.

Gary Kubiak, Denver Broncos Coach Who Led Team to a Title, Is Expected to Retire - The New York Times

Gary Kubiak: Broncos HC retiring | SI.com

Emotional Broncos salute Gary Kubiak: 'We love him' | Denver Broncos

Gary Kubiak tells Broncos he's retiring after emotional win over Raiders - CBSSports.com

Players react to Kubiak's postgame speech | Denver Broncos

Siemian Says: Reflecting on Kubiak's impact after Trevor's first year as starter | Denver Broncos

Who will fill Kubiak's shoes?

Kyle Shanahan among possible candidates for Denver Broncos' job - Denver Broncos Blog- ESPN

Broncos may want Anthony Lynn, but they may not get a chance to hire him | ProFootballTalk

5 candidates to replace Gary Kubiak as the Denver Broncos' head coach | FOX Sports

No early leader for Broncos job | ProFootballTalk

In other news, the Denver Broncos absolutely crushed the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, knocking them from the #2 seed and a bye to the #5 seed and a wildcard. To fully grasp how big a fall that is, I've enlisted the help of a Sesame Street celebrity to explain.

Raiders fall to No. 5 seed with blowout loss to Broncos - NFL.com

Highlights: Raiders vs Broncos - Week 17 | Denver Broncos

Five Key Moments: Broncos spoil Raiders' chance at bye | Denver Broncos

Shots of the Game: The postgame scene | Denver Broncos

It looks like Zaire Anderson is going to be okay. Zaire Anderson back home after scary neck injury | 9news.com

Have I mentioned this morning how awesome Aqib Talib is?

Michael Crabtree calls out Aqib Talib after chain-snatching incident | USA TODAY

Crabtree not pleased that Talib snatched chain from his neck | ProFootballTalk

The Chiefs owe the Broncos a debt for helping them take the #2 seed. Chiefs, Broncos exchanged funny tweets after Denver helped KC win West | The Kansas City Star

So while Broncos fans take glee in spoiling the Raiders playoff seeding, the fact remains that the Raiders are in the playoffs and Denver is not. Take solace in this, my friends, the Raiders aren't going anywhere in the playoffs and everyone knows it.

Oakland Raiders' QB woes could point to short playoff stay | ESPN

Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin injured, Connor Cook takes over | ESPN

Now that the 2016 season is in the books as far as the Broncos are concerned, it's time to look forward to 2017.

Broncos' 2017 opponents finalized | Denver Broncos

Broncos' first-round draft slot finalized | Denver Broncos

It's 'Black Monday' and coaches are already getting canned... or traded?

49ers fire Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after 2-14 season | FOX Sports

Chargers fire Mike McCoy as head coach shortly after season finale | FOX Sports

In a surprise move, this playoff team and its coach could reportedly part ways - CBSSports.com

Sean Payton to Rams chatter continues to grow | ProFootballTalk

The Dallas Cowboys made some news in Sunday's loss.

Dak Prescott sets new rookie passer rating record | ProFootballTalk

WATCH: Tony Romo looks great, leads Cowboys to TD in return to the field - CBSSports.com

The poor Browns can barely win for losing.

Browns' new year starts with the team bus breaking down en route to Steelers game - CBSSports.com

2017 NFL Draft order: Browns lock up the No. 1 pick; 49ers, Bears round out top three - CBSSports.com

The Packers won the NFC North. Packers beat Lions for NFC North crown while Aaron Rodgers makes case for MVP - CBSSports.com

The Redskins, on the other hand.... Kirk Cousins choked away the playoffs, but the Redskins should still give him $100 million | FOX Sports

There's something about the Seattle Seahawks this year... They don't feel like the cohesive playoff machine they have been in year's past. Watch Seahawks players lose their cool on the sideline during their win over the 49ers | FOX Sports

Alshon Jeffery has a better shot of going to the Super Bowl next year if he buys tickets himself. Alshon Jeffery guarantees the 3-13 Bears will win the Super Bowl next year | FOX Sports

There were some ballsy protesters in Minnesota on Sunday. I knock them only for their Brett Favre jersey. LOOK: Protesters illegally rappel from ceiling at Vikings' stadium, unfurl banner - CBSSports.com

If your team isn't any good, will you still show up? In San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Cincinnati the answer is no freakin' way. LOOK: No one shows up to watch NFL games on New Year's Day - CBSSports.com

Lastly, let's take a moment to remember Darrent Williams. It's already been ten years. Denver Broncos: Darrent Williams My Retrospective Ten Years Later | FOX Sports