At least twice during the Super Bowl broadcast, Jim Nantz relayed an interesting fact to the audience: With Denver’s win, head coach Gary Kubiak—who backed up John Elway for nine seasons—became the first person to ever win the Super Bowl as a head coach for the same team he played for.
An interesting fact, but one that Nantz (or more likely, Nantz’s research assistant) got wrong. The first person to ever win the Super Bowl as a head coach for the same team he played for was Oakland Raiders legend Tom Flores. Flores quarterbacked the Raiders for six seasons, before coaching them to victory in Super Bowls XV and XVII.
Kubiak isn’t even the second coach to achieve the feat. Mike Ditka led the Chicago Bears and their famed 46 defense to a win in Super Bowl XX, twenty years after his stint as a Bears tight end. Coincidentally, both Flores’s and Ditka’s final season playing for the team they would eventually coach to Super Bowl victory was 1966, the season of Super Bowl I.
What Nantz might’ve meant to say is that Kubiak is the first head coach to win a Super Bowl with the same team he went to the Super Bowl with as a player, which is true. Kubiak was on the roster for the Broncos defeats in Super Bowls XXI, XXII, and XXIV, throwing seven passes total in those three games.
Correction: This post originally stated that Kubiak didn’t take any snaps during the Broncos’ Super Bowl losses, but he actually threw seven Super Bowl passes (5-7).