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Ron Rivera, Gary Kubiak have guided teams to Super Bowl

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For NFL franchises, the key to success is to know when to change coaches, like the Denver Broncos, and when to stand pat, like the Carolina Panthers.

Both teams made it work out on the way to this year’s Super Bowl.

The Broncos came to a mutual parting with former John Fox and brought in Gary Kubiak, who has done a terrific job. He got five wins from backup quarterback Brock Osweiler, and he has helped to transform the Broncos from a pass-oriented team to a defensive one.

Carolina, on the other hand, stuck with coach Ron Rivera, who has guided them to a 15-1 record. But it was a little over a year ago when the Panthers were 3-8-1 and stuck in the mud. They had just been blown out by Green Bay. There were rumors he could be fired.

That wasn’t rare for Rivera, who first heard such whispers when he was 7-9 in his second season. Yes, sometimes, sticking with your guy is enough.

Sometimes, it isn’t. Kubiak, the former Texans’ head coach, was a perfect fit for the Broncos. It says a lot that, in one of Peyton Manning’s worst statistical years, he has the Broncos in the final game.

So who’s your coach of the year? To most, it’s either Rivera or Kubiak.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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