Since Mike Ditka led the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl win in 1985, three other former players have also won Super Bowl rings as head coaches. Following a win in Super Bowl 50, Gary Kubiak joins that esteemed group.
Ditka was a member of the Dallas Cowboys team that won Super Bowl VI, and he won one Super Bowl as an assistant and one as a head coach. The first Super Bowl win for Ditka as an assistant coach came with the Cowboys in Super Bowl XII in 1977. Ditka was the head coach of the storied Chicago Bears team that won Super Bowl XX and finished the 1985 season with a final record of 18-1.
Bill Cowher spent the 1979 season in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and then spent the next three years with the Cleveland Browns. Cowher returned to Philadelphia to finish his playing career with the Eagles, leaving his playing days behind following the 1984 season. The following year, Cowher was hired by the Browns as a special teams coach, and he worked his way up to the defensive backs coach position in Cleveland. After a stop in Kansas City as the Chiefs' defensive coordinator, Cowher was hired by the Steelers as their head coach. Under Cowher's leadership, the Steelers won Super Bowl XL.
Tony Dungy started his career as a player with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent safety, winning Super Bowl XIII with Pittsburgh following the 1978 season. Dungy went on to play for the San Francisco 49ers in 1979 and spent some time with the New York Giants prior to the 1980 season, and then returned to the Steelers as an assistant coach in 1981. As the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Dungy led his team to a Super Bowl XLI win against the Chicago Bears following the 2006 season.
Sean Payton started his playing career in the Arena League, but he was signed by the Chicago Bears as a replacement player during the 1987 player strike. Payton only played in three games as a Spare Bear, and he began his coaching career in the college ranks at San Diego State University the following season. In 2006, Payton was hired by the New Orleans Saints, and Payton's Saints beat the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
Kubiak played for the Denver Broncos from 1983 to 1991, primarily as the backup to John Elway. In 1991, Kubiak relieved Elway in the AFC Championship game after Elway suffered a thigh bruise, but Kubiak was unable to lead Denver to a victory. The Broncos fell to the Buffalo Bills with a final score of 10-7.
Kubiak retired from playing following the 1991 season and he began his coaching career at Texas A & M in 1992. Kubiak jumped to the NFL in 1994 as the quarterbacks coach for the 49ers, and was hired by the Broncos as their offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 1995.
He remained with the Broncos until he accepted the head coaching job with the Houston Texans in 2006. Kubiak was fired by the Texans following the 2013 season and spent one season as the offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens before returning to the Broncos as head coach in 2015. The Broncos' Super Bowl 50 win comes in Kubiak's first season as the head coach in Denver.