ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** Spectacular catches, powerful defensive stops at the goal line — yes, football was back at Dove Valley on Saturday. Not Broncos football, but CSU Rams football.
The Denver Broncos opened their doors to CSU to hold a spring scrimmage on their practice field as part of an expanding partnership between the NFL team and the university. Fans came in droves to watch an early practice months before the Rams see their first game action, and some VIP members of CSU's Ram Club even got a tour of the Broncos' training facilities.
Though CSU has come down to practice in the Denver area in each of the past four years, this was the first at the Broncos' practice field.
"I thought it was an awesome idea," CSU head coach Mike Bobo said. "I know they've done it for a few years but when they approached me with the idea, it's always good to get on a bus and go somewhere and play and then when you get more people at practice, it brings a little excitement to the scrimmage and our guys were excited about today."
With gorgeous weather and devoted fans in attendance, the atmosphere seemed to be perfect. The Rams' cheerleaders even performed a routine at a halftime break. And for collegiate athletes who have dreams of making it to the next level, this was an invaluable experience.
The Broncos welcomed CSU football for a spring practice at the Broncos' facilities at Dove Valley.
"We appreciate Denver letting us do this. This is a beautiful facility," Bobo added. "It's a neat experience for our guys to come over here and practice where the pros play. They all have aspirations of playing in the NFL and to come over here and practice in this facility is just awesome."
The scrimmage was part of an expanding collaboration with Colorado State, from the annual CSU-Colorado football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to a new graduate-level sports management institute for CSU students that was announced in December of 2014.
"We started a new partnership this year with Colorado State and the biggest piece of the partnership is an educational platform where they started the Denver Broncos Institute for Sports Management up there, which will be a graduate level sports management program for students to essentially learn the basics of professional sports and, really, all of the facets that go into professional sports," said Darren O'Donnell, the Broncos' Vice President of Business Development.
Through that partnership, they were able to test the new waters and bring about the spring scrimmage at Dove Valley, which is the first time fans have been able to watch practice at the facility since construction began on the field house a year ago. As such, it was a bit of a preview of what training camp would look like with fans able to return to Dove Valley to watch practices this summer.
"From the Broncos perspective, it's a great test run for what this is probably what training camp's going to be like, but also we were able to host a nice VIP group of Ram Club members and senior administration from the university [...] up here on the second floor, but also so many season ticket holders and Rams club members here watching practice here," O'Donnell added. "It's a beautiful day and a great day for football."