Sacco Sez: Minicamp, Mother's Day ... and inclement weather

This weekend brings a confluence of traditions to the Denver Broncos, as the team's rookie minicamp comes to a close.

Traditionally, for the Broncos and many other National Football League teams, this has been the week on the schedule when the rookies — both draftees and free agents — make their first official working trip to the their new home for minicamp.

Of course, this also happens to be Mother's Day weekend.

And anyone who likes to plant flowers in Colorado is familiar with the adage that says, Do not plant before Mother's Day.

For it seems like every year, without fail, the weather gets nice, the players fly into Denver ... and it snows.

Horticulturists around the city wind up bringing their pots of plants into the house to prevent them from freezing, and I cannot count the years — and decades — of watching coaches and players dodge snowflakes getting their field work in.

Even though springtime weather has returned just a few days since the snowfall earlier this week, it still reminds me of how that has typically happened during rookie minicamp in my years with the Broncos.

I vividly remember former Head Coach Mike Shanahan permanently rescheduling one of his minicamp dates to the month of June, noting, "Whatever weekend I choose in May, it snows."

Of course, this is coincidental and tied to the variable spring weather in the Rockies, but it seems in my family to be an absolute truth.

On Mother's Day, my wife fixes a big family dinner, I am not present to help because I am at minicamp, and the camp is hit by inclement weather.

It's more an irritation than anything that actually prevents football from happening, but it seems like something we can count on every year.

In fact, most fans likely are unfamiliar with the fact that Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, without argument the greatest Bronco ever, did not throw his first passes wearing orange in Denver at all, due to inclement springtime weather.

It was May of 1983, and the Broncos had completed the trade bringing John to Denver one week after that year's draft.

The date for his first minicamp arrived, and so did a snowstorm.

Members of the Broncos' 2019 rookie class arrived at UCHealth Training Center on Thursday for some orientation programs, including an equipment fitting, ahead of the start of rookie minicamp.

Since minicamps traditionally last for only about three days on the field, Head Coach Dan Reeves did not want to lose a day of work, so the team chartered buses and headed south to the Air Force Academy.

John threw his first passes in the indoor field house at the Academy, not at the Broncos' Denver training headquarters.   

Of course, the Denver media was very excited about watching Elway on the field, so there was a caravan of media vehicles following our team buses on the trek to the Academy.

I remember vividly media spectators literally "oohing" and "aahing" at the rocket arm displayed by our new quarterback, but few recall that it did not take place in Denver, which was being blanketed by a snowfall that, while moderate, could not be cleared from our fields in time for practice.

An odd but true fact about adjusting to what has become traditional minicamp weather.

In fact, when I am asked to guess when the last snow of the season will fall, I temper my answer with a chuckle and note that it will come whenever the Broncos' schedule minicamp. 

Now, it is well established that the Broncos are one of the most successful franchises in football over the last four decades, one of just nine to win three Super Bowls.

So a little springtime weather has not in any way hampered the success of this great team.

But to me, this time of year always brings the national tradition of Mother's Day together with springtime weather and the Broncos inevitably dodging a bit of rain and snow on the practice field.

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