A look at Steve "Greek" Antonopulos' 41 years as the Broncos' head athletic trainer. (photos via Broncos photo archive, unless noted)
In four decades, almost everything about the Broncos has changed.
The home jerseys went from orange to blue and back again. Hundreds of players and coaches came and went. Training camp moved from Fort Collins to Greeley, and then south to Englewood. The stadium changed. So did team headquarters, from a haphazard collection of buildings straddling Logan Street in Adams County to a unified, ever-growing campus in the southern suburbs.
And most of all, the Broncos' trophy case went from barren to brimming.
One man was there for it all.
Steve Antonopulos, better known as "Greek," was the first man on the scene whenever a Bronco needed medical attention. When a player couldn't rise, "Greek" helped him up. When the rigors of a physical sport left a Bronco injured, "Greek" provided reassurance and a plan for recovery.
Whether the player was a Hall of Famer like John Elway or a long-shot training-camp prospect on the fifth team, Antonopulos was there, arriving in the darkness many mornings to give each player the care he needed.
"Greek's been a cornerstone of the Denver Broncos for more than four decades, and we're excited to have him move up a level to become our director of sports medicine," said Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway. "In talking with Greek, he indicated that he was ready to make this transition and turn the head athletic training position over to the very qualified and well-respected Vince Garcia."
Over a decade ago, Antonopulos was 29 years into his career with his home-state team when he told fans in an online question-and-answer session that he "was living a dream" to work for the Broncos.
Broncos Head Athletic Trainer Steve "Greek" Antonopulos was inducted into the University of Northern Colorado Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. (photos by Ben Swanson)
Fortunately for the team and "Greek," that dream continues. Antonopulos will remain a part of the organization as its director of sports medicine. He will continue to stand watch, ready if needed. But now the first person on the field to help a hurting player will be new head athletic trainer Vince Garcia.
"I could not think of a better fit than Vince Garcia to become the Denver Broncos' head athletic trainer," Antonopulos said. "He cares about our players and always puts their well-being first.
"I've been living a dream for the last 41 years while I've worked for the Denver Broncos. It's an honor to work for Mr. Bowlen and Joe Ellis, and I couldn't have a better boss than John Elway. I'm grateful for this new opportunity and am really looking forward to working with Vince, our players and coaches, and the rest of our very talented medical staff."
Antonopulos is the only person to be a part of all eight Broncos teams that went to the Super Bowl, from the miracle run of 1977 through the club's third world championship in the 2015 campaign. But his legacy and value to the Broncos would be immense, even without the rings he earned.
He is as Colorado as the Rocky Mountains. He is as much a part of Broncos history as Thunder, the Drive and the Orange Crush.
He is "Greek," and he is living Broncos history, an organizational pillar that continues to stand the test of time, even though his title and role have changed.