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Sundays with Sacco: The Kubiak era begins

Gary Kubiak was hired as the Broncos Head Coach months ago, and since then we have had the draft, free-agent signings, minicamps, OTAs, training camp and four preseason games.

But really, it all begins with the kickoff of the regular season.

His drive to his stadium parking space and walk into the coaches' locker room will be different from every previous time as the Gary Kubiak Era begins in Denver.

However, it is not the first beginning for Gary. It is just the first time, this time.

In 1983 he was drafted by the Broncos out of Texas A&M, where the Houston native had concluded an outstanding college career as a quarterback prototype who had smarts and knew the game inside and out.

He proved to be the same player, only more so, as he gained experience, backing up Hall of Famer John Elway for nine seasons. Gary played a pivotal role on a team that won three AFC championships and go to Super Bowls XXI, XXII and XXIV.

The Broncos of Elway and Kubiak were the only AFC team to advance to three Super Bowl games in the 1980s.

Then time did as it inevitably does, moving on and creating new moments and new eras, and Gary Kubiak returned to Denver as offensive coordinator under Mike Shanahan.

Second verse, same as the first, only with way more gusto and success.

The Broncos and the city were way more seasoned by then, and the team was a powerhouse. From 1996-98 the Broncos won 46 games and consecutive world championships in 1997 and 1998. The 46 wins over three seasons was the pro football record at that time and still ranks second in NFL history.

Denver went undefeated for almost a calendar year, from late 1997 through almost the entire 1998 season, and a lot of people get and deserve credit, Kubiak among them for sure.

There was one more hurrah in 2005 when the Broncos advanced to the AFC title game before losing to the eventual world champion Pittsburgh Steelers, proving that if you play in enough title games, as Denver has been fortunate to do, sometimes the sun just shines on the opposite sideline.

But by then there were no secrets about Gary Kubiak. He was held in the highest regard by the pro football world and had the rare opportunity to be a head coach in his hometown, He went from a long apprenticeship in coaching to being the hot guy, deservedly so.

And even when he went home to Houston, we regarded him as one of our own, part of our family. That was as real as John Elway being the Forever Bronco and it was a feeling that never wavered. John was our guy always, and right behind him was Gary.

And so it came to pass that after a 2014 campaign that ended in bitter disappointment, Elway made the approach and Kubiak accepted, and the drawings were on the table for the new era.

The first time he came to Denver, Gary and Rhonda had not yet started their family.

This time, their son Klein was already a member of the Broncos in player personnel, and Klein was able to give his father, the head coach, a tour through the new changes at the facility.

Pro football is a long season and a tough business. Elway, Kubiak, and Broncos Country all know that The Era of Good Feelings is only such when you win.

But this team is well put together, has great focus and has been looking forward eagerly to the dawn of the latest Kubiak era, which just feels so right to our family of fans.

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