The only times the Broncos won the Super Bowl, Mike Shanahan coached the team. So it makes plenty of sense for current Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, a member of Shanahan’s staff in 1997 and 1998, to rely on lessons learned from his old boss in preparation for the team’s next shot at winning another title.
“I saw Mike last week, spent some time with him. I watched him prepare for these games,” Kubiak said, via Troy Renck of the Denver Post. “Yeah, I take a lot with me on what Mike taught me and how he prepared this team for these types of situations.”
Shanahan praised Kubiak for joining a championship-caliber team with sky-high expectations and delivering.
“Anytime you go into situation where a team has won and they expect you to win and get back to a Super Bowl, it’s very hard to do that,” Shanahan said, via Renck. “Gary has met the challenge. And you can see why his leadership skills have given them the ability to get back to the Super Bowl. I know Gary as well as anybody — he’s not happy with just getting there. He wants to win it.”
One big difference between 2013 and now: Broncos on injured reserve are making the trip with the team and appearing in the team photo. For Super Bowl XLVIII, the injured players arrived later in the week.
“It shows the true team aspect. Everybody has contributed,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said, per Renck. “Look at a guy like [left tackle Ryan] Clady. He has missed both Super Bowls [with injuries]. I definitely know this means a lot for him.”
While that difference alone won’t turn the 43-8 blowout loss into a win, it contributes to the kind of vibe that could help overcome the widespread perception that the Panthers will win the game.