Regardless of which team wins Super Bowl 50 on Sunday in Santa Clara, California, a new coach will join the club of champion coaches. Neither Gary Kubiak of the Broncos nor Ron Rivera of the Panthers has so much as led a team to the Super Bowl before this season, let alone won one.
But both men have previous experience with the big game in other roles.
Kubiak, who took over the Broncos this season after six-plus seasons with the Texans — was the Broncos backup quarterback to John Elway — now the team’s general manager — when Denver lost three Super Bowls during the late 1980s. He also won three championships in the 1990s, first with the 49ers in 1994 and then with the Broncos in 1997 and 1998.
Rivera, in his fifth season with Carolina, was a member of the 1985 Bears team that capped an 18-1 season with a victory in Super Bowl XX, playing linebacker. After transitioning into coaching, he served as defensive coordinator for the Bears when they lost to Peyton Manning’s Colts in 2006.