‘I Wouldn’t Be Here Without It’ – A Unique Week Upcoming for Miami Dolphins’ Mike McDaniel

Almost 30 years to the day that changed his life, Miami Dolphins Mike McDaniel will face the Denver Broncos for the first time as a head coach.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel was once a Denver Broncos ball boy.

OK, consider us stopped.

Because even the most casual Dolphins fans know McDaniel’s origin story.

Miami Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel’s Origin Story Comes Full Circle

McDaniel, then a 10-year-old living in the Denver area, lost his hat while in an autograph scrum at Broncos training camp in 1993.

Then-Broncos video coordinator Gary McCune — a perfect stranger at the time — saw that McDaniel was upset that the hat was gone and decided to buy a replacement that he gave to the boy the next day.

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That act of kindness led to a romance with McDaniel’s mother, Donna. They ultimately married, providing McDaniel with both a new family member and a lasting connection with the Broncos organization.

In the years that followed, McDaniel was both a ball boy and then an intern with the Broncos, and he credits Mike Shanahan — the offensive mastermind who was Denver’s head coach — as one of his biggest influences.

Fast-forward a quarter century or so, and McDaniel — as the head coach of the 2-0 Dolphins — is preparing for the team’s home opener.

The opponent? The Broncos.

On Wednesday, McDaniel spoke about the impact the Broncos franchise has had on his life and the significance of facing that team for the first time as an occupant of the big chair for an NFL franchise.

“It’s a big part of it,” McDaniel said. “That was the team that I found my love for football with. Their jerseys were orange at the time for the most part also. Also, you know, a couple of the biggest influences I’ve had from the game of football in terms of Mike Shanahan and, by extension, Kyle Shanahan, Gary Kubiak. It’s a great franchise. I have played them before, not as a head coach.

“But what’s weird in the journey is, once you get in the business, the teams don’t feel the same. So it’s like, you don’t treat bosses the same. You know, like, technically, the organization is my boss. So it kind of loses its fandom, so to speak. But tremendous organization, and I wouldn’t be here without it.”

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