SAN JOSE -- Dave Gettleman just finished his third season as the Carolina Panthers general manager and his team has three consecutive NFC South titles to go with the Super Bowl 50 appearance.
Gettleman says he turned the corner in his career as a personnel evaluator and learned many of lessons he's used to build a Super Bowl roster during his time with the Denver Broncos. Gettleman was a scout with the Broncos for just over four years -- from 1994 to 1997 -- three of those seasons where while Broncos coach Gary Kubiak was the offensive coordinator on Mike Shanahan’s staff.
“Every place I’ve been, you take from, good and bad, you learn what to do, what not to do,’’ Gettleman said. “My four and half years were great because when I first got there, Bob Ferguson was director of football ops and worked with Bob and Bob had really been my first teacher in Buffalo. And then Mike came in with the San Francisco system with the draft and I learned a ton from Mike in that respect.’’
Gettleman left the Broncos for the New York Giants before the 1998 season and remained with the Giants until he was hired by the Panthers in 2013. The Giants won two Super Bowls in his time with the team to go with the title the Broncos won to close out the 1997 season.
“And obviously it’s one of those deals when you’re fortunate enough to be in a winning program,’’ Gettleman said of the Broncos. “So you know what it should look like, smell like, taste like, feel like and that was a great experience for me. That was first time when I could have kind of ... that’s the one where you finally can get your head out of the weeds and really start to get the big picture of what it took.’’
“You look at them and, to me, you talk about a team, that’s what they are,’’ said Kubiak of the Panthers’ roster. “They’re built across the board very well. [Gettleman] has done a great job. I have great respect for him. He was here with us for a long time. They’re one hell of a football team. That’s why they’re where they are.’’
Gettleman said having seen Kubiak up close with the Broncos -- Kubiak was in his second year in coaching when he arrived with Shanahan to the Broncos in 1995 -- he isn’t surprised to see how Kubiak has fared in the two decades since.
“Wonderful guy, intelligent, listened, respectful, all the things -- I’m not shocked at how well he’s done, he’d great with people and we’re in the people business, we really are,’’ Gettleman said. “I’m thrilled for him.’’