ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It was one of those stories that became a defining piece of Peyton Manning’s legacy. One of those things that made you understand what made Peyton Manning different. An anecdote the illustrated the perfectionist he really was.

The infamous locker notes.

As the tale goes, if he was unhappy with something a player did in practice, whether it be running a route wrong or simply not practicing hard enough, the surefire Hall of Famer would leave a note in their locker about it. A not-so-subtle way of saying, “get it together.”

Classic Peyton.

And while those notes have become a key piece of Manning folklore, especially in Denver, it’s nowhere near as good as what new Broncos head coach Vic Fangio once left in the locker of Manning himself.

To start, you may be surprised to know that Manning and Fangio go way back, all the way back to Fangio’s days in New Orleans, when Peyton’s dad, Archie, was the team’s radio announcer and a young Peyton would work out at the team facility.

The relationship got another chapter when Manning went up against Fangio’s Carolina defense during his rookie year in Indianapolis.

“Not a great game,” Manning told a small group of reporters during a visit to the UC Health Training Center on Thursday. “It was the last game of a pretty miserable season. We were 3-13.. I think there wasn’t much time left in the game, but I think we might have had a chance to get back in it. I was actually trying to throw the ball away, and I didn’t throw it high enough, and Eric Davis intercepted it. It was a fitting ending to a pretty miserable season.”

So you know, after checking the play-by-play, the way Manning recalled it from more than 20 years ago is exactly what happened. The Colts lost by eight after the interception with just under three minutes remaining.

Interestingly enough, that would be Fangio’s last regular season game in Carolina before becoming the DC in—you guessed it—Indianapolis.

“Vic is super competitive,” Peyton remembered of when he got there. “He wanted to win every practice against the offense. In his first year, we went from 3-13 to 13-3, and a lot of that had to do with Vic coming in and solidifying the defense.”

Manning then paused before delivering an epic story.

“They would have the upper hand a lot in practice,” he added. “He really could be irritating. I can’t remember what I did—seems like they held one day in practice a lot, we didn’t have refs back then, but I was probably complaining about how they were holding our receivers, and Vic put a plate of wine and cheese in my locker.”

“He didn’t say it was him, but I knew it was him,” Manning added. “I knew he had access to it.”

After some investigative work, BSN Denver can confirm it was, in fact, Fangio who left that lovely treat for the quarterback.

“That he must have really irritated me a lot because I finished 15-1 against him in my career,” Manning said with a smirk.

If you’re keeping track at home, that’s 15-0 after that loss in Carolina, and, yes, 15-0 after the fateful wine platter.

Luckily for Fangio, he won’t have to face Manning anymore. In fact, the NFL Legend is once again on his side.

“He hasn’t changed one bit since 1999 in Indianapolis. I think that’s what John saw; this guy’s a football coach. We need to get back to playing solid, fundamental football around here. That’s what wins games. That’s kind of been the core of what the Denver Broncos have been about and I think Vic will bring that Denver… I’m happy for him getting his opportunity to be a head coach. He has certainly paid his dues. He is all football. He is a grinder. And I think he’ll do a great job.”

Now that they’re both in Denver, maybe a couple of football guys can talk ball over, say, some wine and cheese.

Ryan Koenigsberg
Author

Ryan D. Koenigsberg, was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, and is the Vice President of Content Strategy and co-founder of BSN Denver. Ryan also covers and travels with the Denver Broncos. Education: Graduated from the University of Colorado in 2015 with a degree in both Broadcast Journalism and Communication. Career: I got my start in Journalism in 2011 with an internship covering University of Colorado athletics for a website called BuffScoop.com, a branch of the 247Sports Network. Less than one year after accepting that position, I was promoted to the lead writer of the site. After another year at BuffScoop, I was hired to a staff position covering the Buffaloes for Buffstampede.com, the CU site for the Rivals.com network. Two years later, shortly before officially graduating from CU, I was approached by a dude named Brandon Spano who was planning to revolutionize the way sports were covered in our great state. I accepted a position on the ground floor of BSN Denver that, at the time, centered—once again—around covering the Buffaloes. After another year on the Buffs beat that resulted in winning the inaugural BSN Denver Silver Slugger award—given to the writer whose stories generated the most traffic—I was promoted to the Broncos beat. In my time at BSN, I’ve had the pleasure of covering a Super Bowl, a Pac-12 Championship, a bowl game, multiple games in the NCAA Tournament and so much more. Somewhere along the way, I earned that fancy title you see at the top of all this. Most memorable sports moment: Nov. 23, 2001: Behind SIX Chris Brown rushing touchdowns, the No. 14 Colorado Buffaloes trounce the No. 2 Nebraska Cornhuskers by a count of 62-36. It was the day I fell in love with college football for good. So much so that I haven’t missed a single Buffs’ home game since. The finest sports book I’ve ever read: I don’t know about finest, but when I was in elementary school, I read every single Matt Christopher book in our school library. It was the best way to not stray away from sports while still filling those pesky reading logs. One sports movie that I can’t live without: When I was a kid, I didn’t have cable in my room but I did have a TV with a VCR. Thing is, I only had a few movies on VCR and I needed to have the TV on to fall asleep. Well, eventually I came around to the fact that the best movie I had was “Cool Runnings,” so I feel asleep to the Jamaican Bobsled team every night for years. You need sleep to live and I couldn’t sleep without “Cool Runnings” SO I guess that’s the one I can’t live without. Most memorable experience as a reporter: Pretty hard to beat the week leading up  to Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco. To be at the center of the sports world with not only the greatest athletes but also the greatest sports journalists in the world all around was a truly special experience. Between wake up calls at 4:45 am to catch the media shuttle to the Broncos hotel by 6, the 14-hour work days and the regrettable post-work festivities, I calculated that I got about 20 hours of sleep over an eight-day period… and I wouldn’t have traded one minute of it all. That was awesome. The sport that started it all: It’s hard to pinpoint one sport that truly “started it all” for me. When I was a kid, I remember people used to always ask me what my favorite sport was, and I would always answer the same thing, “Whatever sport is in season.” As long as I can remember, my life has always revolved directly around sports, from playing to watching to writing. It’s not a sport that started it all, it sports that started it all.

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