ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Monday morning, Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway and Head Coach John Fox were sitting in an office, discussing personnel issues.
Elway's phone rang. Peyton Manning was on the other end.
"We both froze," Elway recalled.
"I stepped back like it was a hot potato," Fox laughed.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer answered the call, and asked the future Hall of Famer how he was doing.
"It has kind of been a rough morning because I've had to call these other teams and say that I'm not going to go to work for them," Manning said.
Elway couldn't help but wonder whether the Broncos were one of the teams on that list. But Manning quickly eased that tension.
"I just wanted to tell you that I want to come play for the Denver Broncos," he said.
Elway gave Fox a big thumbs up, and the head coach began jumping around the office, trying not to make too much noise while the phone conversation came to a close.
"As it became evident we were his choice, it was pretty boisterous," Fox said. "It spread fast in our building as far as people running around, very excited -- a lot of congratulatory emotion."
From there, the contract negotiations began -- a process Elway described as "rather seamless" -- and Tuesday the deal was officially signed.
Manning is a Denver Bronco. And during his introductory press conference Tuesday afternoon, it was clear he couldn't be happier.
"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my playing career with the Denver Broncos," Manning said to open the press conference. "Starting with (Owner/CEO) Mr. (Pat) Bowlen, I can tell this organization is committed to winning. The Broncos, they do have incredible fans that love this team, and this truly is a special football environment and I am glad to be a part of it.
"I am thrilled to be here and I'm looking forward to meet my new teammates and do everything I can to help this franchise win another Super Bowl."
Manning brings with him a resume as impressive as any quarterback in the league.
He ranks third all-time with 54,828 passing yards and has thrown 399 touchdowns with 198 interceptions for a passer rating of 94.9, which is second in league history among all quarterbacks with at least 5,000 attempts.
Since he entered the NFL as the No. 1 pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, he leads the league in yards and touchdowns, while ranking fifth in completion percentage and passer rating since he entered the league in 1998. In that span, he has earned 11 Pro Bowl selections and is a five-time first-team All-Pro.
Bowlen said it best when he stepped to the podium Tuesday: "We're very fortunate to have two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in this room today," referring to Manning and Elway.
The former league MVP and Super Bowl XLI MVP will now look to bring his winning ways to the Broncos, who are coming off of an AFC West championship season.
But a division title is just one of the goals a team sets before the season. The main goal, as always, is a Super Bowl title.
"That's why we all play this game; there's no question about that," he said. "That's why you work hard in the offseason every single year, why you lift weights, why you go through training camp -- that's the goal. That's what I've always tried to do every single year. Knowing that I don't have 15 years left to throw a football, I certainly feel that sense of urgency. That's what I want to do and that's what the Denver Broncos want to do. Hopefully we can all do that together."