This morning I wrote about the speculation swirling around the Broncos’ upcoming uniform redesign. A lot of that speculation is based on a Twitter thread from an exercise professional and massage therapist named Mario Vatenze (that’s him in the photo shown above), who works with a bunch of Denver players. As I wrote in this morning’s post, I had reached out to Vatenze via phone and email but hadn’t heard back from him.
Shortly after this morning’s post was published, Vatenze wrote back and said he’d be happy to talk with me. Here’s a transcript of the phone conversation we then had, edited for length and clarity:
Uni Watch: Can you describe your connection to the Broncos?
Mario Vatenze: I’m a body worker, and I have a handful of Broncos players who come in to my office. I travel to away games and stay at the team hotel so I can work on guys before the game, but I do that as an independent contractor, not a team employee.
UW: Aside from game day, are you ever at the stadium or at the team facilities?
MV: No, I’m completely independent. I own my own practice, I run my own business. I’m not affiliated with the Broncos whatsoever, just an independent contractor for some of the players. And then I have other connections in the media and stuff like that.
UW: Regarding the new uniforms, have you actually seen the things that you tweeted about, or have they just been described to you by a third party?
MV: They were they were described by two different third parties who had seen them. But admittedly, they said, “It was brief, I saw them quickly, I want to get a better look at it.” So everything that I put in that Twitter thread is basically how it was described to me, because I think only a very, very select group of people have seen them.
UW: When these descriptions were given to you?
MV: I think during the preseason.
UW: So, August?
MV: Yeah, August or September. There was a team of people, between players and members in the organization, who were like a committee that they had put together, because they wanted feedback from different avenues. I know there was a lot of attention to detail, like there’s going to be a “5280” somewhere on the pants, but it’s subtle. But the thing is, all of this was described to me. I didn’t see it myself.
UW: In your tweet, you said the “5280” would be part of the design, but you didn’t say where. But now you’re saying it’s on the pants?
MV: Yeah, on the pants.
UW: As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s this other person on a Broncos message board who gave a description of the new uniforms, much of which overlapped with what you had tweeted. He calls himself Brady2024 — do you know him, or know who he is?
MV: No, I don’t.
UW: He also said the “5280” would be on the pants, so that matches up. And he said the helmets would be white. Do you know anything about that?
MV: That was the one thing that I hadn’t heard, so I can’t confirm that. I’ve messaged a couple different people about that and I haven’t heard back yet.
UW: The other things that Brady2024 posted, do they sound right to you?
MV: It seems like it tracks pretty consistently with what I was told, but I think what I’m going to do is show that post to my sources and ask them how accurate it is. The thing that was emphasized to me is that there’s a lot of little details, and I think that’s why it was difficult for the sources to like, really give me an apt description, because some of these little details may be hard to describe or, you know, hard to remember.
UW: Who are these sources of yours?
MV: Yeah, you know, I can’t tell you that.
UW: But they presumably have a more inside connection to the Broncos than you do.
MV: Oh, yeah. I know for a fact that they’ve both seen the uniforms.
UW: Once you check in with them about Brady2024’s post, will you get back to me and tell me what they said?
MV: Sure — I’ll keep you in the loop. I literally just want people to have access to information that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
And that’s where we left it. Obviously, none of this confirms or guarantees any of the info that Vetanze tweeted, but at least it provides a bit more context. If I hear more from him, or from anyone else with worthwhile information on the Broncos’ new uni set, I’ll share it here on Uni Watch.
Speaking of which: Brady2024, if you’re reading this, I’d love to hear from you. Anonymity assured, of course.