CANTON, Ohio -- Vic Fangio's game-day debut as Denver Broncos coach did not go quite as smoothly Thursday as he had hoped, but even a kidney stone couldn't keep Fangio off the Broncos' sideline, as the team won its preseason opener 14-10 over the Atlanta Falcons in the Hall of Fame Game.
However, before the victory, Fangio had spent much of the day at a Cleveland-area hospital after experiencing abdominal pain in the early-morning hours.
"I went to sleep [Wednesday] night and about 1 o'clock [a.m.], I had some pain," Fangio said. "Woke me up. I thought it was an upset stomach. I was able to fall back to sleep for another hour, woke up again, and I knew it was not an upset stomach. I hung around until the meetings were over [Thursday morning] and had it checked out."
Fangio said he underwent a CT scan that revealed the stone and that the doctors had "guessed that's what it was and they were right."
The 60-year-old Fangio said he had a kidney stone once before, but this was the first time it has happened during the season. He said not coaching the game "was never in question," but that he did have about "a 20-minute, 40-minute time period when I didn't know if I'd make it."
Fangio arrived to the stadium about two hours before kickoff -- many of the team's players were already warming up on the field -- and was in his trademark gray sweatshirt by kickoff. Fangio calls the defensive plays for the Broncos and was active in that role throughout the game.
"[The pain] wasn't too bad -- by the time I left the hospital, things were under control," Fangio said. "I don't believe I've passed it yet, but it had done most of its traveling by the time I left there -- if you know anything about a kidney stone."
Fangio had showed no outward signs of dealing with a kidney stone this week in practice as the team went through its usual training camp schedule Monday and Tuesday before having a short walk-through Wednesday and traveling to Ohio. Fangio attended the team's tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday as well.
The team spent Wednesday night in the Cleveland area, which was why Fangio went to a hospital there.
Fangio's no-nonsense demeanor and his sense of humor have been a big hit with the players -- including an assessment after practice earlier this week when he looked at video to see if the team's offense really had a good day in practice or if it was "crappy play" by the defense.
Even after rookie quarterback Brett Rypien's 15-yard touchdown pass to fellow rookie Juwann Winfree with 1 minute, 26 seconds left to play gave the Broncos the win Thursday, Fangio tried to keep it all in perspective.
"Nobody's in there doing cheetah flips and cartwheels like they would in a regular-season game, but winning's cured more ills than penicillin," Fangio said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.