As if they were enjoying a morning coffee together, Pete Carroll and John Fox fulfilled their final media obligations before the Super Bowl.
Relaxed, self-assured and even charming, the coaches of the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos answered questions for 30 minutes on Friday in New York, joking with each other and the audience.
No grumpy one-sentence responses. No agitated reactions to edgy queries.
Neither man seemed overwhelmed or even antsy about the biggest game of his life coming up on Sunday, even as they sat with the Vince Lombardi Trophy that is given to the NFL champion.
“I think it’s a pinnacle for probably everybody that does what we do,” said the 58-year-old Fox, who was with the Giants when they lost the 2001 Super Bowl to Baltimore, and led the Panthers there when they fell to New England in 2004.
“As Pete mentioned earlier, you take individuals and try to paint a picture of where you want to get to. Unlike different levels of football, there’s only one happy camper at that end. That’s going to be the team hoisting that trophy.”
Carroll has hoisted championship hardware, but in college with Southern Cal. This is his first trip to the big game – he had never even attended a Super Bowl before this one.
“The trophy really does symbolize the ultimate challenge and competitiveness in our sport and in our world of coaching or playing,” said the 62-yard-old Carroll.
Both coaches have defensive backgrounds, and they made note of that. Yes, the NFL has become a light-up-the-scoreboard league – and no team did it better than Fox’s Broncos, who scored 606 points this season.
But Fox and Carroll made their reputations as defensive coordinators before becoming head coaches. “You’ve got a couple old DB coaches here, and it’s interesting that’s how it turned out,” Carroll said. “It is an offensive era that we’re in, and with all the passing game it’s gone crazy. Maybe it’s fitting that we’ve been fighting our whole life trying to slow this thing down, and we get a chance to do it here on the biggest stage.”
Hawks hold final practice
With all hands healthy, the Seattle Seahawks held their final major practice for Sunday’s Super Bowl.
The Seahawks practiced for 77 minutes at the New York Giants practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J., opening the doors to simulate Sunday’s expected temperatures.
The NFC champions will hold a walk-through practice today.
Goodell addresses issues
Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed several current issues at his annual pre-Super Bowl news conference in New York. Among the topics of discussion was the idea of playoff expansion, the controversial Redskins moniker and the league’s pending concussion settlement.
Goodell says this offseason the league’s competition committee is expected to look into adding two teams to the playoffs. Each conference would add one playoff team, bringing the total from 12 to 14.
The commissioner also claimed the Washington Redskins nickname has been “presented in a way that honors Native Americans.” Goodell said the vast majority of Americans in general and Native Americans in particular support keeping the nickname. Asked if the term was appropriate to refer to a Native American, Goodell said, “This is the name of a football team.”
Goodell was also confident that the concussion settlement between the league and former players will be approved after U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody slowed down the proposed $765 million settlement, questioning if there’s enough money to cover 20,000 retired players. Goodell said the “settlement we reached can provide the kind of benefits intended, and I’m confident we’ll get there.”