Head coach John Fox of the Denver Broncos addresses the media on January 26, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HEAD COACH JOHN FOX
(opening statement) “Good evening everybody. I’m John Fox, head coach of the Denver Broncos. I just wanted to say it’s a pleasure and honor to be here in Jersey City. It’s great to be back in New Jersey. Any questions?”
(on putting last year’s playoff loss against Baltimore behind the team) “There’s no doubt it’s been a journey. It kind of started there. We had finished the season pretty strong a year ago. Very disappointed in the loss at home. We worked very hard in the regular season to be the number one seed. I would say that it was a fire in everybody’s belly, the whole offseason as we went through preseason and, really, as we started this season. We had mostly the core of our players returning, so a lot of them had that fire in their belly. There’s no doubt this team has been through a lot of injuries. I even went away for a month. It’s been a pretty tough mindset football team, and we’re excited about this opportunity.”
(on the Super Bowl being played in cold weather, and if strategy is at all affected) “Well, obviously the elements are something that’s a part of strategy. First of all, I spent five years with the Giants, so I understand the weather even though the weather has changed a little bit. I think in order to be a championship football team we’ve got to be weatherproof, and I think our football team played in all different elements this year. I feel comfortable with where we’re at as far as the elements, but it’s a part of the game. I think tradition-wise, it’s been a part of the league and a part of a lot of championships.”
(on whether the New York Jets’ outdoor practice field will be useable, and if Denver would consider using the indoor facility) “We practice there tomorrow. It will be my first look at it. It’s apparently new. It wasn’t around when I was here. They were still on the other side of the river. But I’ve heard great things about the facility. I heard it’s a phenomenal facility and, really, until we look at the fields, test the fields – we brought our grounds people. I understand the indoor facility is very much like ours except their field house is completed, which is a big difference. So we may or may not go in there. I’d prefer grass. It saves our players’ legs, but if need be we’ll go indoors or on their synthetic surface.”
(on how QB Peyton Manning makes his job easier) “I’ve been doing this for a while, almost a quarter of a century. I forget what year I was a head coach. I’ve been blessed to be around a lot of great players. He’s obviously is one of them. In my opinion, no question, a first-ballot Hall of Famer in some point. He’s a tremendous, tremendous player as well as a guy, as far as what he went through. It’s a pretty different injury that he experienced. To work back and to learn a new offense, learn a new football team, learn a new city and two years later be in the Super Bowl is pretty incredible. I hope that’s glowing enough.”
(on what he thinks about the No. 1 offense in the league going up against the No. 1 defense) “I think for the fans it’s an incredible matchup. Watching them and knowing Pete Carroll for many years, I’ve got the utmost respect. They’ve done a lot, the Seahawks, in a short period of time. I think it’s a tribute to their personnel people. Their whole team has done a heck of a job. Some people picked that way early in the season. For them to go through the late part of the season, crunch time, and be the No. 1 seed and fight through a tough division and tough conference and finish No. 1 in defense in just about every important category. And then on our side, being the No. 1 seed; I’m not sure exactly when that matchup has last happened, but I know it hasn’t been real recent. It should be a tremendous matchup, and it’s one we’re very excited about.”
(on what this game means for his legacy) “I hope to do this a lot longer. Partly through the season I wasn’t going to be doing it very long, but I think… I don’t know about all of that. I always like to wait until your body of work is done, and I think you’re going to have to ask Peyton as far as it relates to him. It’s very hard to get to this game and I think everybody involved… I’m sure their side and our side are very excited.”
(on how hard he was looking at Seattle QB Russell Wilson in the 2012 draft and what he thought of his leadership ability) “Well, Russell and I go back even further than that. I spent time in that part of the country when he was a quarterback at N.C. State with Tom O’Brien and his staff. So I actually got to meet him even when he was still in college at N.C. State, even before he transferred to Wisconsin. He’s a tremendous young man. What he’s accomplished in a very short time in our league doesn’t surprise me at all; just his makeup, his leadership ability and just the kind of competitor he is.”
(on how important Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno is to the gameplan) "Very important. You know, again, you strive for balance; it doesn't always work that way because the defense does dictate a little bit of that. Knowshon has been a tremendous teammate and a real bright spot to us not just in the running game, but as well as the passing game. We talk about skill and how important that is more so than talent, and the skill set is to be able to do all the parts of your job. That means pass protection, that means running the ball, understanding all that, and we have a guy understanding that's pretty demanding in those areas. So he's going to be a huge part of that game."
(on how far he has come since his surgery) "Well pretty far, I think my wife would attest to that; she nursed me for four weeks. You know, again, it was something I was born with, a bicuspid aortic valve. It was something I monitored, actually they found it here when I was working with the Giants in one of our annual physicals. But it was one of those things where it was going to have to get fixed at some point. If it hadn't happened kind of an emergency type of way about nine weeks ago, I'd be looking at having that like next week. So I'm glad it's over with. You know, I was very blessed, had a great team of doctors; I was in a familiar surrounding with docs and hospitals that I knew and trusted. You know, I thought it was pretty much like any injury of a player. I mean, I was going to be four to five weeks; I made it back a little early, worked hard to get back. Really once that started, I never really gave it a second thought. I had a plan and we executed the plan, and just like I tell players, sometimes setbacks are setups for better things to come."
(on making changes from his first Super Bowl experience) "Well you know the game itself, some of the logistics have changed some. You know you're always looking to tweak like every training camp, every week of practice; you name it, we look at it. That's what we do. Not really, I think you know it's a fine line, you want to enjoy yourself, but you've still got to focus really like all games regardless of this big stage or not. You still kick off, and you've still got to execute between those lines. So really kind of business as usual."
(on the health of Broncos K Matt Prater) "We put him in a little bubble (laughter). No, no, we really didn't. He feels much better. Our docs take good care of him. They've got plenty of fluid in him, he's got the right meds. Again, it's a virus, everybody gets it. He'll be fine come next Sunday."
(on if he sees the Super Bowl media attention as a distraction) "Look, I'm not going to get into anybody else; I've got enough trouble with our guys. But at the end of the day, each one of these games gets bigger. Once you get into the playoff season and you get to what we call the 'second season,’ I mean they get bigger every week and this is the biggest of the biggest. We call it 'noise,' and you've got to be able to drown that out, still focus on your job and your preparation. I think our guys have done an outstanding job."
(on his time with the New York Giants) "You know, I have some fond memories. That championship game back in 2000, I guess it might have been 2001 by then, I don't remember how they do that, but it was in a completely different stadium. They built a beautiful stadium and we were there earlier this year much like our opponent; they were there a little bit later this season. It's a great organization, tremendous families running the organization. Their head coach is probably one of the guys I look up to the most in this league. So I've got great memories about the organization. My sons went to school in Wayne, New Jersey and I watched them grow up, so I've got nothing but great memories here. It would mean a lot to win it anywhere, but it would be special here."
(on playing a team game) "You know, there's a lot can be made on each side of the ball. I'd like everybody to remember this is a team game, and the team that plays the best really in all three phases will win the game. I'm not saying who that's going to be, but there's different matchups in every game. We've experienced them, they've experienced them, and really it's going to be our team against their team."
(on what happened that necessitated his surgery) "Basically I wasn't getting any oxygen. It wasn't a heart attack; that was misreported. It's really called aortic stenosis, which is basically you're kind of smothering. It was more like suffocating than anything else. Luckily, I was able to get the blood flow perked up a little bit so I did get oxygen, and I was blessed to be around a couple of good friends and some good docs."