NEW YORK -- **Friday morning in New York, Broncos Head Coach John Fox and Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the media in a joint press conference.
Among the topics broached in the session was the matchup everyone is looking forward to -- the No. 1 offense in the NFL versus the No. 1 defense in the NFL.
"I think a lot has been made of that and rightfully so," Fox said. "Both sides have been fairly historic in what they've accomplished; I'm talking about Seattle's defense and I'm talking about our offense. We both have great pride. I'll let Pete speak to his, but I know I've got great pride in our offense and what it has put forth this year. At the end of the day, it's a team game. I remind everybody that there's three phases of the game and my experience, in whether it's been one of these games or any big spot, is who executes the best and who performs the best.
"Obviously, your star players have to be great in championship games. There have not been very many championships in any sport where your big players didn't play big. There always seems to be the unknown guy that makes a critical play, whether it's in the kicking game. Lord knows where it's going to come from. My experience has been that there's (always) been one of those events. I think you express that to your team and they understand that this is a performance-based business and you do your best to prepare them and get their minds' right. I think it's going to be a total team effort, at least in my view."
Carroll said he "couldn't agree more."
"It's obvious that there's an attraction to the defense and the offense is a logical matchup to look for, but this game is going to be involving so many different aspects of it," Carroll echoed. "It will be interesting to see if that is the story. Is it our defense versus their offense? I really don't believe that's what it's going to be. Like John thinks, there's so many aspects to this. There's so many phases that will contribute. It will be wonderful to see what the storyline is afterwards."
In fact, so much focus on the Broncos' offense and the Seahawks' defense could have an effect on the other sides of the ball.
"There is a little bit of an undercurrent," Carroll said. "Our offensive guys are thinking about it, too. I'm sure his defensive guys are thinking about it, too. They want to be part of this whole factor. There's going to be a lot of guys battling. It's going to be exciting to see the story. For us, it is pretty obvious that we have this enormous challenge of this great season that (Denver's offense) has had and (quarterback) Peyton (Manning) and all that he was able to accomplish. Nobody has really slowed them down. We take that as a big challenge to us, but the game is going so many different ways. We don't know which way it's going to be bounce, but it's probably going to be about someone taking care of the football better than the other and we'll see how that turns out."
One of the more interesting questions of the entire press conference came directly after that discussion. If Fox were to pick one aspect of the Seahawks' team to put on the Broncos -- and vice versa, if Carroll could take a part of the Broncos and put it on his Seattle club -- what would it be?
"You can't slight your own team," Fox said. "Any time you look at an opponent, there's things that you admire about what that they do. I'll leave it just to admiration, not what I'd want to have. Being a defensive coach, I have a little pertinence to the defense. They have very good speed. They really have a stable of rushers that do an outstanding job; they cause havoc. On the back end, they probably have the most talented secondary in the league. I'm talking about across the board, not just one guy. They have great length, great speed."
Fox said he has an admiration for what Seahawks General Manager John Schneider and Carroll have done with the roster, and praised quarterback Russell Wilson for being a "tremendous competitor."
Carroll, on the other side, had a quick answer.
"We'd like to have their points," he smiled, looking toward Fox. "How many points did you score, like 800? If we had those points, our defense could play pretty well. That would help us. They have an incredible football team. The fact that they've been so consistent and so on top of this, we really talk about how close they were to being undefeated this year. That's because of their tremendous strengths and the well-rounded football team that they are. I wish I had the altitude when our kickers were kicking. We'd kick it a little farther, and it would go a little truer. We'd like that. We would be wrong not to recognize what a tremendous football season (Denver) has had and the team they've had.
"We just like the results of winning, and they're truly a winning football team and a winning program. John (Fox) has always been able to do that. That's something we all admire."