John Fox not only stood on the sideline during Super Bowl XLVIII, the Denver Broncos’ coach has reviewed his team’s 43-8 loss to the Seahawks several times since that long Sunday night at MetLife Stadium earlier this month.
So you knew Fox would be asked about the bitter end to the Broncos’ record-breaking season Thursday when he took his turn at the podium during the NFL Scouting Combine.
“First of all, I’d give Seattle tremendous credit for playing very well, and playing better than we did,” Fox said in the media center at Lucas Oil Stadium. “We were capable of playing better. Not taking anything away from them, because they had a lot to do with it.”
As impressive as the performance was from the Seahawks’ perspective – which was way-over-the-top impressive – it was that disappointing for the coach of a team that had scored 606 points during the regular season, the highest total in the 94-year history of the NFL.
And that is the word Fox selected for his bottom-line assessment.
“It was disappointing that we didn’t play better,” he said. “I thought we had a great season and unfortunately did not have our best effort in the last game.”
While a Seahawks defense that ranked No. 1 in the league in average points, yards and passing yards allowed, as well as interceptions and turnovers, did. The Seahawks forced four turnovers and held the Broncos to 27 rushing yards. And the run-after-the-catch aspect that was so pivotal to Peyton Manning setting single-season records for passing yards and touchdown passes spent the game running into strong safety Kam Chancellor and linebackers Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith, the Super Bowl MVP. After fashioning a 115.1 passer rating during the regular season, Manning’s rating in the Super Bowl was 73.5.
“I played in the Super Bowl in 2000,” said Fox, who was then the defensive coordinator of the N.Y. Giants. “We played the Baltimore Ravens, which record-wise is probably the best defense ever in the league.”
Back to the matchup against the Seahawks, Fox added, “That game was a little similar. But they are very talented. They’ve got good speed. You don’t trot through the NFL regular season being the best defense in the league for nothing.
“They’re very good.”
Super good, you might say.