Fox: A star may not be Super

NEW YORK -- Beyond Peyton Manning, Champ Bailey, Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson, Super Bowl XLVIII may well be decided by a player from the ranks of the unexpected.

"My experience has been, whether it's been one of these or any game or in any big spot ... obviously your star players have to be great in championship games, and not very many championships are won in any sport where your big players didn't play big, but there always seems to be an unknown guy who makes a critical play," Denver Broncos coach John Fox said. "Whether it's in the kicking game, Lord knows where it's going to come from, but my experience has been that there's been one of those events."

Whether that's David Tyree catching a ball on the side of his helmet, or Antwaan Randle El throwing a touchdown pass, or linebacker Chuck Howley as the game's MVP despite playing on the losing team, Fox said folks should expect the unexpected Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

It's the nature of the game.

"Most of us have grown up with a Super Bowl memory moment,'' Fox said.

Fox and Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made their final public appearances Friday at a joint news conference in Manhattan. The two touched on a variety of topics, exchanged some good-natured comments and posed briefly for pictures with the Lombardi trophy.

Carroll talked of dealing with the expectations of being in this game throughout the season.

"Don't think you could ever get a team ready if you started talking about it a week before, two weeks before,'' Carroll said. "They do understand that this is a rare opportunity and that we have to handle this very well and find the humility so we can deal with it properly and play like we're capable. ... I'm really anxious to see how they handle game day when it comes around.''

Fox was asked about coming back from open heart surgery this season and compared it to having a "sprained ankle'' in terms of a recovery timetable from the doctors, to which Carroll said: "What a stud, comparing open heart surgery to an ankle sprain.''

The highlight of the session might have been Fox's response to a question about Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway having addressed the team following a preseason loss to the Seahawks in August.

"He lit into them pretty good,'' Fox said. "Hopefully, I can say pissed off on this, can't I? Hopefully he pissed them off a little bit.''

Carroll then deadpanned: "John, you can't say that.''

"My bad,'' Fox said.