NEW YORK — Peyton Manning has been to the Super Bowl twice, with one ring. Denver’s head coach, John Fox, guided the 2003 Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl.
The Broncos also have Wes Welker, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, all with Super Bowl experience.
The Seahawks do not have a single player or coach who has made it to the NFL’s ultimate stage before this week, the first team since the 1990 Bills with that distinction.
Or do they?
Asked about his team’s inexperience during a press conference Sunday night, an hour after his team stepped off the plane from Seattle, coach Pete Carroll declared that the Seahawks do in fact have a player who’s been through Super Bowl week — Ricardo Lockette.
The little-used receiver, who was with Seattle in 2011 and this season, was on the 49ers’ practice squad last year when San Francisco lost to Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII..
“We have heaps of experience,” Carroll joked.
But Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman believes that it won’t matter whether a team has navigated these waters before.
“Well, I’ve never seen experience play in a game, so we don’t worry about things like that,” Sherman said. “We didn’t have experience in the NFC Championship game either, and we did OK with that. Every game has tremendous impact and is of tremendous importance to us and I don’t think anything changes in that regard.”
But Welker, who went to two Super Bowls as a member of the Patriots, believes the knowledge that he and Manning and the few others have can be beneficial.
“I think to an extent, a little bit [it’s an advantage],” he said. “To expect how to prepare through the week and all the different obstacles you have to go through with tickets or anything else as far as logistics and that stuff, and understanding that.
“Going to the game and getting to the game is a little bit different and spending a whole week here, all that stuff. It is a little bit of an advantage. I wouldn’t say it’s a big one.”
While there will be a great deal of discussion this week about Manning’s future and whether he’ll play next year, Welker fielded a similar question.
Welker, who turns 33 in May and suffered two concussions during the regular season, gave a noncommittal answer.
“I think so,” he said about playing in 2014 and beyond. “We’ll see what happens. I’ve definitely been blessed with 10 more years than I ever thought I would play in the NFL. I’ll just keep on playing until they tell me I can’t anymore.”
Welker signed a two-year contract with Denver last March, which is slated to pay him $3 million in base salary plus a $3 million roster bonus; he also has $2 million of his $4 million signing bonus that will go against the ’14 salary cap.
Manning had several one-liners during his media session, and relayed a story from when Fox was away from the team in November while recovering from heart surgery.
“Probably one of the highlights during that time was maybe a week [after Fox’s surgery], we were in a team meeting, and we had a big screen, and we had a FaceTime chat with Coach Fox — he didn’t really know how to use it real well,” Manning quipped. “He was very up close, right into that camera, and I think it was his first FaceTime chat he had ever done.
“[But] it was good for the team to see him, and that was a special moment.”
Manning also joked about whether his brother, Eli, had offered any advice on playing the Seahawks. But as Peyton noted, “It wasn’t one of the Giants’ better days.”
Seattle beat the Giants, 23-0, at MetLife Stadium, and Eli Manning had five interceptions in that Week 15 game.
There’s no way any media member covering the Broncos’ opening session on Sunday evening did not know who the head coach of the team is, but that didn’t stop Fox from formally introducing himself when he went to the podium: “Good evening, everybody. I’m John Fox, head coach of the Denver Broncos,” he said in his gravelly voice. “I just wanted to say it’s a pleasure and honor to be here in Jersey City.” . . . Conversely, Carroll, who was head coach of the Jets in 1994 after serving four years as the team’s defensive coordinator, said it was great to be back in New York, only to have a city councilor in attendance remind him that he was in fact in New Jersey for the week. Carroll apologized, and said he certainly knew the difference.