Fox, Carroll not so different after all

When Nate was a kid, he used to stay up late at night to wait for his dad to come home so they could play.

They'd wad up a pair of socks and play catch or throw a football around his bedroom.

"He's a goofball when he's at home," Nate says. "And when he's in front of everybody, he's got to tone it down. What you see is the toned-down version."

He is still learning, at 62, how to be forthcoming and open without saying too much. His comments on medicinal marijuana early in the week were still reverberating days later. Maybe, in the future, he'll seem a little more like Fox.

"One time, I met [Fox] in pregame," Nate says, "and [Carroll and Fox] were like buddies, like chums. They're very similar from what I can tell. He always says good things about John."

IF YOU HIRE FOX TO COACH YOUR DYSFUNCTIONAL ORGANIZATION, HE WON'T MAKE A BIG DEAL OF IT, BUT IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, YOU WON'T RECOGNIZE THE PLACE

Fox is called a resurrection coach because he rolls into scorched places and completely -- and quickly -- changes the landscape. In Carolina, he inherited a team that went 1-15 in 2001 and was even more repulsive off the field, with a gift for appearing on police blotters.

Within two years, he had the Panthers in the Super Bowl. Within months, he captured the love of the city. Denver was different, but the results were similar. The Broncos had the NFL's worst defense and a franchise in ruins when Fox arrived in 2011. That season, he took them to the playoffs with Tim Tebow at quarterback.

Now, the world looks different when you've got Peyton Manning at quarterback, and maybe that's where Fox gets lost in this Super Bowl. It is assumed this is Peyton's team, not Fox's. But anyone in the Broncos' facility knows Fox's influence.

People close to Fox say he inspires an entire organization by sheer will. He is engaged not only with his players, but everyone in the building -- the janitors, the cooks, the guys who cut the grass.

He's a workhorse, not a show horse.

"I love Coach Fox," Broncos receiver Eric Decker says. "He's a guy that you want to play hard for. We have a good relationship. He kind of has that father figure role as a head coach. An open-door policy. He makes you feel comfortable and confident.

"I think that's the best thing about him. He's a game manager. He's not going to get in the way of what coach [Adam] Gase is doing offensively or what coach [Jack] Del Rio is doing defensively. He's going to make sure that we prepared the right way every week. He's very consistent in that."

THERE'S NOTHING CARROLL LIKES MORE THAN BETTING CRAZY LONG SHOTS

Perhaps the biggest knock on Carroll is that he takes too many chances on players with questionable character. The Seahawks have had several players suspended this season for violations of the league's drug policy. One member of Seattle's famed "Legion of Boom" secondary, Brandon Browner, is currently serving an indefinite suspension.

But Rick Carr, a former police officer in California who serves as USC's director of security, says Carroll's intentions are noble. He believes in giving players second chances. When a player would get in trouble, Carroll called it a "teachable moment."

"He was all about redemption," Carr says.

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