Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com NFL columnist Ashley Fox stops by to chat.
Fox joined ESPN.com in 2011 after 11 years as a writer and columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered the National Football League, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia 76ers. She also has worked at the Louisville Courier-Journal and Sports Illustrated. A North Carolina native, Fox lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, daughter and son.
Send your questions now and join Fox on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:59 PM)
Hang on folks. Ashley had something pop up, so she's going to be delayed getting to the chat today.
Ashley Fox (4:18 PM)
Sorry for the delay, folks. Thanks for hanging in. Big week as we gear up for Broncos-Seahawks. Let's go.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Ashley, With Super Bowl 48 just weeks away and NJ / NY area sitting in single digit temperatures and wind chills at minus double digits will this be the only outdoor - cold weather Super Bowl ever played?
Ashley Fox (4:20 PM)
Yes. First ever outdoor cold weather Super Bowl. And the NFL is hoping and praying that a storm won't hit like the one that pummeled the Northeast yesterday. I'm in suburban Philly and we got nearly 14 inches and temperatures aren't supposed to rise above freezing until February. It's a problem. The league continues to monitor the forecast, but they can't change it. They wanted a Super Bowl in NY/NJ and now they have to deal with the potential weather-related problems.
Ed (Queens Village)
What is your favorite and not so favorite part of covering a Super Bowl?
Ashley Fox (4:23 PM)
My favorite part, by far, is the game itself. After two weeks of buildup and hype, it is a relief when there is actual football to cover. My least favorite part is Media Day on Tuesday. There's a lot of foolishness that goes on there, "reporters" dressed in ridiculous outfits -- a wedding dress, in one case. It's not great. Also, with so many media covering the event, it is hard to get unique access or to have conversations with players. So that's what I like least.
Mike P (Greater KC Metro)
Would you rather be the Browns head coach or the starting QB for the Jaguars? Both equally have lots of upside and have been a revolving door lately
Ashley Fox (4:24 PM)
That's a great question. I'm not sure I can pick. Given what happened in Cleveland, the Jaguars quarterback probably has greater job security. So that might be the way to go.
Justin (Kingsport, TN)
Can Seattle's pass rush put any pressure on Peyton Manning? In the playoffs he has not been pressured at all.
Ashley Fox (4:27 PM)
They're going to try. This is the best defense, statistically, since the 1985 Bears. Seattle has a great front seven with a variety of guys who can rush the passer. And then on the back end they have the best secondary in the league, including two talented (and vastly) different safeties. One of the Seahawks said they think Kam Chancellor is the hardest hitting safety in the league. So yes, I think they can put pressure on Manning.
What's your opinion of a potential cold weather Super Bowl?
Ashley Fox (4:28 PM)
I don't love it. This is the league's premier game and one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The league opted to play the other 47 Super Bowls in close to ideal conditions. I don't see why the need to pivot now just to appease the owners who built that stadium.
Well it's obvious who will win the Denver game, now were onto the Seattle Denver match up,, what do you think?
Ashley Fox (4:31 PM)
It looks like there are some old questions in the queue here. Not sure why that is. Anyway, I love this matchup of two different philosophies on how you win in this era of the NFL. I'm not ready to make a prediction yet. That will likely come next Friday in my annual Super Bowl predictions column. But I think Seattle is better suited to win a game in the cold, with a strong running game and a dominant defense.
I think the Super Bowl is going to be awesome on TV, and that's what matters. You might not think there will be another cold-weather Super Bowl, but if the fans like it, then it will happen. Imagine the picturesque snow and scene around the stadium and Manhattan; the visible breaths of the players as they tire; and the added difficulty level of the final game of the season giving them even more pride in playing (presumably). Yes, it is tough for the media and fair-weather fans with the financial ability to go to the game, and to that end, I am OK with potential ticket prices dropping that would allow the die-hard fan to be able to go. It will be must-see TV, and that's king.
Ashley Fox (4:32 PM)
A snowy Super Bowl would be picturesque, that's for sure. The Philadelphia-Detroit game certainly was earlier this year. But it wasn't great football. And that's what I want to see more than anything in the Super Bowl. That's just me.
Gary Green (virginia)
All the hype is on Sherman. He made a great defensive play but its the guy that intercepted the ball that won the 49's vs. Seahawks game.
Ashley Fox (4:34 PM)
Malcolm Smith made a great, great play being in position to intercept that ball, and that has gotten lost in the Sherman noise. The Seahawks coaches teach exactly what Smith did: Continue pursuing the football. Smith was in perfect position and made a huge, huge play. He hasn't gotten nearly enough credit for that.
Mike P (Greater KC Metro)
Both Super Bowl teams are west of the Mississippi River, In the last two continental time zones and are not in the top 20 for population (Seattle 22nd, Denver 23rd) yet they are the two best teams this year. Is this what the NFL wanted for its premire outdoor Super Bowl in terms of Teams and Storylines?
Ashley Fox (4:37 PM)
I think they're happy with the matchup. I think they would've been happy with any of the four remaining teams. There are great story lines with both the Broncos and Seahawks. Obviously Peyton Manning is going to be a huge storyline, since this is a legacy game for him. Russell Wilson in just his second year in the big game; he said today he went to last year's Super Bowl just to get a feel and sense of what it was like, because he thought the Seahawks might be there this year. Pete Carroll getting redemption in Seattle. John Elway getting to the SB as an exec. That's just scratching at the surface.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Ashley, Recent consecutive appearances to the Super Bowl have been Buffalo Bills [1990-1993] Denver Broncos [1997-1998] and New England [2003-2004], who'll be back next year Denver or Seattle?
Ashley Fox (4:40 PM)
It's always hard to predict given turnover, injuries and parity in the league. I think the needle is pointing up for the Seahawks, especially given the fact that they have money to spend on positions other than quarterback because Wilson is so young. I also think Manning makes Denver a legitimate SB contender as long as he continues to play (and yes, I think he comes back next season). So I could really see either making it.
If you had to predict 10 years from now, out of Foles, Kap, Luck, Wilson, and RG3 where they would all rank compared to each other how would the list look?
Ashley Fox (4:43 PM)
What's the criteria? Stats? Wins? Super Bowls? Kaepernick and Wilson are ahead of the game in terms of playoff success. Kaepernick got exposed a little on Sunday, but he has a lot of positive attributes. Wilson is a winner. Luck has a high ceiling. Foles was steady. Griffin has a lot to prove moving forward.
Yes the Super Bowl is in New Jersey...thus they should show the New Jersey skyline and the Giants and Jets should both start with New Jersey. Man, that state gets beaten up every day!
Ashley Fox (4:44 PM)
It does. But Jersey is going to get pub -- and dollars -- next week. Both teams are staying in New Jersey. Media Day is in New Jersey. The game is in New Jersey. Did I say New Jersey enough?
Ashley, what is your personal opinion on possibly changing the extra point to a different format because apparently not enough teams are missing it so i think they should move the attempt back but whats your opinion?
Ashley Fox (4:45 PM)
I'm not as offended by the extra point as others are. What's the big deal? It's a gimme point. It's always been a gimme point. That's kind of the reward for scoring a touchdown in the first place. If you move it back too far then you're making it a field goal. I would leave it alone.
Hey Ashley,What do you think the Rams #2 overall pick would cost?
Ashley Fox (4:47 PM)
Probably two 1s. The Rams love where they're sitting right now with their draft picks, but you can always have more, right? They should be pretty well stocked after this draft. Need to get some starters out of the deal, but they should be able to get several.
Bob (Aurora) [via mobile]
Ashley, has Chris Clark made himself some money in free agency protecting Peyton Manning's blindside after taking over for Ryan Clady?
Ashley Fox (4:49 PM)
He's a great story. No one will ever confuse Clark with Ryan Clady, but he has done a serviceable job and shown that he is a starter in this league. Just ask Atlanta what can happen when an offensive lineman goes down and you don't have an adequate replacement. The results can be disastrous. Clark has done a good job and helped keep Manning relatively clean all season. He will have his biggest test yet against Seattle.
John (Mass )
Afternoon Ashley! Think Lynch has a Monster SB?!! thanks
Ashley Fox (4:52 PM)
Yes, I do. The Seahawks will ask a lot of him I would imagine. And we've seen it time after time. The guy is impossible to bring down. He's one of the best backs in the league. He's strong and fast and resilient. And Seattle is going to give him the ball. They are most successful when Wilson throws less than 25 times a game. The Seahawks win with a great defense and by running the ball. I don't expect that plan to change.
John (Los Angeles)
Fans of P.Manning should be hoping for wind and snow at the Super Bowl. Because IF P.Manning can win the game in those conditions, there would be a basis for arguing that his big stats weren't primarily a product of the comfy dome he spent much of his career in.
Ashley Fox (4:53 PM)
This is true. That would shut everybody up forever. Case closed.
Great football is obviously necessary; the NFL, first and foremost, wants to put out a quality product. That said, the Super Bowl consistently generates great football probably because the final participants are either among the very best teams overall or the ones playing the best at the end. The variability of weather as a factor adds to the intrigue; there have been good games played in bad weather. Detroit and Philly are good, but flawed, teams. They have their moments, but are inconsistent in general. Weather as an excuse for poor play? I'm not sure I buy that completely. Denver and Seattle are not only among the best teams this year, but also among the most consistent. Their Super Bowl appearances are no accident. Chances are likely that it'll be a good game either way, and if it isn't, for whatever reason, then to automatically pin this as a direct result of bad weather (or cold, or what-have-you) does a disservice to the geographically cold areas that would love to have the opportunity to host a game of that magnitude.
Ashley Fox (4:55 PM)
I hear that. I still want the Super Bowl played in as close to ideal conditions as possible. But you're right that if this game is good and weather isn't much of a factor, other cold-weather cities will be jumping in to try to host the event in the future.
Ashley,Why are all the QB's that are good like Wilson not a high draft pick but all the top draft picks don't turn out very well or at least takes them awhile such as Newton?
Ashley Fox (4:57 PM)
That's a pretty sweeping statement that isn't exactly accurate. Wilson slipped primarily because of his size. He's proven to be so much more than that one statistic about his height. Newton is in Year 3. That's not that long.
Mike P (Greater KC Metro)
Do you watch hard knocks and what do you think of the potential candidates for this coming up training camp
Ashley Fox (4:58 PM)
I love Hard Knocks. I need to refresh my memory on the new "rules" for Hard Knocks on how teams can avoid it. I think playoff teams are exempt, right? Personally, I'd love to see Philadelphia on it, because so much of what Chip Kelly is doing is cloaked in secrecy. Would love to have the curtain pulled back on them just a bit.
John (Los Angeles)
The number of Super Bowl titles for Belichick/Brady before Spygate = 3 in 7 years. The number of Super Bowl titles for Belichick/Brady after Spygate = still 0, in 7 years and counting.
Ashley Fox (4:59 PM)
This is true. Coincidence?
Ashley Fox (4:59 PM)
Alright folks. Thanks for the chat. Sorry it was an abbreviated version. We'll do it again next week from the NJ/NY Super Bowl. Have a great rest of the week.