If John Fox were built a little differently, this week would have a potential for ugliness.
Fox has spent this week artfully dodging questions of revenge.
"It's the most important game, because it's the next one," Fox told The Denver Post. "You don't get but 16 of these opportunities. Right now we're 5-3, and the only guarantee we have is 5-11. So, you know, it will be just like any week from the standpoint of it's the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers at their place. That's the only real thing I know."
Asked if he'd stick to the heavy coach-speak until kickoff, Fox confirmed as much: "Yes, put that in a quote and you'll hear it many times."
Fox kindly acknowledged the "great relationships" he built inside a Panthers organization that gave him his first head-coaching role in the NFL.
The A+ poker face has everything to do with the current landscape. Fox has moved on to playoff appearances and rubbing shoulders with Peyton Manning. The Panthers wander an abyss. Someone escaped just in time.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.