The Seattle Seahawks are no strangers to noise. Whether it be high expectations for the 2013 season, or the deafening sound of Century Link Field, the Seahawks hear it all. The lightning rod for all of this chatter is 6-foot-3 lockdown corner Richard Sherman.
Sherman busted onto the scene in 2011 when injuries to the secondary forced Pete Carroll to start his 5th round draft pick from Stanford. From there it was a barrage of swagger and passes being swatted down by his incredible reach. Sherman was quickly making a name for himself, but after ten games started and the Seahawks defense on their way to becoming elite, Sherm felt slighted because his teammates Earl Thomas, Brandon Browner, and Kam Chancellor all were selected to the Pro Bowl, while he was left out.
Hailing from Compton, where many don’t make it out, Sherman did, and to Palo Alto- becoming a Stanford Cardinal. So why not be brash, cocky, confident? He has already gotten out, he made it to the NFL, and now after converting from receiver to cornerback Sherman is at the top of his craft.
Outside of Seattle, many did not know of the growing legend of Richard Sherman. But don’t worry, he will tell you himself. His talents are unique: he possesses height, long arms, excellent technique in man-to-man press coverage, and his understanding of routes gives him an advantage.
2012 came and went, and it found Richard Sherman becoming a household name. But for the wrong reasons: ask any fan outside of Seattle and the words you will hear about Sherman will be “loud mouth” and “cheater”. Ask any Seattle fan and they will focus on the things he does on the field, using words like “all-pro” and “elite”.
It’s all about the persona the media has dug out for him. ESPN and NFL Network won’t talk about what he has done on the field, but rather who he has called out this week. He is the poster boy for talking trash, and the media feasts on it. He has no filter, but it is for himself to get up for a game. Reggie Miller used to talk more trash than anyone, but as he said, it wasn’t to get on TV after he retired or to make the headlines, it is a way for him to find an edge. It helped him focus and get up for the game. I believe it is the same for Sherman.
The list of players he called out and out-performed were impressive. The famous “U mad bro?” Tom Brady picture was one of the first coming out parties for Sherman in the national media, twitter blew up and Sherman immediately became a household name. The next one was changing his twitter name to “Optimus Prime”, the transformer who defeated Megatron (Calvin Johnson). Calvin had 3 catches for 46 yards vs Sherman, in a season where he set the single-season receiving yards record. This only added fuel to the fire. After making the playoffs and pulling off a comeback win vs the Redskins in Washington, it was apparent that Sherman was starting to get on opposing players nerves.
As many saw in the NFL Network’s mic’d up clips, Sherman was talking trash to Trent Williams and Pierre Garcon. Williams did not appreciate this and after the game he hit Sherman in the face. Sherman got him, hook, line, and sinker. Next week was Atlanta, meaning a new man for Sherman to call out. Roddy White and Sherman quickly struck up a rivalry, and although White beat Sherman for one big one, it was Sherman who defended 3-4 balls before getting beat. This was all non-Seattle fans saw of Sherman though. Being all the way out in the Pacific Northwest, the coverage isn’t extensive. So the only games many fans saw of Sherman was the playoff games, the Sunday night beat down of the 49ers, and the replacement-ref Green Bay game. Only one of those games really showed off the talent the 12th man gets to witness every week.
So when Sherman went to ESPN’s First Take to take down Skip Bayless, it sent mixed signals to who Sherman really was. After proclaiming to be better at life than Bayless, and calling him every name in the book, Sherman quickly made it clear who the bad boys of the NFL were. Adding to the fire Sherman was left off of the 2013 Pro Bowl roster, for the looming adderall suspension he beat, or just because many didn’t like him, his numbers deserved a spot in Honolulu. Sherman posted the best season by a corner since Charles Woodson in his Defensive Player of the Year award. Sherman accounted for 8 int, 3 forced fumbles, 24 passes defensed, a blocked fg, and 2 tds. Earning him a spot on first team all-pro team.
This only begged the question, is he the best corner in football? While he proclaimed it, some people did not agree. Including injured Darelle Revis. The two engaged in a twitter battle for the ages. While Sherman didn’t even acknowledge Revis to be in the discussion because of his torn ACL, Revis made the controversy about who had more twitter followers. Sherman delivered the knockout blow when he posted a picture of his stats to Revis and said a line that only Jay- Z would appreciate.
“Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.”
It was classic Sherman, and it allowed for his play to once again be praised, although it wasn’t. Once again it was made into a big deal about how Sherman is a loud mouth and Revis is still the best corner in the league.
It is clear that Sherman doesn’t need anymore to get him going, but I am sure that somewhere along the upcoming season we will hear of something else the polarizing Sherman said. It is who he is, the Seattle fan base loves him for that. He also is setting himself up for a nice career in broadcasting when he is done playing. He is a Stanford graduate with an extensive vocabulary and great personality, it is clear that being shy doesn’t get you on TV. Just ask Keyshawn Johnson, Cris Carter, Reggie Miller, Warren Sapp, Shannon Sharpe, and Charles Barkley. The NFL stands for the “not for long” league. While Sherman is just breaking onto the scene, it will not be last we have seen from this guy.