The Super Bowl is set:
Richard Sherman vs. The World.
Seahawks vs. Broncos, too.
Sherman, Seattle’s star cornerback, was the NFL headliner Sunday, and not just because he rose and twisted in the air to bat a likely touchdown pass to San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree into the arms of a Seattle teammate to send the Seahawks to XLVIII.
No, it was the After Party that really rocked. It began right after the NFC title game, when Fox sideline reporter Erin Andrews, Tampa’s own, merely asked Sherman to take a national TV audience through the pivotal play. Sherman went pro wrestler on us. I laughed out loud.
“I’m the best corner in the game,” he shouted. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get. Don’t you ever talk about me.”
You hated him right then, didn’t you?
I love the guy.
Sherman said it was all about something Crabtree said when they were in Arizona last offseason (no details) and that the choke sign he gave the San Francisco sideline was more for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (well, that’s better). All of this, and more, Richard Sherman pointed out in the Monday entry of his regular column for Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback website.
His regular column?
Now I really love the guy.
New York gets it first Super Bowl and gets Richard Sherman, as performed by Richard Sherman.
Many have decided Sherman is a jerk, a Me guy.
Sherman might have sensed that wave Monday, so he apologized for his Crabtree comments and for “taking the attention away from the fantastic game by my teammates.”
It’s football. It’s entertainment.
We need to get a grip. We want these guys playing this violent game, crashing into each other, scrambling brains, but we jump them for how they get their emotional edge?
We’re appalled when someone doesn’t make nice when a microphone is shoved in his face right after a game, in the middle of the bedlam, his included. What do we need every time, a Masters green jacket ceremony?
Get over it.
Listen to Bucs cornerback and future Hall of Fame candidate Ronde Barber, whose career always spoke to quiet pride.
“Believe me, I had (the competitor) in me,” Barber said. “It just didn’t come out as brash and offensive. On some level, we’re all looking for something or someone to drive us. And Richard has many of those. He’s very vocal about all of it. That little heated competition with him and Crabtree was just one of them.”
This season, his first as a Fox Sports analyst, Barber interviewed Richard Sherman and sat in studio with him during the Seahawks’ bye week.
“He’s a bright guy,” Barber said. “He wasn’t what I was expecting. I don’t even know what I was expecting. If what happened Sunday had happened before I met him, I would have said, ‘What the hell, dude?’ But getting to know him, talking to him, it’s just who he is.
“He’s different. He’s different different. But it’s not malicious. Some guys say things and they’re angry. Richard says it and he’s messing around. ... Really, he talks a lot, but he’s kind of a humble dude. Serious.
“I don’t have to defend him. Nor do I need to crucify him. We’re not all built the same. What would the world look like if we were all like each other? It would be pretty boring and colorless, right?”
New York and its first Super Bowl are already decked out in never-say-die Good vs. Evil: Archie’s son Peyton, the polished, ageless passing machine, throwing at Richard Sherman, the newest guy people love to hate.
Only I don’t hate him. Serious.
Richard Sherman and football, they’re contact sports.
“So here we are, in the Super Bowl. New York-bound,” Sherman wrote in his Monday column. “There will be a lot of talking, but at this point, after 18 games, there’s nothing left to say.”
I find that very hard to believe.