Richard Sherman, the all-star cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, went on an adrenaline-driven rant in a post-game interview with Fox's Erin Andrews Sunday. Yahoo Sports reported Jan. 19 that said rant followed a last-minute pass deflection by Sherman himself, a live ball that ended up in a teammate's hands (Malcolm Smith) for a game-ending interception. And although Sherman's excitement could be understood, his egotistical and belligerent shouting might have made all but diehard Seahawks fans Broncos supporters for the upcoming Superbowl.
"I'm the best corner in the game!" Sherman shouted into Erin Andrews' proffered microphone. "When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's what you're going to get. Don't you ever talk about me!"
Andrews deserves credit for not ducking and diving. Instead, she asked Sherman who he was talking about.
"Crabtree!" Sherman replied. "Don't you open your mouth about the best. Or I'm going to shut it for you real quick!”
Although some thought Sherman may have directed his "shut up" comment at Andrews, it appears that he was directing his comments at San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree also happened to be the receiver Sherman deflected the football from to set up the interception.
He added icing to the interception cake by making a choking gesture as he left the field, a move that didn't go unnoticed by the referees. It prompted an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
But in another post-game interview recounted by USA Today, a much more tame Richard Sherman said the choking gesture wasn't meant for Miichael Crabtree. Some thought it may have been directed at San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh, but Sherman said that wasn't the case, either. He meant it for Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers quarterback who had thrown the interception.
Sherman and Kaerpernick had exchanged words during the game as well...
Sherman's wild-eyed game's end rant became the topic of much debate following the Seahawks' win. Egotism and outright disrespect for an opponent is something rarely seen and in a society that values good sportsmanship and humility in victory, Sherman set a poor example. In fact, his obnoxious behavior may have been enough to push fence-riding NFL fans to support the Denver Broncos in the Superbowl. It may have been enough to send a few Seahawks supporters into the Broncos camp as well.
The Broncos, led by quarterback Peyton Manning, won a berth in Superbowl XLVIII by defeating the New England Patriots prior to the Seahawks-49ers game.
With an ego like Sherman's, it is doubtful that turning off potential fans bothers him. And as for putting a muzzle on himself in the future -- not going to happen.
In the press conference following the game, Sherman said that Michael Crabtree "knows I'm going to be tough on him for the rest of his career."
He also apologized to Erin Andrews.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said, according to the Associated Press (via Yahoo Sports), he took Sherman aside on Monday, letting him know that his actions at the end of and immediately following the game had overshadowed the team's accomplishment of getting to the Superbowl. Instead of everyone talking about the win over San Francisco, everyone was talking about Sherman and his rant.
Richard Sherman is one of the most respected defensive football players in the NFL. For his playing prowess. His over-the-top verbal assaults on his opponents during games are a topic that gets plenty attention. While many find them childish and unnecessary, some defend Sherman by noting that its part of the game, a more psychological side where words are used to distract, intimidate, and/or provoke an opponent.
Still, posturing, insults, and self-adulation are not the most becoming of traits. Put on full display on national television, it likely doesn't win one many fans, either -- even the temporary kind that support you for only a single game like the Superbowl.
It would be interesting to know just how many people became Denver Broncos supporters following Richard Sherman's rant after the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. By the quickness with which sideline analyst Erin Andrews ended the interview and sent it back to the game's announcers, she may have been the first of many.