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Seahawks: Sherman is shades of Alexander, Payton and Bosworth

Cornerback Richard Sherman reacts after creating a game-clinching interception against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday
Cornerback Richard Sherman reacts after creating a game-clinching interception against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

In January 2005, as the Seahawks celebrated a victory over the Atlanta Falcons that gave them the NFC West title, one Seattle player decided to make it about him.

Shaun Alexander claimed he was "stabbed in the back" by coach Mike Holmgren, who called a QB sneak on the goal line late in the fourth quarter and unintentionally deprived Alexander of the one yard he would have needed to claim a share of the rushing title for the 2004 season.

Nine years later, as the Seahawks celebrated a victory over the San Francisco 49ers that sent them to the Super Bowl, another Seattle player unfortunately decided to make it about him -- in a smaller way but on a bigger stage.

Richard Sherman wasn't ripping his own coach, but he used the postgame TV interview Sunday to continue the trash talk that apparently had been going on all game by calling 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree a "sorry" receiver and reminding everyone that he is the best cornerback in the league.

It was a visceral moment, to be sure, as it looked like Sherman was going to jump out of the TV. It brought new meaning to Sherman's own phrase, "You mad, bro?" But for those who have watched Sherman talk for the past two years, it was hardly worth the firestorm that followed.

Because we live in a society full of gossips, drama queens and hypersensitive hypocrites, a bunch of bleating sheep -- including FOX's producers, who abruptly ended the interview -- were somehow offended by Sherman's comically crazed outburst.

(As for the racist chuckleheads who brainlessly called Sherman a monkey, do you think they even realized the irony of their idiocy -- i.e., they are the ones who have yet to evolve?)

Sure, Sherman's comments were self-serving, narcissistic and out of whack based on the significance of the moment, but what do you expect from a guy who is a cross between Gary Payton and Brian Bosworth?

As I wrote a year ago, Sherman is the new Payton.

He's the Seattle player everyone else loves to hate -- even Seattle fans would hate these guys if they weren't Seattle players.

Payton was the garrulous Glove, perennial first-team defender and one-time defensive player of the year who was just as likely to get into an opponent's head as he was to get into his back pocket. Sherman does the same thing.

Not since Payton has Seattle, typically a mild-mannered sports city, seen a trash talker of that caliber who also had All-Star skills to back it up.

Sherman and Payton also are Seattle's best examples of this axiom: Putting microphones in front of athletes is generally a fruitless exercise -- made even more bananas by the inane questions asked of those athletes.

The hypocrisy of the media and many fans is that they live for controversy and yet vilify the very athletes who give them what they beg for.

And you can bet the salaries of Screamin' A. Smith, Dip Bayless and the rest of ESPN's toothless talking heads that the media and those gossip-loving fans will milk Sherman's rant for the next two weeks -- most making him out to be a villain.

Sherman doesn't mean to be the bad guy, but he often turns himself into one. It's the toxic combination of youthful naivete, brash confidence and elite talent. The Seahawks can only hope he is smart enough to avoid becoming Terrell Owens, Randy Moss or any of the other narcissistic NFL stars who tainted their careers by acting like fools and making pretty much everyone dislike them.

Of course, the so-called villains are often the best marketers. Bosworth was proof of that.

The Boz remains one of the most notorious players in NCAA history -- and one of the best marketing minds the NFL ever saw. He and his agent were so ingenious that they marketed Boz Buster T-shirts in Denver and made a killing off them (Seattle's offensive linemen even bought them before the game as a joke, but the joke was on them when Bosworth told them his company had made them).

Sherman is already starting to turn into a marketing machine, and his notoriety will only feed that. He reportedly has received several new endorsement offers since his controversial outburst Sunday.

The Boz would be proud. Coach Pete Carroll was not.

Carroll reminded Sherman that the game and season are not about him. Carroll told Sherman, "There is some stuff in there that I think you should think about. Did you really want it to come out the way that it did?"

Sherman said he regrets taking away from his team's shining moment, but that won't change the fact that he had his own Shaun Alexander moment Sunday, that he is Seattle's biggest trash talker since Gary Payton and that he is the Seahawks' biggest villain since the Boz.

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