Why Richard Sherman Is Awesome

Richard Sherman went full heel after the NFC title game.
Richard Sherman went full heel after the NFC title game.
Photo by Jeffrey Beall

For an AFC and NFC Title Game weekend that I compared to Wrestlemania 3, the ending was entirely appropriate.

No, I'm not talking about Peyton Manning's (at the very least) evening the score and perhaps surpassing (certainly, giving himself a chance to surpass) Tom Brady in the "greatest of our generation" debate.

No, I'm not talking about Patriots coach Bill Belichick's accusing Wes Welker of taking out Pats cornerback Aqib Talib intentionally with a borderline hit in the AFC Title Game.

And no, I'm not talking about Colin Kaepernick's fourth quarter meltdown, which will be one of the first chapters of what is hopefully a fantastic "Kaepernick versus Wilson" follow up book to "Brady versus Manning."

Fantastic and, frankly, important storylines, all of them. But in the wake of a classic NFC Title Game and a redemption performance by Peyton Manning in the AFC Title Game, all anyone wanted to talk about was this...

Richard Sherman, ladies and gentlemen. Big mouth. Wrestling heel. Shit talker.

And I love him.

To call Richard Sherman's performance in the on-field post game on Sunday an "interview" isn't doing it justice. Interviews are measured, tactful, and (because of both of those adjectives) pretty damn boring. No, Sherman "cut a promo" on Crabtree, as they say in the business, and in the process embodied everything about the Seattle Seahawks' Legion of Boom defense that makes them great, everything that has them making the trip to New York next week.

Richard Sherman is one giant walking, squawking, ball hawking package of anger and fury. Whatever the proverbial "chip on the shoulder" is made of, that esoteric material constitutes the entire person of Richard Sherman. Even amidst respect, he is perpetually disrespected, in his mind. Even with his rare dimensions as a corner (Sherman is 6-foot-3), Sherman was a fifth round pick out of Stanford, ignored by the league and perhaps even blackballed by his college coach, who just so happens to be the guy whose hopes and dreams Sherman ended on Sunday, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.

So when the 49ers' Michael Crabtree, a first round bonus baby from the 2009 draft, is matched up against Sherman, with Crabtree saying whatever it is he says to cornerbacks around the league, Sherman's firing off about 18 seconds after the game, while still swimming in the heightened angst and glory of the victory, should be expected.

And frankly, Richard Sherman has earned the right to scream that Crabtree is mediocre, and that he is, in fact, the best. Because he is.   Predictably, Twitter and television were run amok with sanctimony after Sherman's performance (which he hammered home with more assessment of Crabtree's "mediocre" talent in the post game press conference, so we know Sherman is honest, if nothing else).

Richard Sherman is classless, Richard Sherman sets a horrible example for my children, Richard Sherman is a thug.

Let's start with the last one first. Richard Sherman is not a thug. Richard Sherman grew up in the Compton area of Los Angeles, where he was actually somewhat of a protected "bookworm" by the gangs in his area. He had their respect, and they knew he had the ability to get out of that area eventually.

And Sherman did get out. He could have gone to any number of colleges, but chose to go to Stanford because no one from his area had done that before. He graduated from Stanford, and returned to complete his eligibility so he could begin work on his Masters Degree.

So is Richard Sherman loud, boisterous, braggadocious? Indeed.

Thug? No.

As for Sherman's classlessness, perhaps his act was classless insomuch as I can't say that it was classy. I wouldn't say it was inappropriate, though. Hey look, we all have a different stomach for interviews like the one Sherman gave to Erin Andrews on Sunday, I get it. But a lot of you complaining to me (granted, it's in the small subset that is the Twitterverse) are the same people who complain about Gary Kubiak and the Texans being too bland.

Make up your mind. If you want players and coaches to recite the same ten or twelve "not really edgy, but just edgy enough to where they don't sound canned" answers for interviews, then why have interviews?

Sherman's emotion was real, it was raw, and it gave you a verbal exclamation point as to exactly what was going on down on the field that day. Every advancement that's been made in covering the game has been made to make the in home viewing experience more real to help satiate our voyeuristic tendencies when it comes to sports viewing.

You got to hear (minus some presumed curse words) exactly what the Richard Sherman Experience is like on the field. From that standpoint, tell me, how was Erin Andrews' interview of Sherman not a home run?

(By the way, side bar compliment here for Andrews, who went off script beautifully with her follow up question on "Who was talking about you?" and then was cut short by her producers at FOX, which would have been the worst decision made on that broadcast had the Gene Steratore's officiating crew not made 100 decisions during the game that were far worse.)

Finally, as for you people who claim that Richard Sherman's rant after the game somehow poisons your children's sports watching soul, my recommendation would be to use it as a teaching moment for how you don't want your child to act, if indeed you don't (which, by the way, I understand).

If that doesn't work, and somehow Sherman's act is preventing you from being able to watch football with your children, then all due respect, I would say the problem lies with your parenting process, not with Richard Sherman.

At some point, we will all refocus and realize that we have the best and most interesting Super Bowl matchup on paper since the Cowboys and Bills tilts in the early 90's. And if nothing else, Richard Sherman has saved us from two weeks worth of boring stories about the city of Omaha.

So yeah, Richard Sherman yelled. He screamed loudly and proudly that he is the best. It was great.

And the Super Bowl just got more interesting.

Is that such a bad thing?

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at

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