1. Now that the whole world has chimed in on the Richard Sherman incident, I just thought I would add a cent or two. Given that his tip and the ensuing interception closed out the game, Richard Sherman was in full swag mode, with the adrenaline and euphoria from winning such a huge game pulsing through his body. Was there any mystery surrounding which player Erin Andrews and Ed Werder were going to try and get for the postgame interviews? I was cringing when the booth sent it down to field before the whole thing even went down. I was sitting farther forward in my seat at that moment than I was than during the play itself. I wonder...do you think that was in the backs of any minds at the network? I don't consider myself a Richard Sherman apologist, but I don't agree with the entirety of the negative reaction from his postgame rants. In the grand scheme of things, his actions were both highly entertaining as well as a shining example to all on perhaps what NOT to do in that moment.
2. Richard Sherman is a grown man and has never shied away from owning his antics. Based on his widely reported intelligence (seriously, does every report about Sherman have to start with his Stanford GPA?), as well as on his own admission, most of his actions are very deliberate. We know that Sherman and Crabtree have some history both on and off the field. There was no way--NO WAY--that Sherman was going to be 60 seconds removed from tipping a game-winning touchdown away from Crabtree and not discuss it using his own unique brand of talk. I am not suggesting that it is unfair to stick a microphone in front of someone's face in a moment like this. That is the gig. That is what comes with the territory of being an NFL player. Guys handle it in...classier...ways every Sunday.
3. Let's be clear--Sherman came off as a guy with very little class in that moment. The lack of sportsmanship in that sequence was shocking, but you have to peel the onion a little bit more before crucifying a guy for saying a few pointed words. Casual fans who might not know as much about Sherman or the Seahawks left that telecast with contempt for the way in which Sherman handled his business, and it has colored the way in which COUNTLESS NFL fans are now viewing the team. You can file that in the "Who cares?" column all you want, but when you think of the warm and fuzzy nature of the "12th Man" pageantry and the manner in which that whole part of the world has banded together behind this team, it was--at best--unfortunate that Sherman's actions muddied that water.
4. The truth is that we would not even be having this conversation if Crabtree hadn't shoved Sherman's face. We saw Sherman pat Crabtree on the butt and extend his hand for a shake. That said, the whole world knows all about Richard Sherman. In that moment, at that second, there was only one way any attempted interaction between the two was going to go down. Even if you want to believe there was some attempted sportsmanship from Sherman, there was simply way too much going on for Crabtree to all of a sudden embrace anything coming from the Seahawks' cornerback. That was entrapment, in my opinion. If there was any part of the incident that exhibited Sherman's true intellect the most, it was the way in which he set up Crabtree to light the fuse. I liken it to a Chatty Cathy doll tricking someone into pulling her string to make her talk. I don't believe for a second that Richard Sherman expected anything other than the reaction he got from Crabtree. Not too diabolical, eh?
5. I can honestly say that I have no problem with the whole episode. It was grand theater. It was entertainment. I love how shocked and upset people have gotten over it. Sherman's words are on him, and he has proven that he will stand by his talk. You can argue that the menacing manner in which he shouted at America through the camera did little to cast the NFL in a positive light, but that is where I think the real genius of Richard Sherman shines through. We're talking about a guy who has been outspoken about the way in which the league has watered down the physicality in his area of the field. We're talking about a guy who has been outspoken about what the role of the commissioner should be when it comes to the style of play that Sherman prefers. He is not allowed to assault receivers in perhaps the fashion he would like during games, but in postgame interviews, there are no rules about how hard you can hit an opposing receiver (you know what I mean). With his helmet in his hand and a microphone in front of his face--just moments after he put his signature on the game--Richard Sherman was extremely comfortable.
6. Talk about a made-for-Media Day situation. Do you have any doubt as to who is going to get the largest amount of reporters at his spot that day? Do you have any doubt that Richard Sherman doesn't think about stuff like that? It will suck for his teammates for the next two weeks as they have to answer questions about the cornerback. His apology today will do a little to defuse that bomb, but when it comes to light bulbs, there is no unscrewing that pregnant lady. Notice I have not made the excuse that his talk is/was warranted because he backs it up on the field. That doesn't matter to me. If he wasn't as good of a player, I would be just as entertained, and the story would just be getting told differently. Every NFL player thinks he is the best. If he doesn't, it will show up on film. The game is too guttural and primitive on some levels for there to be any shock in any of us when emotion spills out the way it did on Sunday night. I find myself drawn to the Seattle Seahawks defense. I think watching them play is must-see television. There are better ways to handle your business than the manner in which Sherman handled his, but let's keep some perspective. As a fan of the NFL and the buildup to what should be a very good Super Bowl, I think everything has transpired just the way it needed to--and perhaps just the way Richard Sherman intended from the outset.