Seattle Seahawks superstar cornerback Richard Sherman has been drawing his fair share of attention and criticism for his outspoken antics and audacious personality.
Now the Seahawks are going to Super Bowl XLVIII, seeking to knock off the team the New England Patriots and Tom Brady lost to in the AFC title game in the Denver Broncos.
Brady can at least somewhat relate to Sherman's competitive fire with his own on-field demeanor, being a late-round draft choice and thriving as one of the best at his position in the NFL.
However, the legendary signal-caller implied that Sherman didn't handle winning the right way during an appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday, Jan. 20, per NESN.com's Doug Kyed:
I don’t know him at all. I’ve watched him play. He’s that kind of guy. So, you know. I approach the game — and I have respect for my opponents. That’s the way our team always plays. We win with graciousness, and when we lose, we could do better. Some teams don’t always do that, or that’s not their program. The only way to counter that is to beat them. When you don’t win, it’s hard not to say — you just gotta shut your mouth and listen to it. Maybe when you get an opportunity down the road, maybe that’s a source of motivation. But they got a good team, they played well all year. They played well at home. And that’s why they advanced, too.
A 26-16 loss in Denver ended New England's valiant season, as Brady had to deal with a mediocre supporting cast and the defense suffered a slew of injuries. As usual, New England's patented style of not igniting controversy in the media left no interference in the wake of an epic 400-yard passing performance by Broncos QB Peyton Manning.
Sherman's key deflection in the closing seconds of Sunday's NFC Championship Game allowed Malcolm Smith to make a decisive interception in the Seahawks' 23-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
The former fifth-round pick out of Stanford went on a postgame tirade—the basis on which Brady commented—creating a polarizing reaction. Some praised Sherman for being authentic, while others were displeased with his outburst, which attacked Niners receiver Michael Crabtree:
There is a history between Sherman and Brady, as Kyed alludes to. When the Seahawks beat the Patriots 24-23 in 2012 at CenturyLink Field, Sherman ran up to Brady afterwards to talk trash.
The best way to silence Sherman is for opponents to simply beat him, as Brady states. Unfortunately for Sherman's detractors, it doesn't happen all that often, and he has made a case for himself as the best cornerback in the game in the process.
It's a title that Sherman lays claim to, but he acknowledges the help his teammates give him in garnering that self-proclaimed label, per his MMQB.com column from Monday, Jan. 20—in which he also suggested that people don't judge him for what he does on the field:
When I say I’m the best cornerback in football, it’s with a caveat: There isn’t a great defensive backfield in the NFL that doesn’t have a great front seven. Everything begins with pressure up front, and that’s what we get from our pass rushers every Sunday. To those who would call me a thug or worse because I show passion on a football field—don’t judge a person’s character by what they do between the lines. Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family.
Bear in mind that the 25-year-old is at a very early stage of his career and has plenty of time for his game and personality to continue developing. Perhaps he won't be as brash and outspoken as his playing days wear on.
But for now, Sherman is comfortable mixing it up, getting physical and dominating wide receivers across the league. He's also blocking out the criticism:
In facing the Broncos' No. 1 passing offense on Feb. 2 for the Lombardi Trophy, the end result will likely either be Sherman quieting down as Denver takes the win, or the Seahawks emerging victorious thanks to Sherman's ability as a shutdown corner.