Having taken some time to digest Sunday's Richard Sherman incident, I've come to one, singular conclusion: In the waning moments of Sunday's NFC Championship game, and in the minutes and seconds that followed, Richard Sherman was both the aggressor, and the victim...and all based upon his own doing.
He's a unique guy, has a big, colorful personality, and in many ways, he can be a refreshing alternative to the aloof, unapproachable modern athlete, as he exhibited in his good-natured elbow-rubbing with fans before last season's Super Bowl.
He started as a wide receiver a Stanford, but did not mesh well with Jim Harbaugh, a sub-plot that added yet another layer to Sunday's tilt. He converted to defensive back to get on the field and blossomed.
He's very talented, very athletic, and came up big in a big spot. But offering the "choke" sign (hands to throat) is classless and takes away from his effort. On the play, no one choked, certainly not Michael Crabtree. Sherman simply made a great individual, athletic play. If anything, the ball was slightly under-thrown.
For years, Sherman's been claiming he's the best DB in the NFL. If he isn't, he's one of them. But anytime you expend volumes of energy spouting off that you're the "best" anything, it actually detracts from your place in the pantheon. The true "best" don't have to run around saying it.
Certainly there are exceptions, but for every Muhammad Ali—who appropriately crowed, "I am the Greatest!"—there are a handful of niche performers looking to force their way atop a very specific list. Being the best cover corner in the NFL, over a span of what will likely amount to less than half a decade, is hardly the equivalent of being the single most dominating boxer to ever shove his hands into leather mittens.
Now, as for his Sherman's live "rant" to Erin Andrews post-game...
Essentially, it was the epitome of classless and graceless acts.
I'm all for a guy showing personality. And the cliche-dripping post-game sound bite that normally features talk of taking "one play at a time" with "backs against the wall" as part of a "total team effort" is nothing if not boring, and tired. It is such moments that draw the ire of fans and have many viewers questioning the role of the sideline reporter to begin with.
That said, Sherman came off as angry, undistinguished and entirely selfish. He quickly became his own worst enemy, in that people instantly stopped praising the great football play he made that essentially sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowl, instead immediately focusing on his personal attack aimed at Crabtree.
I know that by the nature of the position, defensive backs are some of sports' most flamboyant guys, whose jobs depend upon long levels of self-confidence, and shorter memories. It's the nature of the beast. But by going Randy "Macho Man" Savage in his chat with FOX's Andrews, Sherman took away from his own excellence, his team's win and the magnitude of the moment, instead choosing to launch a personal attack on Crabtree.
Self-indulgent back-patting happens, but it should be sprinkled in as seasoning along with team pride and respect for the game, as opposed to being the entire entree.
Richard Sherman took his own moment and sullied it. He could have made better use of his time, and we'd have all been better for it.