After unleashing one of the most epic rants in the history of professional sports, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman made plenty of enemies. Count San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick among them as he was less than complimentary of the man who sealed Seattle's trip to Super Bowl XLVIII.
In an exclusive interview with Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, Kaepernick trashed Sherman, who tipped a pass intended for Michael Crabtree into the arms of Seahawks teammate Malcolm Smith with 22 seconds left in the NFC Championship Game.
That interception quelled the Niners' rally and ended their season just short of a second straight Super Bowl berth. As seen in this video, Sherman proceeded to blast Crabtree following the game:
According to Hubbuch, Kaepernick believes that Sherman's rant was simply an effort to cover up his fear of San Francisco's receiving corps:
Colin Kaepernick on Sherman: "He's afraid of our receivers, and that's something I'm looking forward to [exploiting] next year."— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) January 30, 2014
Kaepernick also wasn't a fan of Sherman declaring himself the NFL's best cornerback:
Colin Kaepernick on Sherman: "His comments were ridiculous. If you have to tell people how good you are, then how good are you really?"— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) January 30, 2014
The 49ers quarterback discussed the play that ended his season and made Sherman a household name in the full article:
“It’s a game of inches,” Kaepernick said. “The inches were in [Sherman’s] favor in that case, but this game will humble you very quickly.”
Kaepernick also spoke about Seattle's matchup with the Broncos:
Oh, and because of whom Denver is facing, Kaepernick said he’s a big Broncos fan this week.
“Go Peyton!” Kaepernick said.
Kaepernick's retort comes on the heels of Sherman showing some remorse for his actions. According to ESPN.com, he apologized for his comments due to the fact that they overshadowed his teammates' performances.
"I apologize for attacking an individual and taking the attention away from the fantastic game by my teammates ... That was not my intent," he wrote in a text to Ed Werder.
Crabtree wasn't the only target when it came to Sherman's antics at the conclusion of the NFC Championship Game, either. He also flashed a "choke" sign in Kaepernick's direction after the game-deciding interception.
Kaepernick addressed that situation directly when asked about it by Hubbuch:
Colin Kaepernick on Sherman's choke sign: "Did that make you feel better about yourself? Then go ahead. Because I’m not worried about you."— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) January 30, 2014
He also illustrated the fact that the roles could have easily been reversed had his pass been slightly more accurate:
Colin Kaepernick on the final play of NFCCG: "If I throw that ball one foot farther, it's a TD and now you're the goat, Richard Sherman."— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) January 30, 2014
As much as Sherman's inflammatory comments angered Kaepernick, they also happened to steal the spotlight. Mike Shumann of ABC7 News in San Francisco made an interesting point regarding the Sherman rant being a good thing for Kap:
Colin Kaepernick should thank Richard Sherman for his NFC title game post game rant as it took the attention away from Kap's poor 4th qtr.— Mike Shumann (@MikeShumann) January 28, 2014
Although Sherman is a hero in Seattle, he has seemingly been viewed as a villain everywhere else since the tirade. That has been heightened by the fact that the Seahawks will face the Denver Broncos and revered quarterback Peyton Manning on Feb. 2.
Manning is one of the most popular and respected players in the game, so Sherman has essentially turned into the anti-Manning when it comes to the media narrative.
Are Kaepernick's criticisms of Sherman fair?
The rivalry between the 49ers and Seahawks was plenty intense already due to the fact that they are both top teams in the NFC West, but the shots fired between Sherman and Kaepernick have taken things to another level.
There is no sign of either team being anything less than a Super Bowl contender moving forward, so there will be many more battles between them. Seattle defensive end Greg Scruggs responded to Kaepernick's comments with a post on his Twitter account:
Scoreboard.— Greg Scruggs (@G_Scruggs) January 30, 2014
If the on-field play is as good as the drama off the field, then perhaps Seahawks vs. 49ers can eventually gain the same notoriety that the Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins and various other NFL rivalries have reached over the years.
Kaepernick and the Niners won't soon forget Sherman's antics, and they'll have every intention of making him eat his words in 2014.
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