One of the central figures in Super Bowl XLVIII is Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman. He placed himself squarely in the spotlight with his postgame rant after the Seahawks' win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Well, a few days before football's biggest game, San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick has fired back.
Unfortunately, what Kaepernick likely intended as a scathing rebuke of Sherman's antics instead comes off as little more than sour grapes from a sore loser.
The usually reticent Kaepernick sat down for a lengthy interview with Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, and during that interview Kaepernick wasn't even a little bit shy about sharing his thoughts on what happened at the end of the NFC title game.
In Kaepernick's opinion, Sherman's tirade belies another emotion entirely...fear:
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 isn't loving Sherman's claims that he's the NFL's top cornerback either:
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 third-year signal-caller also didn't appreciate the "choke sign" that Sherman made in his direction, after Sherman tipped a pass intended for Michael Crabtree to linebacker Malcolm Smith for a game-sealing interception (at the 10-second mark of this video).
Kaepernick told Hubbuch, “Did that make you [Sherman] feel better about yourself? Then go ahead, because I’m not worried about you.” Kaepernick then said to Hubbuch that things may have broken very differently had the ball traveled just a bit farther:
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
Granted, Sherman's postgame blow-up has been dissected from every conceivable angle. He's been called everything from a "classless thug" to an excitable young man who got caught up in the heat of the moment.
Just like Colin Kaepernick did during this interview.
It's understandable that Kaepernick isn't going to be sending Sherman a fruit basket next Christmas. The Seahawks and 49ers already disliked one another quite a bit. The NFC Championship Game just upped the reading on the loathe-o-meter.
With that said, though, grousing more than week after the game like a nine-year-old who had his IPod taken away doesn't make Kaepernick look any better than Sherman did giving Erin Andrews PTSD.
Hate to break it to you Colin, but Sherman and the Seahawks aren't afraid of you. At least not when it comes to playing in Seattle.
In Kaepernick's three starts in Seattle, he's completed barely half his passes with two touchdowns and an eye-popping six interceptions. Not surprisingly, he's 0-3 in those games.
Yep, those numbers are terrifying all right—for the 49ers.
As to Sherman being the top cornerback in the NFL, it's a subjective argument in any event. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) hasn't ranked Sherman number one in either of the past two seasons, but in both those years Sherman ranked in the top six.
It's safe to say that Sherman's at least in the discussion for the honor, especially since no cornerback in the NFL this past season allowed a lower passer rating while being targeted.
|Player||Team||Passer Rating Against|
Per Pro Football Focus
So far as the choke sign, with all due respect to Mr. Kaepernick, are you kidding?
This happened one week before the NFC Championship game:
So it's OK for Kaepernick to mock Cam Newton, but not OK for Sherman to mock Kaepernick?
To his credit, after the 49ers bounced the Carolina Panthers from the playoffs, Newton kept his mouth shut. He broke his silence Thursday, telling the NFL Network's "NFL AM" (via Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer) that, "He hurt my feelings, and I think so highly of Mr. Kaepernick."
The difference, of course, is that Newton was laughing while he said it.
Finally, as to Kaepernick's assertion that football is a "game of inches," Bleacher Report's own Michael Schottey summed things up pretty well:
So why didn't you? RT @HubbuchNYP: Kaepernick: "If I throw that ball one foot farther, it's a TD and now you're the goat, Richard Sherman."— Michael Schottey (@Schottey) January 30, 2014
Should have, could have, would have...except he didn't.
Listen, I get it. Richard Sherman rubbed plenty of people the wrong way before the NFC title game dust-up, and the BPWHRS (Brotherhood of People Who Hate Richard Sherman) absolutely included the players and coaches for the 49ers.
And the fans. And the guy selling nachos. And the foam-finger lady. Parking lot attendants. Traffic cops. You name it. San Francisco is not a Sherman town.
However, if Kaepernick and the Niners want to shut Richard Sherman up, there's an easy way to do it.
Beat them. In Seattle.
Until that day, Seahawks defensive end Greg Scruggs summed up this latest chapter in their rivalry pretty well:
Scoreboard.— Greg Scruggs (@G_Scruggs) January 30, 2014