If you expected Richard Sherman to fill the New Jersey night with an impassioned rant about a recently defeated Peyton Manning after Super Bowl XLVIII, you were out of luck. Instead, the Seattle Seahawks star cornerback decided to tip his cap to Manning's kind gesture.
After suffering a one-sided defeat, Manning still had enough class to make sure one of his more vociferous opponents was doing well after suffering an ankle injury. Sherman, who suffered a high-ankle sprain in the fourth quarter of the Seahawks' eventual 43-8 win on Sunday night, relied upon teammates to help him off the field.
On Monday, Sherman joined ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning radio show (h/t Pro Football Talk), where he relayed the following about Manning:
He was really concerned about my well-being. After a game like that, a guy who’s still classy enough to say ‘How are you doing?’ To show that kind of concern for an opponent shows a lot of humility and class.
Sherman later continued to laud the Broncos quarterback. "He’s a Hall of Fame player, he’s a living legend, he’s a record-holding quarterback, he’s a Super Bowl champion, he’s been a Super Bowl MVP," he said.
He told the same story to ESPN's SportsCenter:
The Denver quarterback confirmed that assessment in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, saying, "I do throw ducks. I've thrown a lot of yards and touchdowns ducks."
For Manning to put Sherman's critiques behind him speaks highly of his sportsmanship—a word not typically associated with Sherman over the past few weeks. After tipping the game-icing interception to teammate Malcolm Smith in the NFC Championship Game, Sherman caused an Internet uproar over his highly raucous interview with Fox Sports' Erin Andrews:
While the Super Bowl quickly got out of hand on the field, Sherman was far more measured in the aftermath. He made sure to take time out of basking in the glow of triumph to doff his cap to the same man many were chiding on Twitter:
Peyton is the Classiest person/player I have ever met! I could learn so much from him! Thank you for being a great Competitor and person— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 3, 2014
There is no reason to bash him on here please Seattle let's just enjoy this one!!!! He is still a Future HOF player— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 3, 2014
Manning could have easily ducked out to lick his wounds, suffering what many called an embarrassing loss. As we know, however, he is built differently. First off, he is not embarrassed, telling reporters as much after the game:
It's not embarrassing at all. I would never use that word. There's a lot of professional football players in that locker room that put in a lot of work into being here, playing in that game.
That word embarrassing is an insulting word, to tell you the truth.
When the world laughs, it would be easy to slump your shoulders, hang your head and allow the bombardment of jokes to get you down.
Manning went right on standing tall, fielding questions from the absurd to the banal, never once losing sight of what's important.
His team made it to the final game of the season, which was no fluke. When you are handed a devastating loss, you have no recourse but to act like a gentleman and admit defeat because the outcome can't take that away from you.
As Sherman so eloquently notes, Manning's actions on Sunday night showed younger players how to lose graciously.
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