It seemed like just yesterday the NFL masses were hating on Ndamukong Suh. Whether he was stomping on Evan Dietrich-Smith or kicking Matt Schaub in the groin, there was always something to look forward to when Suh took the field.
His aggressive, hot-headed attitude often boiled over like hot water on a stove.
But since meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell at the end of 2011, Suh has practically turned over a new leaf. He has done a much better job of keeping his emotions in check, and to be honest, he has only had one hiccup this season.
Which has caused the public to move on to a new target. Our society is so involved and fast-paced that it only seems natural to find a new villain. Surely we all know that Richard Sherman is not really an evil person, but his cocky attitude and swagger rub almost everyone the wrong way.
Except for Seahawk fans. They seem to enjoy his antics—probably because they went 11-5 in the regular season and just won their first road playoff game since 1983. Winning always makes things okay, and I'm sure Sherman wouldn't be talking the way he does if Seattle was consistently losing.
Okay, maybe he would. When Mike Silver interviewed Sherman earlier this season, Silver said, "He plays football with a Space Needle-sized chip on his shoulder, and he's upset that his excellence isn't more celebrated."
That Space Needle-sized chip on his shoulder will keep him talking, win or lose.
There are plenty of players in the NFL who have one but don't come out and say it the way No. 25 does. To be honest, playing with a chip on your shoulder is probably the mentality a player wants and needs to have, because we all know nothing is given to you in this league.
With that being said, let's take a look at just how Sherman went from an unknown fifth-round pick out of Stanford to one of the league's most disliked players—if backlash from both the fans and players alike are any indication.
As the 154th pick in the 2011 draft, Sherman was not expected to amount to anything in the NFL. He had only played cornerback two years at Stanford and was seen as too tall to play the position as a pro. Not to mention he was also too lean and skinny to play safety.
This led a lot of scouts to believe that he wouldn't ever really amount to much in the league, but Coach Carroll knew something the rest of us didn't. He told Sherman way back in high school that he was the perfect corner.
"He said I was the perfect size for a lockdown corner," Sherman recounted.
He may have been the perfect size, but did he have the perfect technique and speed to play the position at the highest level? That was the mystery when Seattle drafted him, but Sherman would soon enough validate the Seahawks' pick.
He started his rookie season buried on the depth chart behind Brandon Browner, Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond. But after two weeks of standing on the sideline, Sherman logged the first four snaps of his career against the Arizona Cardinals.
The following week against the Atlanta Falcons, he logged four more, and then finally in Week 5 against the New York Giants, he played his first extensive action with Marcus Trufant out due to injury. From that point on, Carroll and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley stuck with him at left cornerback.
He went onto finish the season as Pro Football Focus' 16th-best overall corner and was considered a top-five cornerback against the pass. Unfortunately, the strong play went unrecognized as he didn't receive a Pro Bowl invite in Hawaii nor was he even mentioned in Defensive Rookie of the Year conversations.
Yet that was okay by his own standards—it just fueled him to play even better and enabled that Space Needle-sized chip on his shoulder to grow even larger.
Enter 2012, the year when Sherman took his game to a whole new level.
With a year of experience under his belt and a year in Bradley's system, Sherman was ready to take over the NFL and let everyone know about it. Just ask Tom Brady if you don't believe me.
Heading into Week 6, no one gave the Seahawks a chance against Brady's New England Patriots. Everyone figured that they would put up a good fight, considering they were 3-2 and playing at home. But few expected Seattle to hang tough after falling behind 23-10 with less than nine minutes left to play in the fourth quarter.
Not only did they hang tough, they came back to win 24-23 in the closing minutes of the game.
After the comeback win, Sherman sent out a tweet that enraged Patriot fans and enlightened Seahawk fans. The tweet went on to explain that Brady had told Earl Thomas and Sherman to come find him after the game, and this is what happened.
He later admitted in the same Mike Silver article that he never uttered the phrase, "U mad bro?" It was just something a fan had tweeted him after the game, and he re-tweeted it because he thought it was funny.
The picture went viral, and since then the joke has found a way to keep popping up. Below is another rendition of the joke that came after the initial Brady picture.
That marked the first incident that had fans up in arms over Sherman's cocky attitude.
The second event was when both Sherman and Browner got popped for using PEDs. Browner ended up taking the suspension and not appealing, but Sherman made sure his voice was heard loud and clear via Twitter to proclaim his innocence:
Two days after proclaiming his innocence, he took to Twitter again to tell the world that he had won his appeal:
I won— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) December 27, 2012
His innocence wasn't received as a sign of victory by all. Fans of opposing teams hated the ruling after it was announced, and they have moved on to hating him in the process. Do a simple search on Twitter that contains these three words, "Richard" "Sherman" and "hate."
You will be amazed by the results:
I HATE RICHARD SHERMAN.— Anna Konstantopoulos (@__annak) January 7, 2013
I HATE RICHARD SHERMAN!— Jireh Jimenez (@Jirashon) January 7, 2013
I also hate Richard Sherman. Fun facts.— Eric✌Chaconas® (@TheRealOchoOcho) January 7, 2013
Yet, if the Brady and PED incidents weren't reason enough to hate him, Sherman's encounter with the Washington Redskins' Trent Williams after Sunday's wild-card matchup had to have been the final straw for those who were on the fence.
After the Seahawks 24-14 victory, Sherman and Williams met at midfield to continue their trash-talking ways. Sherman explained on Monday the sequence of events that culminated with Williams pushing him in the face:
"He told me [he] was going to swing, and he swung," Sherman said. "That's what he did, and that's that. He thought I was going to be scared. I'm not scared."
Sherman also noted that he was just trying to shake Williams' hand, but I'm not sure how many people are going to want to shake Sherman's hand from here on out. His ability to get under the opposition's skin trumps any attempts at sportsmanship in which he may try to engage.
Which easily answers the question to this article: Why does everyone hate Richard Sherman?
People hate his big mouth and cocky attitude first and foremost, but overall I think there is one real reason why people hate on Sherman:
@tysonnfl Because he's so damn good & he knows it.— Khaled Elsayed (@PFF_Khaled) January 8, 2013
End of story.