by Mario "The Game" Granata
Tony Montana once stated in his famous Scarface role, "Take a look at the bad guy. You will never see a bad guy like this again." With a blend of Deion Sanders and Muhammad Ali, Richard Sherman possess the skill and the mental ability to take over the game at the cornerback position. Call him what you want, but you cannot question that he is entertaining.
Amidst the 15-round Heavyweight bout that took place in the Pacific Northwest this past Sunday, much of the talk hasn’t been about the game, or the fact that the Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl for just the second time in their existence: the talk is about Richard Sherman. Before we travel any further, Richard Sherman is not a Thug. Richard Sherman is not a Villain. Richard Sherman is a calculating individual with an impressive academic background, and a high football IQ, and understands exactly what he was doing and what he did. True, he might not have fully understood the backlash that would come from his actions, but as they say, bad press is good press. We are all talking about him. Let me focus on a few points of what I see, and maybe some of you will understand where this is going.
Point 1 – In order to make history, you have to repeat it. Just before the cameras left the post game interview with Richard Sherman and Erin Andrews, two names popped into my head: Muhammad Ali and Deion Sanders. On one hand, you have Muhammad Ali, who was brash and bold, and would talk about his opponents before, during, and after the bouts. At the time, some people liked him, and some people didn’t, but all tuned in to watch what he was going to say next. We currently live in a time where people are drawn to the strong silent types, but that isn’t who gets paid. Enter Prime Time. Deion Sanders even stated when he was elected to the Hall of Fame, that at the time, cornerbacks weren’t making the type of money that all the other top players were, so in his dorm room of Florida State, he created this alter ego, which was this persona to draw people to him. Now, it worked because Deion Sanders was arguably the most incredible athlete ever to play in the National Football League, but when he played, there were people who liked him, and wanted to see him high step, and others wanted him to get beat deep, but once again, all tuned in to watch him. Enter Richard Sherman. A 5th round draft pick, that is now a part of what could be considered the most dominant defensive backfields that the NFL has ever seen, and what makes it more impressive are all the new rule changes that is heavily favored toward the offense. So, what does he do? He says he is the best, and that the receiver he made the play on wasn’t at his level, and looking through the game films of his career, I haven’t seen anyone to prove him wrong.
Point 2 – Good vs. Bad. Another interesting comparison was that Richard Sherman’s post game comments were similar to someone who works for World Wrestling Entertainment. Now, being a fan of both the NFL and WWE, I can see the crossover: there are Heels vs. Faces, Good vs. Bad, and Heros vs. Villains in both. But, just because the “part” that someone plays is a villain, doesn’t mean that they are necessarily a villainous person. I am sure there are times in everyone’s life where they have done something that was considered ‘bad’ and that shouldn’t automatically grant them the label as a bad person. That is a character that he is portraying, but that is not Richard Sherman the person, and that is what he was explaining to the media. We the fans probably would have liked to hear the classic cliché lines from Sherman, but if he would have went that route, there would be no talk about him today, and no talk about how his performance on the field trumps anything that could come out of his mouth.
Point 3 – To Be the Man, You Have to Beat the Man. Right now, as we stand, Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the league, and the statistics and play on the field speak for themselves. He is an incredible player, a very cerebral, and should be applauded for that, and all his post game comments were intended to do, was to get people to notice how good he really is. Richard Sherman understands that although he plays a game that is a very physical one, the mental part of the game is just as important and plays and equal, if not bigger part in the success that you have in the NFL.
Point 4 – Football is Entertaining. For as much as we like to cheer for this player or that player, and this team or that team, we all attend games, or watch them in our homes Thursday, Sunday and Monday, because its entertaining. Richard Sherman is an entertaining player to watch, and he elevated a game (not that it needed any more) between the 49ers and the Seahawks to a ‘Must See” game for the upcoming years to come. He will be lined up across the best receiver from the opposing team and be given the responsibility of making that player a non-factor in the outcome of the game. Sometimes he will get beat, and most of the time he will be successful, but in either case it will be entertaining to watch.
To wrap a nice little bow over my analysis of Richard Sherman, I have no problem with what he said to Michael Crabtree or any other player in the future. Will he take some attention away from the team in the process? Sure. Does that hurt his team’s chances of winning? No. Does the trash talk somehow motivate him to perform at a level that we as fans are privileged to see on a week to week basis? Maybe. I am not sure if Richard Sherman needs any more motivation to perform as he does. He is the best player at his position in the NFL, and if you are rooting against him, or rooting for him, as a fan, he will give you a show that you will be lucky enough to watch. As for me, I love competition, I love being entertained, and I love the NFL. Richard Sherman encompasses all of those things: a competitive, entertaining spirit, who has the physical and mental gifts to be something he has been striving for ever since he first put on a helmet…the best to ever play the game at his position.