Seahawks' Sherman has a genius for drawing attention

Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, in Renton, Wash. The Seahawks play the Denver Broncos in the NFL football Super Bowl on Feb. 2. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, in Renton, Wash. The Seahawks play the Denver Broncos in the NFL football Super Bowl on Feb. 2. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Posted: January 25, 2014

Wile E. Coyote and Richard Sherman have a lot in common, starting with the fact that they are both super geniuses.

For those of you unfamiliar with Wile E., the cartoon coyote created in 1948 was originally voiced by the legendary Mel Blanc and has spent his entire film life chasing the Road Runner. Sherman, of course, is an NFL cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks. If you didn't know that Sunday morning, you did by Sunday night, which is why he qualifies for the title of super genius.

Unlike Wile E., Sherman did not anoint himself a super genius. He settled for greatest cornerback on the planet, planting that seed in the minds of every NFL fan Sunday night, immediately after providing the game-clinching deflection in the Seahawks' NFC championship win over San Francisco.

In just four days, he has watched that seed sprout into the clouds, and so what if it is accompanied by an avalanche of controversy?

Stanford, Sherman's alma mater, really is the Harvard of the West. This was Peyton Manning's season, and this might be his last Super Bowl, but all anyone has talked about since Sunday is Sherman's trash-talking, postgame interview on national TV with Fox's Erin Andrews.

Andrews: "Richard, let me ask you, the final play, take me through it."

Sherman: "Well, I'm the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like [San Francisco's Michael] Crabtree, that's the result you're going to get. Don't you ever talk about me."

Andrews: "Who was talking about you?"

Sherman: "Crabtree. Don't you open your mouth about the best or I'm going to shut it for you real quick. LOB!"

The last three letters are the abbreviation for the Seattle defense's nickname: Legion of Boom. The Seahawks defense ranked first in the NFL this season in yards allowed, points allowed, and takeaways, a trifecta that is now being viewed by Manning and the Denver Broncos as they prepare for the Feb. 2 Super Bowl in East Rutherford, N.J.

Sherman had a hand in 10 of his team's 39 takeaways, with eight interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

If Andrews interviews Sherman again before the Super Bowl, she should rephrase her follow-up question from Sunday: "Who isn't talking about you?"

Darrelle Revis, the man formerly known as the best cornerback on the planet, took his turn at bat Thursday, saying in a Tampa Bay Times story that Sherman "put himself ahead of the team," and "he probably talks in his sleep," and "I thought he shouldn't have said all that."

Perhaps that's all true, but it's also true that Sherman is the best cornerback in the NFL, having swiped that title from Revis by intercepting a league-high 20 passes over the last three seasons. Sherman, 25, is in only his third NFL season and has made plenty of enemies in a short period of time.

The interview with Andrews minutes after the dramatic play brought a lot of the Sherman controversies to light, with the most publicized one coming last season, after the Seahawks upset Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Seattle.

"You mad, bro?" Sherman shouted at Brady after the game.

In a subsequent interview, Sherman said Brady had taunted him and Seattle safety Earl Thomas, asking the two Seahawks defensive backs who they were and telling them to come see him after the Patriots won the game.

"They didn't win, but I went and saw him," Sherman said.

There was a classic Twitter feud between Revis and Sherman in February. Sherman won, delivering this knockout tweet: "So I have 8 picks 3 ff [forced fumbles] and a sack. My season stats looking like Revis career stats."

And then there was this shot straight to the face of ESPN personality Skip Bayless on the network's First Take show in March: "Skip, you have never accomplished anything."

There's even a backstory with Crabtree. Sherman's older brother, Branton, told the Seattle Times that the cornerback tried to shake Crabtree's hand at a charity event hosted by Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald during the offseason. According to Branton Sherman, Crabtree responded by trying to start a fight.

"I'm going to make a play and embarrass him," Sherman vowed.

He made the play, and some would say he embarrassed himself afterward. One person, in fact, was so angry with Sherman that he (or maybe she) vandalized the cornerback's Wikipedia page by adding to his bio that he "is a piece of human garbage."

Sherman also did an interview with CNN - unthinkable a week ago - which showed how smart and thoughtful he is when not wearing a uniform and helmet. The news network flashed tweets that called him a thug and a monkey, senseless and racist comments about a man who graduated second in his high school class in Compton, Calif., and is working toward a master's degree at Stanford.

If all of this has taken anything away from the Seahawks' accomplishments on defense or as a team, so be it. If Sherman is a bigger story than his team and a bigger story than Manning next week in North Jersey, that's OK, too. There probably isn't a better story than Richard Sherman at this Super Bowl anyway, so hopefully it will be told over and over again before he goes chasing after Denver's talented cast of wide receivers.

The biggest difference between Richard Kevin Sherman and Wile E. Coyote is that, with Sherman, it's usually the other guys who end up watching their best-laid plans blow up in their face.


bbrookover@phillynews.com

@brookob

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