Sherman strikes the right tone on first day in New Jersey

ELSA / GETTY IMAGES Richard Sherman had a captive audience when the Seahawks arrived for the Super Bowl.
ELSA / GETTY IMAGES Richard Sherman had a captive audience when the Seahawks arrived for the Super Bowl.
Posted: January 28, 2014

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - Lost in the hoopla after Richard Sherman's declaration of superiority was the actual play that set him off on the tirade.

If there was ever an example of why he should at least be considered one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, that was it: blanket man-to-man coverage, a pass neatly tipped to a teammate for the game-ending interception, and a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII.

The Seattle Seahawks arrived Sunday night for Super Bowl week, and the crowd of reporters that gathered around the 25-year-old waited to see which version of Sherman would show up - the brash one who dissed 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree in a postgame interview or the contrite one who was put under the national microscope?

It was mostly the latter, although Sherman said he wasn't told by coach Pete Carroll or anyone else in the Seahawks organization to put a lid on his boldness.

"You can't say crazy stuff on a regular basis, so I don't think being at the Super Bowl makes it any different," Sherman said. "It'll be just a huge stage that you made a mistake on instead of a smaller stage. In the NFL with social media and all the technology nowadays, anytime you say anything, it's going to spread."

Overall, Sherman struck the right tone, especially if the Seahawks want to avoid providing bulletin-board material for the Denver Broncos.

With respect to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his group of receivers, Sherman and Seattle face a much stiffer test in the final. Quarterback Peyton Manning has multiple Pro Bowl-caliber receiving options, and Sherman is likely to see a large dose of all-pro Demaryius Thomas.

On the Crabtree play in the NFC title game, the 49ers were down six points with 30 seconds left but were 18 yards from knotting the score. Kaepernick passed to Crabtree in the end zone, but Sherman got his hand up and deflected the pass to linebacker Malcolm Smith.

Sherman posed, made a choke sign and walked over the Crabtree and mockingly offered his hand in congratulations.

"Well, I'm the best corner in the game," Sherman said in the postgame interview. "When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're going to get."

Sherman didn't stoke the fires on Sunday. Asked if he had any idea his rant would cause such a stir, Sherman said: "I had a good idea."

And then he winked at the questioner.

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