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.