“He’s a sheer competitor, phenomenal athlete, and I think those of us mortals who don’t have those abilities, sometimes it’s hard to discern the difference between that natural confidence born by that ability, and what some would label as arrogance or conceit.”
Believe it or not, the above quote isn’t about Richard Sherman—it’s former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick putting his psychologist hat on, attempting to explain the rash personality of Randy Moss.
But it certainly applies to Sherman as well. Because like Moss, Richard Sherman is a pure competitor with unique physical gifts. And just as Moss played (when he wanted to) with a mammoth chip permanently imprinted on his shoulder, forever remembering each team that passed him up in the 1998 draft, Richard Sherman does the same. He doesn’t ever forget that he fell to the 5th round in the 2011 Draft, and he doesn’t ever forget the reasons why.
If you think Sherman is arrogant, unsportsmanlike, that he hasn’t a filter, that he takes the term ‘self-promotion’ to a whole ‘nother level in today’s social media era where self-promotion has become second nature to so many—well I guess I can’t really blame you.
But if you think he’s anything other than the best cornerback in football, than you simply haven’t watched him play enough. I wrote this back on December 19th, dissecting his season and career thus far. Three years younger and one knee surgery fewer, Sherman compares favorably to Darrelle Revis.
After Sherman belittled Michael Crabtree on national TV last night, Crabtree took to Twitter to defend himself:
— Michael Crabtree (@KingCrab15) January 20, 2014
If you re-watch the tape, I must admit that Crabtree’s partially right. You don’t really see Richard Sherman batting down passes or flying around the field making tackles. Truth is, you don’t really see much of Richard Sherman at all, which is the same way it’s been all year (his 9.5 coverage snaps per target ratio— a Pro Football Focus created statistic that charts the amount of times a cornerback is the primary man in coverage relative to how many times his receiver is targeted—means Sherman was 2013’s least targeted cornerback).
For the first 59:30 of yesterday’s NFC Championship game, San Francisco wisely stayed out of Sherman’s way. The 49ers officially ran 57 offensive plays yesterday, and during the first 56 of those plays San Francisco only looked Richard Sherman’s way once.
But with the game on the line, Colin Kaepernick decided to take his second shot at Sherman. He threw a fade route to Crabtree, his most-trusted receiver, who was one-on-one with Sherman—a decision that will surely haunt him and the rest of the 49ers faithful forever.
Like Sherman stated moments later in his instant-classic interview with Erin Andrews, he’s the best cornerback in football. So if you’re going to attack him, you better be perfect.
If not, plan to pay the price. Cause Richard Sherman is the best—King of the Cornerback’s.
Andrew Cohen @ajcohen03 email@example.com