‘Come At The King, You Best Not Miss’


“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.

And if you choose to believe that he’s just supremely confident—a Stanford graduate from Compton, a student of the game with a calculated method to his trash-talking—that’s fine too.

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:

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.

And if you come at the King, you best not miss.


Andrew Cohen


  • Ox

    Amazing Crabtree would post that as his stance that Sherman under played in the game.

  • monkey

    It really was hilarious that Crabtree called out Sherman’s lack of plays that game, considering the fact that Crabtree was virtually invisible every time he was on Sherman’s side. Pretty tough to make a play when your QB is (rightly) too scared to throw that way! Even more amazing is the fact that the fear was validated when on only the second time all game he was targeted, he made the biggest play of the game.
    I hope Sherman NEVER stops talking! I personally think it’s awesome that we got just a glimpse of the raw emotion these warriors play with. Stick a mic in his face in the climax of battle if you must, but DO NOT feign outrage over what you hear, you squawking bunch of hypocrites!

  • TheeLidman

    I appreciate Sherman’s talent. I more appreciate how he uses the media to paint himself as ‘the best’. It started last year when he goaded Revis into a Twitter war. I think most view him as ‘the best’ because he keeps telling you he is. I don’t think his season, in any way, compares favorably to Revis. Sherman doesn’t shadow WR all over the field. He rarely lines up in the slot. As an ex WR, he does have better ball skills than Revis. However, Seattle plays a lot more zone coverage, with over the top Safety help, than the Jets ever did with Revis. In fact, the same PFF stats you cite, would illustrate Revis is still as good a CB as there is, and he wasn’t even 100% healthy.
    All this has nothing to do with why Sherman is getting grief. I love the ‘trash talking’ element of the game. After all, football is entertainment, and good trash talking-ala Deion Sanders, is, to me, entertaining. That said, I can appreciate the Jerry Rice’s and Barry Sanders (and Darelle Revis for that matter) who simply let their play make their statement too. Sherman though simply speaks before he thinks. He allows his emotions to consistently impede his judgement, and if he doesn’t want to ‘be judged’ by how he acts ‘between the lines’, he might want to consider being a bit less vitriol, in his comments. In fact, even hours after the game, when he wrote his piece for SI, he continued to take pot shots at Kaepernick and Crabtree. I can understand that, to an extent; there is real dislike between the two teams. However, why did he have to take shots at every Cleveland Brown QB? Why did he find it necessary to disparage players, who had ZERO to do with that game, in an effort to promote himself and take shots at Crabtree?

    • Ox

      ” I think most view him as ‘the best’ because he keeps telling anyone who will listen he is”. No, I’d say its most likely because he is the best corner in the game.

      • TheeLidman

        That’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to it. However, I’m sure Joe Haden, Patrick Peterson and Darelle Revis could make the same claim, and there are no numbers to prove any of them are right or wrong, it’s all perception. The only difference with those guys: they let their play do their talking, where Sherman self promotes his. I’m not saying I’m against that. In fact I recognize his genius. Like I said, I think most people believe he’s the best is because he tells you how great he is. He’s making 500+K a year, and if he’s ‘the best’ he can ask for Revis money. If he’s merely ‘one of the best’ the difference is roughly $6mm a year, just check the numbers.

        • Ox

          you’re using his draft slot salary as proof of his value?

          • TheeLidman

            What? I don’t understand your question. Draft slot has nothing to do with it. Once the draft is over, it’s over. My point is as a 5th round draft pick, the guy only got a $183K signing bonus. Accorcing to ‘overthecap.com’ the total value of his 4yr deal is $2,966,424 and I’m sure his performance has earned him ‘escalator clauses’, in his last 2yr base salary (meaning the intial value of the deal was lower).
            Sherman was the 25th CB taken in the 2011 draft. Coincidentally, Patrick Peterson was the 1st CB taken, 5th overall. The total value of his contract, fully guaranteed, was $18,429,500. He received an $11.903mm signing bonus. Brandon Harris was the 8th CB taken, he was picked 60th overall. His signing bonus was $903k, and the total value of his rookie deal will be $3.3mm, and he has achieved any ‘escalators’.
            Darelle Revis is making an APY of $16mm. He has a very unique contract, that had no up front money in it. However, if TB doesn’t cut him, he’ll make $32mm over the past 2yrs, which is $7mm more than any other CB had guaranteed in their current contract. If he somehow gets TB to keep him for the 2015 season, he’ll basically have been able to earn the same total dollars, as any current CB would have if they finished out their contract. We all know the final couple years of most contracts never get reached, and players are cut for cap purposes.
            So, what I’m saying is this: Richard Sherman is a smart guy. Richard Sherman knows that ‘the best’ CB out there, Revis, is being paid, on average, 33.6% more than the next highest paid player at the position (currently Champ Bailey). No other position, in the league has a difference of more than 9%, and most positions are in the 3%-6% range. Sherman has 1yr left on his rookie deal and there is no way he’s going to play without receiving an extension and guarantee. If he is recognized as ‘the best’, he’s going to be wanted to be paid like Revis-$16mm/APY, not like Brandon Carr, Cortland Finnegan or Brandon Flowers who are all in the $9.8 to $10.5mm range. Now, unlike Revis, he didn’t have a lucrative rookie deal, so I’m guessing he’s going to want a big guarantee. So, the Seahawks are likely not goint to go to $16MM per year, on average, but will probably give him the largest guarantee a CB has ever gotten up front. Peterson is also up, so I’m sure both clubs will be monitoring the situation. You can be both teams would like TB to cut/restructure Revis. This would allow them to suggest that contract wasn’t a true indication of the CB market.
            A lot of this, IMO, is about money for Sherman. He’s 25, he didn’t get ‘big’ (in athlete’s terms) money as a rookie, and this is likely the best opportunity he’ll get for a payday. I think much of his self promotion is about maximizing this opportunity, while his play is able to back it up.

          • Anthony

            Lidman… youre really long winded.

            To summerize-
            Richard Sherman wants to be paid, and the best way he can do that is by running his mouth. Thats a fairly simplistic view of the situation. But to indulge your point for a moment, that arguement would dictate that the only players to recieve a large payment are either loud, or good. In fact, the only way to insure that one recieves full payment for ones services (in a service specific job like football) is to be loud.

            Football is a game of perfect information. That is, its a tight economy where all of the pieces are on the board, everything can be evaluated, and there is nothing left hidden from analysis. Blocks are executed or not, plays are made or they arn’t. Furthermore, a salary cap virtually ensures that owners and general managers are constantly searching for value between the lines and players are only getting paid what the team thinks the next team will pay them. Anymore will take precious dollars from something else.

            So, either you believe that general managers are looking to pay a player more money for something they will never contribute to the field, or Richard Sherman is running his mouth for a different reason then he thinks it will get him paid by a team.

            He probably thinks that he is the best because a player walking around that thinks he is the 2nd best, is missing a few screws. Nobody that makes it to that level trains like he will win 2nd place in the MVP, or the runner up in the Super Bowl. Sherman happens to be better with the pen and the microphone than other players, and I think he makes for a much more entertaining interview than any player since Neon Deion.

          • TheeLidman

            Long winded…yes…but you read it.

            I dispute you point of football being ‘a game of perfect information’. In theory, it should be. However, that information gets gets analyzed by human beings. How each person interprets that info is what causes the inefficiencies, successes and mistakes. GMs make mistakes all the time with FA, giving them way too much guaranteed money. The examples are endless: Holmes and Haynesworth are examples of full failures. Bart Scott had some success, w/NYJ, but that contract was one of the reasons Tannenbaum lost his job. Mike Wallace is being paid twice as much as Brian Hartline, but produced less than Hartline did. NE let Welker walk, and brought in Amendola, who they knew had a history of being brittle. I could go on. I don’t give the GMs as much credit as you do. If they always used perfect info, to make the right decisions, they’d never lose their jobs.

            In Sherman’s case, I believe he is being loud, in order to secure his next contract. Revis didn’t have to do that. He was drafted in the first round, and plays his games in the largest media market in the country. Sherman was a 5th round draft pick and plays in Seattle. Again, if you look at the money, what ‘the best’ is getting paid is ‘significantly’ more than his peers. Do I think at that moment this is what his thought process was? No, but I have no doubt the attention he calls to himself is done with purpose, one of which is getting himself the most money.

          • TheeLidman

            Anthony…did you read the piece on Sherman this AM, in MMQB? I thought of this conversation when I did. Especially, when I got to this passage:

            Sherman’s father, Kevin, comes from a much different background. Despite his son’s riches—and Richard’s contract will only get bigger from here—the elder Sherman still wakes up for his early-morning trash route to meet the personal challenge of making his pension. It was Kevin Sherman who came to mind when Richard found himself in Carroll’s office after that infamous NFC title game rant, being asked in a fatherly way, “What were you thinking? Let’s figure out what you want to gain here, so I can help you get it. I want them to know the Richard who leads my team, who does all the community service…”

            It was virtually the same chat Sherman had with Carroll in October 2012, after the second-year corner intercepted Tom Brady in a victory and then mocked the Patriots’ quarterback in person and on Twitter after the game. Carroll asked then, in the same manner, “What are you trying to do?”

            Sherman’s response: “I want to be All-Pro. I want to be seen as the best, right now, and to do that I have to be loud.”

            Good article and if you haven’t read it: http://goo.gl/pzeUQD

    • Whether its his line of thinking or not I do feel that sometimes lower level draft picks need to speak up to get noticed. Guys like Revis, Peterson, Haden, etc.. have a built in advantage. Revis was also helped because the coach talked about him in pretty glowing terms all the time. If not for the antics I dont think Sherman gets recognized the way he does now and certainly not as fast. So I can understand the self-promotion of thats what he is doing since his pushing the envelope has made him a much bigger star the last two years. Considering he writes for MMQB I have to think he is pretty aware of this stuff.

      As for the second point yeah its bad judgement but he’s probably wrapped up in writing an article and he is making an easy to understand point since the Browns are considered to have one of the worst QB situations in the NFL. He read something here once (about himself) and re-tweeted it so I have to think he spends time surfing the web and reading various things so I think thats where that came from. I dont think he really thought of it as a “I shouldnt mock another player” perspective he just felt he was going to the right spot that most other writers would to make his point clearer.

      • TheeLidman

        As I say below, I recognize his ‘genius’ in self promotion. It’s all about getting paid. Darelle Revis makes $16mm/year guaranteed and no other CB makes 11 (APY). So, being ‘the best’ gets paid a lot more than being ‘one of the best’.

        As for what you see as my second point, it’s no excuse. He ridicules 3 opposing players in an effort to make a point about Josh Gordon, in an effort to further criticizie Crabtree. He’s not a fan or a writer. He’s a player and these are his peers and he’s taking pot shots at guys, who had nothing to do with Crabtree and who haven’t said word 1 about him.

        “I dont think he really thought of it as a “I shouldnt mock another player” perspective he just felt he was going to the right spot that most other writers would to make his point clearer.”
        You’re making my point for me, if he’s so intelligent, he needs to start thinking before he speaks. If you want to argue that is an ’emotionally charged moment’ (sorry, that excuse only works so many times for me), I’d say when he wrote this article, he was likely sitting in a quiet place and had time to reflect on his actions, and edit his article before he hit ‘send’. So, he’s correct. I don’t know what he does in his community or with his family. I do see his actions on the field, and how he disparages others in his written word. Notoriety is a double edged sword. He can’t have it both ways.