Richard Sherman

As great as the NFC title game between Seattle and San Francisco was this past weekend, Richard Sherman’s mouth managed to steal headlines. The aftermath of his tirade has brought about many varying reactions. There are several angles fans, players, and media members have taken regarding Sherman’s rant (which you can view again, here)

Some reactions were fair and deserving, however some were downright ridiculous. So, let’s make sense of Sherman, his comments, and future implications.

Firstly, Sherman proclaimed he is the best cornerback in the league. When you’re named to the All Pro’s first team and lead the league in interceptions, you have bragging rights. (Oh, and making the game winning play to send your team to the SuperBowl doesn’t hurt either). When victorious, you have a right to be proud of what you have accomplished, because it would be impossible for anyone to refute what is fact. However there is a big difference between proclaiming victory and belittling a formidable opponent.

Michael Crabtree isn’t Jerry Rice but he is respected for his craft and has performed well in this league. So maybe he said or did something to Sherman that he felt was disrespectful in the past. Even if that was the case, let your play do the talking and save the ranting for the locker room instead of national television. Win with class, lose with class.

Trash talking is welcomed to an extent in this league. It’s fun for fans and intensifies rivalries. However, draw a line that shows you still respect your opponent. San Francisco was 12-4 and played a closely contested game down to the last minute. They even beat Seattle once in the regular season. Give credit where it’s due and be gracious.

Next, comes an unfortunate angle taken by some ignorant and extremist people. There were those that associated the manner in which Sherman ranted as having to do with his race. The racist comments that were found on various social media platforms are downright audacious. (Those comments you can search for yourself, as this piece is trying to stay PG-rated). What if a white player would have said the same things? What does that make him? Sherman was in the heat of the moment and lost his cool. It is unfortunate that a professional was unable to exhibit any humility or grace in victory. At the same time, it does not make him any less of human being or have anything to do with his race. He was actually very calm when interviewed later in the postgame. To associate Sherman’s tirade with the fact that he is black is not only irrelevant, but immoral (don’t act like you’ve never lost your cool before).

Sherman is known for being outspoken. One of the more polarizing figures in the game, he is a media delight. So, credit Fox for having the courage to interview Sherman right after the game. They knew his emotions were running high and his adrenaline was through the roof. This resulted in one of the most famous rants in recent memory (also credit Fox for taking the camera off Sherman before he said something worthy of a fine from Mr. Goodell). Although Sherman’s comments were disrespectful towards his opponent, he refrained from using any curse words, and kept it PG. It was just overly aggressive and uncalled for.

So what have we learned? Richard Sherman is an elite player who helped his team when they needed him most. He did not act the way he did because of his ethnicity. He simply let his emotions get the better of him. He deserves criticism for showing zero class and became a villain in the process. His actions that were locker room material made for a national sports controversy. He is going to have live with a bad boy image. However something tells me that with earning a trip to the SuperBowl, he could care less. Let’s see what he has to say in another two weeks in New Jersey.


The Current State of Big Blue

Senior year of college has kept me busier than imaginable, but as I digress, I’d like to shift attention back to the gridiron. The Giants are 3-6, in one of the ugliest, most unusual seasons in their history. The 0-6 start was brutal. You’d have to go back to 1976 to find a start that bad, for a usually proud organization. However, they remain a game and half out of the division lead. Well what’s all this mean? Do they actually have a chance? Here’s the deal:

Despite being 3-6, yes, the G-men are very much alive. Just one game back in the loss column, anything is possible with 7 games left to play. However, let’s not get overconfident here–the Giants have serious holes and the three game winning streak hasn’t been stylish at all. Beating a backup QB at home, a backup QB on a dysfunctional team, and an inexperienced Terell Pryor at home is nothing to boast about. The Giants haven’t defeated anyone with a winning record. Eli Manning leads the league in interceptions. The offensive line is a mess. David Wilson’s career is in jeopardy. It’s not a trip to Disney Land. But, oh, there is hope.

The rest of this division is so inconsistent, anything is possible (cue the Kevin Garnett voice). The Cowboys are still my pick to win the NFC East, but with little confidence. Dez Bryant is cancerous to his team, star linebacker Sean Lee could miss the next month, and this team looks to be fairly incompetent away from home. This is a story all too familiar to Dallas fans. 

The Eagles don’t know who they want as the signal caller, but Nick Foles looks to be the guy after two straight stellar performances. Still, their defense scares no one, and Nick Foles needs to perform against legitimate defenses before he’s taken seriously. 

Down in Washington, the Skins have all kinds of issues. RGIII is playing well, but doesn’t seem like he can run like he used to after offseason ACL surgery. Their defense is overrated and gives up too many yards. They also seem to struggle on the road. 

If the Giants want to keep winning, changes have to be made, because the competition will not be as easy as the past three weeks. The offensive line needs to protect Eli Manning. When Eli has time, he is a pro bowl caliber player. He has been getting sacked and knocked down far too much to be comfortable. Many of his interceptions are because he forces them, which can be attributed to a lack of confidence in his offensive line. No one on the team, especially Eli himself, will throw that unit under the bus, but it’s easy to tell the o-line is vastly under performing. 

Fortunately for the Giants, their run game just got a huge boost with Andre Brown returning. If he is getting 20+ carries/game, this will make play action passing a much more effective weapon. It will also set up a more balanced offense. 

When the Giants do not turn the ball over, they are far more competitive. It’s a simple formula for every team, one of Tom Coughlin’s most emphasized points. Don’t turn the ball over, and the Giants will be in games, I’ll guarantee you that. 

Lost in all this Eli/Coughlin commotion, is a defense that has played very well. Even when the team was losing, the defense was victim to starting in poor field position, being played too much and tiring out due to turnovers, and being bashed for the offense’s and special team’s miscues. This unit hasn’t been the ’85 Bears, but they have played well enough to be competitive, especially when the offense doesn’t commit turnovers. 

Although they still have a long road ahead, there is reason to believe again in New York. Little by little, this team is improving. With 4 division games left, there is no reason to think it’s an impossible task anymore. Surely there is more adversity on the horizon, but no team has ever won without perseverance. 

Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but that’s what sports is all about–a never say die attitude, even when going gets tough. Because when that happens… ah I’m sure you know the rest of it.