By Nick Shook
I’ve tried all week to avoid writing about Richard Sherman.
I’ve searched high and low for worthy distractions, new storylines and trending topics.
The sports world has done me no favors. Not even the Cleveland Browns’ laughable head coaching search could fill up this column.
You know what, hold that thought for later.
Sherman has been called various names and insulted countless times via social media since his outburst following Sunday’s NFC title victory. (In case you missed it, watch it here). Below are some facts to help get you up to speed.
- Richard Sherman is statistically the best cornerback in the NFL right now.
- He is outspoken and not afraid to admit it — and talk some more.
- This isn’t the first time Sherman has talked trash. But there’s more to him than most know.
- Sherman is a Stanford graduate and currently pursuing his Master’s.
- He tipped a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone in the final 30 seconds of the game, and it was intercepted by a teammate to seal the victory for the Seattle Seahawks.
- Sherman was out of position on the play, but still managed to twist his body and get his hand on the pass, which was headed directly for the waiting hands of Crabtree.
- Sherman was obviously caught up in the moment of making a game-winning play when interviewed by Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews.
Sherman has been chastised as a “thug” and “clown,” also being called “immature” and “classless.” But Sherman lives and breathes trash talk. He uses his own trash talk and bold declarations to opponents as fuel: motivation for him to reach his All-Pro level of play.
He was oozing it when he was approached less than 5 minutes after helping send his team to the Super Bowl. He was also just engaged in a heated rivalry game between his Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. They’re division rivals. They play twice a season. Their third game of the season was for a trip to the Super Bowl.
Did he taunt Crabtree? Absolutely. But I don’t see anything inherently wrong with how he reacted. He just triumphed in a personal battle with Crabtree. Football is built on a machismo complex, and he proved to be the alpha male to Crabtree’s beta.
I found his response refreshing. Too often nowadays do we get standard lip service from athletes following big wins. “Oh this feels great, what a great team effort. Our defense came up big.” People were upset he didn’t follow that standard. He later said he regretted taking the attention away from a great team win. But so what? As a spectator, that kind of response is entertaining. And that’s what pro football is: entertainment.
OK, 475 words on Richard Sherman. Moving forward.
Remember how I mentioned the Browns—the current laughingstock of the NFL—earlier in the column? Well, as of 1:52 p.m. on Thursday, they might finally have a head coach.
After weeks of searching, leaking information, rearranging coaching prospect rankings and flying to and from various locations across the continental United States, the Browns seem to have zeroed in on 47-year-old Mike Pettine. The current defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, Pettine has a track record of defensive success. Players and colleagues apparently love him, according to sources that aren’t mine. I won’t go any deeper into it because I’m nearing my word limit.
We’re currently in the midst of checking flight schedules and watching the tarmac at Cleveland Hopkins Airport via Twitter.
Browns fans have a tendency to find positives in any and every hire—even Pat Shurmur. Pettine will bring “accountability, honesty and a great eye for talent”—aka, every encouraging quality of every prospective head coach ever. I’ll choose the wait and see approach. Maybe he’ll get more than the 11 months former head coach Rob Chudzinski was so generously allowed. This search has been so exhausting, even offensive lineman Jason Pinkston is ready for it to end so he can enjoy television again.
Wait, Twitter says Pettine has landed in Cleveland.
But there’s one catch—Pettine’s daughter doesn’t exactly seem ecstatic about this impending move.
What’s that, Megan Pettine? It’s the Browns? Last I checked, the Bills also are not anything special and haven’t been in the playoffs in the 21st Century (last appearance: 1999). Megan’s Twitter has since been deleted.
Pettine is now at the Browns’ facility in Berea. They’re likely drawing up the contract. Hooray, legalities!
Looks like someone has already changed Pettine’s Wikipedia page to say that he is the head coach of the Browns. Hey, at least it’s better than this.
Good luck, Mike. Don’t start unpacking just yet. You too, Megan.