Monday, January 20, 2014
Richard Sherman, Richard Sherman, and more Richard Sherman. I'm pretty sure we'll
be hearing about the All-Pro cornerback from now up until the Super Bowl. I'll bet that
outside of Peyton Manning, Sherman will be the most popular player at the circus known
as media day. While the squeaky-clean Broncos quarterback will be the star leading up
to the biggest game of the year, Sherman is on his way to being the biggest freak show.
But say this about Richard Sherman: He may be arrogant, obnoxious, and low-class, but
the Stanford man is a pretty smart guy because he's figured out how to feed the media
monster and become a household name in this NFL-obsessed country.
In Sunday's post-game interview, Sherman went on a rant and called Michael Crabtree of
the San Francisco 49ers a 'sorry' wide receiver. He supposedly said a few other things to a
few other networks, but I didn't hear them, because I hit the 'off' button on my TV clicker.
On Monday, Sherman's post-game hate-fest flooded the Internet, sports talk radio, and
every still-existing paper in the country. He even authored a column for SI.com on why he
said what he said about Michael Crabtree.
Yep, the media rewards people for being controversial, colorful, and often times, downright
right despicable. Television executives do it all the time as well. Heck, CNN gave Elliot
Spitzer, the former governor of New York who resigned after his scandal with a hooker, his
own television show! Is this a great country or what. Same thing happened north of the border
after Toronto mayor Rob Ford was outed for being a crack-smoking, foul-mouthed, near-
frat boy politician. (Although, Ford never resigned. )
The media nor television executives care that much about morality and character because,
after all, it's all about the ratings. Athletes who don't deliver the great sound bite or call
teammates or opponents out, don't usually get calls to be on "PTI", "Around the Horn"
or be the subject of ESPN's "Sunday Conversation", unless they are Manning, Brady, or
Derek Jeter, but there are so few of those athletes around in today's, "You-Face-Twit" world.
(that's short for YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, if you're scoring at home.)
By Tuesday, I'm sure just about every significant media outlet in the country will have
called the Seattle Seahawks public relations department requesting Sherman for an interview.
It's how it works. Producers often feel they have to get someone who is colorful and
with an 'edge'. You know, that athlete who is "trending" or in the Buzzfeed.
Sherman knows how to play the media, that's for sure. He plays cornerback in Seattle, which
is pretty much non-existent to the people outside of, well, Seattle. Sherman wears dreadlocks
just like every other defensive back in the league and he's far from being happy with just
being an All-Pro. He wants to be an 'it' guy and get all the attention. And how may I ask is
he going to accomplish that without tooting his horn or yanking the chain of others?
Sherman's rant to Erin Andrews of Fox has made him Stephen A. Smith with dreadlocks.
He is a man most of the country loves to hate but man just about every producer has to
have in their sports television program.
Two weeks before the Super Bowl, Sherman is getting the attention he feels that he deserves.
There will probably be appearances on the Late Night talk show circuit, television commercials,
and a bigger contract down the line. That's how it works these days, doesn't it?
Sherman's behavior isn't exactly worth of being a role model, but I don't think he cares one
bit about that. I'm sure a lot of high school kids doing post-game interviews will feel inclined
to diss an opponent or thump his chest like a buffoon because after all, Richard Sherman
did it. He's in the NFL, so they can do it too.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Name another team could lose all those players like the Patriots did before and during the season
and still make it to the AFC championship game.
You can't because there is none.
No team deals with injuries and adversity better than the New England Patriots. Ever. Aaron
Hernandez, an All-Pro, impact player gets charged with murder and the team barely blinks before
saying good-bye to him and moving on. It's like he never existed.
Bill Belichick lets Wes Welker walk over a couple of measly million dollars and the fans and
experts say that the Patriots won't be able to replace Welker's production. Really? Julian Edelman,
a former college quarterback and seventh-round draft pick catches 105 passes, just about the
same amount Wellker averaged during his career as Tom Brady's favorite.
During the season, the team loses three Pro Bowl players in Vince Wilford, Jerod Mayo, and
Rob Gronkowski and what happens? They finish 12-4 and are now just a win away from
going to the Super Bowl again.
It's all because of Belichick and his genius. Under his watch, the Patriots are strengthened by
adversity instead of coming apart. They are fueled by the doubters and all those who said they'll
come apart. It happens all the time. Remember when Brady went down in the first game of the
2006 season with a torn-up knee? Yeah, they finished the year at 11-5 record with a quarterback
Matt Cassell, who took about seven snaps in college as a back-up to Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.
It's the genius of Belichick. It's his system, his way, and the Patriots have never crumbled
no matter what the circumstances. 11 straight seasons with 10 or more wins. That's an insane accomplishment in this day and age of the NFL's parity.
Few people cared when the Patriots sent Jeff Demps and a seventh-round draft pick to Tampa
Bay for running back LaGarrette Blount. He had some baggage like Corey Dillon once did and
Blount is carrying it for the Patriots like "Clock-killin' Dillon did for the team the last time
they won the Super Bowl. Blount has been a beast the last few games and he could be the
key to winning the AFC Championship game against the Broncos.
A 260 lb machine for a 7th-round pick? That's the genius of Belichick.
The Hoodie is head and shoulders about any coach in the NFL. It's not even close. I just wish
the Patriots fans would learn their lesson when Belichick decides to let a player go a year
too early rather than a year too late.
He was the guy who cut Bernie Kosar, the most popular player in Browns history outside
of Jim Brown, and replaced him with Vinny Testaverde. Belichick was the guy who told Drew Bledsoe, a franchise quarterback on his way to the Hall of Fame before Mo Lewis knock
him out, to take a seat in favor of an untested QB named Tom Brady.
I've heard people say that Belichick is just a .500 coach without Brady. That's totally
absurd, but if you want to believe that argument, then you can say the same thing about
Chuck Knoll, Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, and Don Shula. I'm sure if they didnt have
Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Bob Griese, and Dan
Marino, there's a good chance they wouldn't have been the coaches they were.
The key is finding those franchise quarterbacks. Nearly every team passed on Brady
six, I repeat, SIX times before the Patriots drafted him. Belichick had a franchise
QB in Bledsoe, but saw something in Brady that made his say good-bye to Bledsoe.
He knew. That's the genius of Belichick. He knew that Edelman could replace the
production of Welker. Yes, he knew. He knew the team could once again overcome
injuries to All-Pro players.
This is his team, his system, his way. Belichick had all those great assistant coaches
and player personnel guys but once they went out on their own, they were nothing.
Eric Mangini, Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Josh McDaniels, and Scott Pioli were
supposed to be the next big things (and Belichicks), but they flopped when they
became the men in charge.
It's further proof of Belichick's genius. Coaches and players come and go, but Belichick
is the one constant, as well as Brady, the guy Belichick found and groomed for greatness.
It's the genius of Belichick. Pure genius.