Before we go any further, I want to make something plain: the Seahawks won the NFC Championship Game fair and square. They deserve to advance to the Super Bowl. That fact, however disconcerting it may be, is undeniable. Let's avoid getting that twisted.
Another difficult fact to reconcile...Richard Sherman is the best corner in the NFL right now. He's fast. He's got great instincts. A great work ethic. An impressive (if relatively short) football resume. He is the leader of a defensive backfield that is known by the moniker "Legion of Boom."
He is also an insufferable douchebag. Diaperstain. Blowhard. Putz. Assclown. Pick your descriptor. The guy has the personality of a professional wrestling heel and the mouth of a coked up circus barker with ADD...and that is a tragedy.
Why? It's pretty simple really. I love professional football. The league in which the best professional football is played, the NFL, is in transition. Its rules are changing. Safety is paramount. Big hits are on the way out...and pass happy offense is on the way in. Its popularity is at an all time high...but very real concerns are arising about whether young men should play the game at all. Some of its most identifiable stars (the old guard, if you will) are getting long in the tooth...which means that younger players need to step up to populate the league's "top tier" of talent. This league...this sport...needs talented, intelligent, well spoken ambassadors. It needs young men that will expand on the legacy left to them by players like Joe Montana. Johnny Unitas. Steve Young. Jerry Rice. Steve Largent. Tim Brown. Ronnie Lott. Walter Payton. Barry Sanders. Emmitt Smith. Franco Harris. Lynn Swann. Troy Aikman. Terry Bradshaw. To carry it into the future, the league needs new legends. Instead, it is getting young men like Richard Sherman. Douchebags. Diaperstains. Putzes. Assclowns. And again, that is a tragedy.
I know what you're thinking. You're probably thinking, "AJ, aren't you being a little harsh here? The guy's a loudmouth...but sheesh, cut him some slack."
I can't. I won't. And you shouldn't, either.
I can't cut him any slack here...because he hasn't earned it yet. Don't get me wrong...he's a good player. Great, even. By the time he's done, he could be one of the best ever. But he isn't done yet. Hell, he hasn't really even gotten started yet. So in the words of Winston Wolfe, "let's not start sucking each other's d*#%s quite yet." Sherman has a way to go before he's a legend...and everybody (except Sherman apparently) knows it.
I love the game of football. Odds are that if you're reading this, you love football as much as I do. I was raised on the legends of past greats. I have been fortunate enough to see some of the best players in the history of the game get drafted, work their asses off and become legends themselves. No matter which team you cheer for...if you love this game, hope that Sherman's antics don't inspire a generation of youngsters to prance about like WWE superstars, acting out scripts designed to draw attention away from a semi-exciting but ultimately fake product. Hope that the greatness of this sport's past inspires its future stars to honor the game instead of degrade it. Hope that they make it better...not worse.
Last Sunday night, Richard Sherman punctuated his post game rant with "L.O.B.", the acronym for his secondary's moniker, the "Legion of Boom." But he got it twisted. Because for as long as he chooses to put himself before his teammates...as long as he opts to forgo sportsmanship for the benefit of sensationalism...he's nothing more than the spokesman for the Legion of Douche...and that is a tragedy.
Date: February 1, 2014 at 10:55 PM
Comment: I know this is a bit late, but, "they won it fair and square"? You mean with all the bad calls by officials being what they were, they won fair and square? It bothers me that when officiating is such a huge part of the game, it rarely gets talked about as a reason a team wins or loses. Some of those calls were huge game changing events. The non roughing the kicker, maybe we keep the ball and score! The Whitner hit? They would've punted. The Rodgers hit before the half? Maybe we get a field goal. The big call on the Bowman play didn't matter but added to the disastrous outing by the officials that night. But aside from all that, they won fair and square!
Date: January 29, 2014 at 8:31 AM
Comment: This makes us look like sore losers. You know when people start a sentence with "With all due respect, ..." and then go on to insult the person/thing they were supposedly giving respect to? That's exactly what you did here. Yeah, the Seahawks won it fair, yeah Sherman is a great corner. Just leave it at that. Every big group of people is going to have it's humble group and it's not-so-humble group within it. Especially in professional sports. Sherman made the play and called out Crab. Now it's up to Crab to come out and make him eat his words next year with his play. Have to believe that Super Bowl 49 next year is the 49ers year.
By: Sash Roxx
Date: January 29, 2014 at 6:49 AM
Comment: You don't think the officiating was poor? You don't have a problem with the ref NOT knowing the rules for roughing the kicker because he's an NCAA BASKETBALL Referee? What happens if the niners end up scoring even a FG if the correct foul is called? And the niners then are atleast able to kick the tying FG instead of a MUST Win TD...and if Seattle doesn't score ...Would you call it an Unfair win for the Niners if they pulled it off due to that botched call if it was correct? And was it a right call when Bowman is lying on the ground with the ball IN HIS Hands giving Seattle another play which would have been real bad if the defense didn't stuff the Hawks...that was a blown call though that I'm glad happened cause that blown call gave the Niners the ball on the 15 or so instead of the 1. But please when you say Seattle won the game fair & square the roughing call alone says Sorry you're WRONG! Only thing I look back on is with the Niners injuries Im almost glad they didn't make it to the SB causeI don't know if they can win against the Bronco's w/o Iupati, Bowman
By: Ur stupid
Date: January 26, 2014 at 6:47 PM
Comment: Ur a fucking idiot Seahawks played well but didn't full deserve the win we came up short but only after so many bad calls by these so called refs until nfl takes accountability and fines or comes up with reprocausions for the refs games will continue to be controlled by calls and refs and go to teams with large fan base "big money" instead of more talented. Ps Sherman is good but didn't do shut on that play it was a bad pass and the ignorant fuck should have intersected a ball thrown like that not had to bat it
By: Terry B.
Date: January 24, 2014 at 11:58 AM
Comment: Right. Changing your name to Hitner is acting like a genius. And making yourself a target for the refs is really putting your team first.
By: Barry T.
Date: January 24, 2014 at 11:04 AM
Comment: You'll have to forgive my brother Terry. He's a hater. He knows you are right, and that makes him a grumper. Sorry man.
By: Terry B.
Date: January 24, 2014 at 8:33 AM
Comment: Right, AJ, you just can't abide someone whose selfish antics take the focus off of his team. That's why, after Donte Whitner was flagged for a personal foul and announced that he was changing his name to "Hitner," you wrote that there are no words to describe how awesome that is. While I don't disagree with the points you make, your past statements lead me to view this column as nothing but rampant homerism. If the "Legion of Boom" were on the 49ers, you would be writing about how awesome they are, and if Donte Whitner was a Seahawk who changed his name to "Hitner," you would refer to him as "Douchene Whiner."
Date: January 23, 2014 at 3:57 PM
Comment: AJ - I think you are 100% right on. I couldn't agree with you more and my comment to everyone's Sherman post Monday on FB was he's a douche bag - this coming from a lady. Love that you cut through the non-sense and get to the real issue which is ambassadors. All sports need them because kids look up to them and better kids = better adults. Thank you
Date: January 23, 2014 at 3:47 PM
Comment: He said what he said he said.
Date: January 23, 2014 at 10:49 AM
Comment: The smack talk in the game of football has always been from the guys that don't get hit enough, the guys that play outside the hashes. WR's and DB's. The best corner back of the past 20 years has calmed down but Deion is still an arrogant idiot that can say the wrong thing. TO is another example and trashed our team, Randy Moss will never be considered the greatest because of his off the field issues, Dashon Goldson was always getting in to trouble, and of course Michael Irvin. There are more, and I know there are examples of players in other positions, but if you're hitting and getting hit you learn respect for the opposition.
It's what made Jerry Rice so special. He respected everyone he went up against and realised he had to work harder than anyone else and just let his play do the talking.
My theory falls down when it comes to Clay Matthews, the guy is just a douchebag.
Date: January 23, 2014 at 9:26 AM
Comment: All Sherman did was show the world how to win with no class. You can act like an asshat off camera in the locker room. I think the true measure of a man is not how he loses, but how he wins. I hope a lot of mothers and fathers out there showed that rant to their kids and explained to them just how unclassy it was.
Date: January 23, 2014 at 9:09 AM
Comment: Hey AJ, would you put classless Crabtree in the same category as you put Sherman? By now even you diehard Niners fans have heard the audio of Sherman going up to give a sincere "helluva game" to Crabtree and is greeted with a stiffarm to the helmet. Don't give me the excuse that the timing was bad or you have to giver Sherman the same latitude. Also, don't forget that for each one of those ambassadors you named, there was a player or multiple players of that era that would talk smack the same way Sherman did. The officiating was awful BOTH WAYS and always is so we can all stop with the game wasn't won FAIR and SQUARE. That is just the heart of a die hard fan getting in the way of the head and I get that but it doesn't make it right. This is a great rivalry now and will be for years. Shermans comments didn't taint anything. The Seahawks are the best team playing right now because they find ways to win despite setbacks and conditions that are their own doing and beyond their control. They FIND ways to win, SF did not.
Date: January 23, 2014 at 8:22 AM
Comment: I love your article and completely agree. However, calling them "The Legion of Douche", may be a bit much for not all Hawks are Jerks like Sherman. I understand that he represents an entire state, but there is always a bad apple in everything. I live in Seattle and its not easy being a NINER fan out here.. LOL. A lot of Hawk fans are just as shitty as Sherman. But, not all. With that said, I just want to point out that not all the team is like Sherman. In fact, Wilson and Lynch are great football players too and soo humble. I admire them not only as players but as real ppl, not just for TV like Sherman. Just a thought. :)
Date: January 23, 2014 at 7:29 AM
Comment: 1. Anyone that quotes The Wolfe is in my cool book !
2. (almost) Totally correct ! Sherman could allow his play to talk, but his mouth is going to drowned it out.
3. NFL players are proud and want their share of the glory, So I can see Sherman being the victim of a lot of cheap shots next year. How nice would it be to see Vernon "rub" Sherman when he is trailing a Crabtree slant next year?
4. The 49ers did not lose that game "fair and square." You can say that about the SB last year and the NFC Champ game 2 years ago.....BUT not this game. The bad calls were one sided. Forget the blown fumble, it didn't matter, the roughing the punter and the Whitner hit were GAME CHANGERS. Both calls cost field position and the ball. There were no comparable calls on the other side of the ball.
If the 49ers and Seahawks played 10 times on a neutral field, the 49ers win 9 times. The best team does not always win the SB. The 49ers are better then the Seahawks right now.
49ers forever !!!
By: Ron F.
Date: January 23, 2014 at 7:28 AM
Comment: A.J., He already is part of "a generation of youngsters to prance about like WWE superstars". That's the problem. Have you watched the antics of most of the other sea hawk players? The vast majority act like every tackle or interception or play of any kind that they make is the first. I haven't seen so much chest beating since King Kong. And I've seen less bravado from my 8 year old grandsons Peewee League team. It is a team sport last time I checked but you would never know it any longer.
Date: January 23, 2014 at 6:39 AM
Comment: Thank you for this great article. Couldn't agree with you more. What Sherman did was an embarrassment to his team, and himself....he just doesn't see it that way. :(
These players MUST realize that they are role models for up and coming athletes. He wasn't a very good one. The Seattle people (most, not all) did not do their team any favors in a lot of peoples eyes. They definitely don't deserve "sportsmanship" of the year award.
They won, didn't make me as a die hard Niner fan happy, but there is always a winner and loser.
Go Broncos in the Superbowl!! Much more class as a whole!
Date: January 23, 2014 at 5:38 AM
Comment: Great article... could not agree more. But, I would take it one step further. It should be referred to as the Legion of Douche because it is only the best defensive backfield because the refs seem oblivious to their antics. Richard Sherman is only the best corner in the NFL because he commits fouls against his opponents -- and it is a mystery to me WHY the refs let him and his colleagues get away with it. Is this the new NFL? Hard hits and anything above knee level is taboo, BUT a corner or safety can hold shirts, arms, waists; the defensive backfield can some into the play and disrupt a receiver well before the ball is in the area of play. The refs have to get better at calling OFF THE BALL fouls because these same fouls create a problem later on down the line with actually getting to and catching the ball for any receiver. I am all for bump and run, but WTF knock you down and run, hold on to your shirt and run, elbow you in the neck/groin/side and run... WTF is that? After the 5 yard mark, unless the ball is in the area of play, you can NOT touch the F*(&*(&ing receiver period. Enforcing this rule is what makes the game fair and fun to watch. The NFL is garbage IMHO. Go NINERS!
By: Big Al
Date: January 23, 2014 at 5:13 AM
Comment: Fair and square? BS. Roughing the kicker is called when a rusher hits the non-kicking leg of the kicker. The rule is clear and the penalty is 15 yards. Some horse's ass part-time official says it's 5 yards and none of the other 7 so-called refs say a word. The 49ers would have had a first down in good field position with a chance to get up by 2 scores. Instead, we're forced to punt and Lynch gets his one good run of the day. Was that penalty mistake an accident? I doubt it and it cost us a trip to the Super Bowl. I agree -- Sherman is a douche.
By: Bud Morris
Date: January 23, 2014 at 1:52 AM
Comment: Excellently said. I completely agree. However, yes, the Seahawks ended up with a higher score than did the 49rs but i don't feel the won the game. I am a Steelers fan and had no dog in the fight. That being said, anyone, and i do mean ANYONE who watched every play of that game as i did, if honest, must admit it was the poorest example of officiating perhaps in the history of the NFL. Blatant missed and wrong calls were made that directly affected the end result of the game. This happens throughout the season but in a playoff event it is unacceptable. These are suppose to be highly trained and skilled referees who should know how to do just that, REFEREE the game. All that was said about Sherman can be applied to the referees of the game. Honor, integrity, skill must be re-instated into the officials of the game. Bought off officials make the game not worth watching or paying good money to go see. That is my unbiast opinion. I feel the 49rs would have won had it not been for this abomination of officiating. But, we will never know for certain will we. Thanks for reading.
Date: January 23, 2014 at 1:11 AM
Comment: Well put i agree he is a good player may be great but a good players is more than playing well on the field its supporting your teammates supporting your team Sherman did not win this game alone although he thought he did his team won this game but by him talking all this crap takes away from that win
Date: January 23, 2014 at 1:09 AM
Date: January 23, 2014 at 12:49 AM
Comment: Man, you REALLY should have waited to post this. Just go to NFL.com and you can EASILY find the Sound FX audio of BOTH Michael Crabtree AND Richard Sherman. The only classless, selfish, OVERRATED, unsportsmanlike, NON TEAM ORIENTED person that I see here is MICHAEL CRABTREE!!! The guy HELDOUT on "his team" for HOW LONG BEFORE HE SIGNED?!?! Now, when I think of the word "THUG" the first thing that comes to my mind is someone who is disrespectful, classless, selfish, and is just after the "skrilla" Sounds to me like the 49ers have a team full of THUGS...just go onto YouTube and search "Navarro Bowman rips kids sign" That's a classless scum of the NFL THUG!!! I still have respect for EVERY team and player but you wanna take a cheap shot go ahead. But it's adorable you guys are SOOOO quick to judge. #karmasabitch #wewon5superbowls20yearsago #SEA-HAWKS #superbowl48
Date: January 22, 2014 at 9:20 PM
Comment: Thanks AJ, the game is played at such an intense physical level it demands respect on both sides. The antics by Sherman were not a ploy to receive endorsements, corporate America would't touch him. What I see is a person with psychological problems. Would it surprise anyone to see his name on the police blotter or rehab clinic.
Just a side note, the saddest thing this 49er fan has seen is Bo on the cart with his head down.
By: JJ Patrick
Date: January 22, 2014 at 7:35 PM
Comment: Proud of our 'Niners and feel our greatness returning, so much talent, three great seasons, a little patience and great fan support will bring the Lombardi back home to join the other 5. In the meantime....Go Broncos!!!
Date: January 22, 2014 at 7:17 PM
Comment: Perfect ! I never cared for TO after his first 2 seasons and then turned into an idiot too. This article says it all. Seahawk fans can call us whiners all they want, but to make excuses for this asshat and assume we are just mad about losing is ridiculous. We lost the Superbowl last year with more dignity then Sherman allowed you for your win. If you lose next week I'm sure we will see some heavy heavy whining out of the Northwest. Sp Please just stay on your websites and leave us alone.
Date: January 22, 2014 at 7:11 PM
Comment: WoW! I am blown away at how this was Very Well put together. I could not stop Reading...Awesome Job! I could not have said it Any better. Thank you...
By: susan walker
Date: January 22, 2014 at 6:42 PM
Comment: love the article.. very very well said.. im a 49er faithful for life, but im also a fan of the sport, i love watching all the teams play and good sportsmanship is so important... excellent season niners... cant wait til september!!!
Date: January 22, 2014 at 6:36 PM
Comment: Thank you for this article! Well written and said! The best article I have read about Sherman's unsportsman like antics since they occurred. It's also nice to see that I'm not the only one trying to explain why there is no resonable excuse for his actions. I couldn't agree more, the Seahawks won and both teams fought hard, but leave it to a man like Sherman to turn all the hardwork of his fellow teammates into a joke. I believe that he won't be remembered most for his greatness as an athlete, but for his arrogance. That should be a wakeup call for any professional athlete.
Date: January 22, 2014 at 6:29 PM
Comment: Football has always had its fair share of ass-clowns. Ease off man, we lost and richard looked like, well, a dick. Poor (hot&rich) Erin Andrews.
I did have the same feeling about pro wrestling, wrote my dad about it that night. Weak. Just the same, I don't want to hear from white washed fops every interview. Give me some candor! Dudes like Charles Haley provide us with table-talk for generations.
Not to switch gears, but the San Jose Giants have a BBQ restaurantesque named after a guy who held up a train at gunpoint while straight ballin' at the turn of the century. We need villains.
Date: January 22, 2014 at 6:24 PM
Comment: love this article. so tired of everyone saying it was just adreneline. the douche continued his pointed rant against crabtree at the post game interviews. he knew exactly what he was doing and when his dad, whoops I mean coach, got mad at him- he apologized. you think he wanted to apologize? no way. The worst part about this is that he is getting SO much press and PR, I fear we will never hear the end of him. I love football SO much and I love the Niners. That game was so upsetting on so many levels but mostly because of Navarro Bowman's horrific injury which we were all still reeling from when the douche bag decided to take over the air waves. I could not agree with you more regarding the future of football and I honestly hope that he matures and ends his antics but I fear he won't, as they are getting him what he wants- publicity. Finally a friend commented on one of my posts with something that made me laugh so I will share it: "Richard Sherman, Dennis Rodman, Kanye West. Douchebag Club of America. Kanye was #1, then Rodman took over the top spot. After yesterday, it's now Sherm. #dbca"
By: Stephen Jeske
Date: January 22, 2014 at 6:08 PM
Comment: I remembered the first time I deflected a pass too.
By: Siaunofo Tautolo
Date: January 22, 2014 at 5:50 PM
Comment: I love the article, I'm really tired of our haters trying to Sugar Coat him and make it seem he was "misunderstood." He took full credit for a game he barely did anything until he tipped that pass. He showed no class, despite his apologies he's still mouthing off. It's amazing how his actions encourage Seahawks fans to act just like him, no class, throwing popcorn at Bowman, burning Kaepernick jersey. Sorry, still venting..lol! That's it.
Date: January 22, 2014 at 5:46 PM
Comment: If you make tshirts I know that where i am in the Tennessee/Kentucky area woukd buy them..
But as for Sherman, the jerk is not a good role model for the kids this man needs to learn there is a time and place for everything. And need to learn sportsmanship..
By: Lucky Phil
Date: January 22, 2014 at 5:43 PM
Comment: AJ, You had a great season this year. The Niners came up a little short but I'll be back next season to give you and the Rabbit a hard time. Just for the record AJ, the Niners really should have gone after J Gordon. I just can't help feeling if Kap throws the longball to J Gordon he beats that Assclown by three yards. Crabtree is not the answer but a trio of Gordon, Boldin and Crabtree would have delivered a SB. Oh well, I will be praying for S Watkins, Josh Huff and George Atkinson III (he would make an awesome WR) next yr.
Date: January 22, 2014 at 5:37 PM
Comment: Well said!!! Its hard to see analysts defend his ranting cuz he's passionate. he comes from a good family, he's educated and a good guy to his teamates and fans...but he is a douche! In my opinion if ur good and secure about it you have a lil bit of humility
Date: January 22, 2014 at 5:30 PM
Comment: Took the words right out of my mouth,beautifully spoken.
Date: January 22, 2014 at 5:20 PM
Comment: PLEASE - yes, do. I live in Minneapolis and you could sell a truck load here. Easily.
Date: January 22, 2014 at 4:41 PM
Comment: Need to make some T-Shirts bro... They'd sell like hotcakes, and not just in the Bay Area.