After the Seattle Seahawks clinched their first Super Bowl berth since 2006 last night, when they defeated the San Francisco 49ers, their star cornerback Richard Sherman went viral after he seemed to channel the WWE in a deranged post-game interview with FOX on-field reporter Erin Andrews. He proclaimed, among other things, that, “I’m the best corner in the game,” before attacking 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree as “a sorry receiver.” He added: “Don’t you talk about the best, or I’m going to shut it for you real quick.” Meanwhile, Andrews stood shell-shocked.
Curious what to make of this sort of this behavior, we sought out the expertise of Dr. Jonathan F. Katz, a sports psychologist and founding partner of New York-based High Performance Associates. Dr. Katz was sure not to rush to judgment based off of Sherman’s post-game outburst—it lasted only 30 seconds, of course, and probably arrived with a healthy dose of post-game adrenaline—but he admitted Sherman's actions could be a sign of something deeper. It also wasn’t the first time that Sherman went ballistic on-air. Last year, he had a run-in with ESPN First Take’s Skip Bayless where he told the host: “I’m better at life than you.”
“As somebody who works with athletes, I always want them to focus their energy in the most constructive way,” Katz said. “Thinking you’re the best is fine. But if you’re putting too much energy in terms of telling everyone how great you are, there is an indication to me that if you really felt that way to the core, you wouldn’t feel such a need to tell everybody.”
He went on: “You may act like you have a chip on your shoulder and play like that but it’s not uncommon that players who feel the need to tell the world that, may have some sense of insecurity and the need to tell the world, as opposed to that, in an old-school kind of way, to let their actions speak louder than words.”
To Sherman’s credit, last night, his actions spoke as loudly as his words. He made the deciding defensive play of the game, deflecting Colin Kaepernick’s deep pass to Crabtree that was then intercepted in the game's final stretch. As for his encounter with Andrews, Sherman explained today in a Sports Illustrated article: "It was loud. It was in the moment, and it was just a small part of the person I am." It's a good bet we're not done hearing from Sherman about who Sherman is.