In this week’s Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Peter Fiorilla, asks our expert panel three questions: is Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman a victim or a villain after being shredded for his interview with Erin Andrews, who will win the Super Bowl and why, and who is the least likeable figure in the NFL?
1. Is Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman a victim or a villain after being shredded by the media for his interview following the NFC Championship game?
Amy: Richard Sherman is actually one of the most likeable people in the NFL, and certainly not a villain. In his interview with Erin Andrews, he was excited about going to the Super Bowl — I’d probably scream a little, too. The media are definitely overreacting, and they’re ignoring a lot of the great things Sherman has done. First off, he’s extremely charitable. Sherman’s only been in the NFL for three years, and is therefore still on his rookie contract, but he’s already one of the most charitable players in the NFL. This past summer, he organized a benefit to help build a home for an injured soldier, and in October, he visited a high school in Washington, where he talked about bullying and bought school supplies for 120 students and new cleats for the football team. And every Christmas he gives back to families in need. Plus, he’s got great Throwback Thursdays on Instagram. What’s not to love?
Mike: For the interview in particular, Sherman is a victim. His actions on the field might be a different story, but any post-game interview is going to contain some emotion. Just look at the scenario Sherman was in — his team had just won the NFC Championship over their bitter division rival, he was directly involved in a potentially game-saving play, and he was coming to the realization that, yes, he will be playing in the Super Bowl. The dude was pumped up, and he’s an outspoken guy in usual circumstances, so of course he’s going to go off like that. Anyone would in that situation, which is why having those interviews immediately after games end — especially with more volatile players — is never a very good idea. I remember distinctly an interview with Nyjer Morgan (better known by his nickname “Tony Plush”) right after the Milwaukee Brewers won the divisional round in 2011, in which he twice dropped the F-bomb on live TV, which anyone who realized that he’d just hit a series-clincher would not be surprised by, I don’t blame the athletes for these tirades: I blame the morons who put them on live TV seconds after the game.
Andrew: Sherman has been on the wrong end of the media as of late. While his interview with Erin Andrews may have been intense, No. 25 was just excited, and for good reason. Just minutes prior to the interview, Sherman had made an outstanding play to send his team to the Super Bowl. For any individual, chances like that don’t come often, so Sherman did what any athlete would do: he embraced the moment. While Sherman’s comments against Crabtree may have been harsh, the media and fans do not have the proper perspective. We do not know what words were being reciprocated between Sherman and Crabtree, other than that Sherman wished to shake the wide receiver’s hand after the game. As millions saw on tape, Crabtree did not oblige and pushed Sherman out of the way. In light of recent events, I believe that the media jumped the gun on attacking Sherman, ultimately making him a victim.
Andrew gets 3 point since we don’t know what Crabtree said, Amy gets 2 points for pointing out Sherman’s charity, and Mike gets 1 point for blaming the TV “morons.”
2. Who will win the Super Bowl and why?
Amy: Seattle will win the Super Bowl, and I have multiple reasons why. My first reason is the weather. The long-range forecast is saying cold rain or a wintry mix, which is not Peyton Manning’s forte. Plus, cold-weather games usually favor the more physical teams, and with Seattle’s top-five running game and hard-hitting defense, the weather will most likely be an advantage for the Seahawks. Most importantly, though, defense wins championships, and in this case, Seattle is the better defensive team. In fact, in four recent Super Bowls where the top defensive team played the top offensive team, the defensive team won three times.
Mike: The Seattle Seahawks, for two primary reasons: the location and one of the oldest adages in sports, that defense wins championships. The location is important mainly because of the two styles being employed during this game. The Broncos, with their Peyton-dominated high-octane attack through the air, will likely be slowed by the potentially extreme cold and likely snowstorms we’ll be seeing in Jersey this weekend. And no, it isn’t because Peyton can’t play in the cold, it’s because any QB is slowed down by the elements. That’s just how football works. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are usually reliant on the powers of Beast Mode’s running and their stellar defense, which is usually the winning strategy in conditions like those we’ll be seeing. Factoring in that usually when a dominant offense (with questionable defense) meets a dominant defense (with a decent offense), the defense ends up with the W, I’d say the Seahawks have the advantage. Play this game in warmer weather (or a dome), and the Broncos might have the edge, but that isn’t the case this year.
Andrew: They say that defense wins championships, and this game will be no different. The Seahawks have all the pieces to stop Peyton Manning and his record-breaking offense. While some critics may point out Russell Wilson’s inexperience as opposed to future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning, I would like to mention a previous Super Bowl that seems eerily similar. In 2002, Tom Brady — second-year quarterback — upset former Super Bowl champion and NFL MVP Kurt Warner to spark the biggest upset at the time. While Manning is a having a historic year — just like Warner was having in 2002 — the Seahawks defense will definitely give him trouble. No quarterback has ever won a Super Bowl on two different teams. Joe Montana didn’t, and neither did Warner. The only question is if history can repeat itself, and I think Russell Wilson and the Seahawks can do just that.
Andrew, Mike and Amy each get 1 point for using the cliché “defense wins championships,” since offenses win Super Bowls too.
3. There are a lot of unlikeable people in the NFL. Last week alone, historically great cheater Bill Belichick whined about a legal hit on Wes Welker, Brandon Jacobs called Jim Harbaugh a b**** and Richard Sherman set off a frenzy after taunting Michael Crabtree. Who is the least likeable person in the NFL?
Amy: Fans love tough players, but there’s such a fine line between playing tough and playing dirty, and it’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Ndamukong Suh is one of the dirtiest players in the NFL, and therefore also one of the most disliked. Since drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2010, Suh has been fined seven times for a total of $209,000. He also lost $165,294 in pay as a result of getting a two-game suspension during his second season for stomping on the arm of Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith. Even his teammates hate him. Yeah, he’s a great player -— but no matter how talented he is, Suh’s not worth the trouble if his penalties will cost his team big plays.
Mike: This is an interesting question because there are so many viable choices depending on the team you cheer for and how closely you follow the league. But I’ll give you a simple answer: Ndamukong Suh. While Belichick, Jacobs and Sherman are easily disliked, they are also fast losing their evil touches — Bill hasn’t won diddly since Spygate, Sherman is now being defended by many great athletes and was more a victim than a villain, and Jacobs hasn’t been relevant since 2011. Suh, on the other hand, is a man who is perhaps best known for trying to stomp a man to death and has been suspended and fined for excessive violence toward other players on multiple occasions, with no real indicators that he will change his ways. It’s hard to argue that people who mouth off or cheat are less likeable than a man who stomps on faces, so Suh’s my answer for now. I would also consider Jerry Jones, but he really only hurts Cowboys fans, as the rest of the league kind of enjoys how badly he runs that team.
Andrew: Right now, the answer is simple. Aaron Hernandez — former NFL great — is the least liked person in the league. After being charged with homicide along with other multiple other charges, this tight end’s life is over. Take a look at O.J. Simpson’s trial. Still, to this day, it is believed that he had gotten away with murder. Regardless of the outcome of the tight end’s trial, the public, along with the players, will always look at him in disdain. While there may be other current players who are disliked, none of them can compare to Hernandez. Taunting a player or making dirty plays do not compare to allegedly murdering another person. Hernandez was not only an embarrassment for the New England Patriots, but he also severely hurt the credibility of the NFL.
Amy gets 3 points for pointing out Suh’s fine total, Mike gets 2 points for recalling Suh’s stomping incident, and Andrew gets 1 point because Hernandez is no longer in the league.
Amy wins the Around the Dorm, 6-5-4
“I’ll give you a quote next time.” —Amy