A 20-second outburst for the ages


Richard Sherman got his gloved hand on a pass thrown by Colin Kaepernick, and within a few minutes he was trending on Twitter and setting the agenda for Monday’s sports talk radio and water cooler conversations across the country.

Not because of the play, which won the game and put his Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Sherman is the newest household name to come from the world of sports celebrity because sideline reporter Erin Andrews stuck a microphone in his face for the obligatory on-field, postgame interview and quickly found herself talking to the anti-Peyton Manning.

At a volume befitting the NFL’s loudest stadium, an agitated Sherman used his 20 seconds of highest TV ratings not to thank the good Lord or credit his teammates, but instead to demean a talented opponent, the San Francisco 49ers’ Michael Crabtree, and declare himself the best cornerback in pro football. And we ate it up.

While not nearly as poetic as vintage Muhammad Ali, Sherman channeled the champ’s superiority, making Crabtree his Joe Frazier. Still, what likely made the rant most irresistible for the general public was that Sherman sounded more than a little crazy.

Andrews, who is a TV celebrity in her own right, appeared slightly taken aback by Sherman’s outburst. If you know anything about his background, however, it should not have been a surprise.

Raised in gang-infested Compton, Calif., Sherman graduated second in his high school class and earned — yes, by all accounts, actually earned — a degree in communications from Stanford University. He’s a smart guy who likes playing to the news media, calling out opponents and being the center of attention.

“Things I do probably look like madness, like I’m totally out of control, but there’s always a plan,” he told Sports Illustrated last summer. “It’s part of a greater scheme to get some eyes, to grow the market, to grow Seattle. Now people are paying attention, and they’ll probably be disappointed this year because I will be a lot more reserved.”

The nation was paying attention late Sunday, and Sherman did not disappoint. He literally shouted his way into the public’s consciousness. Classy? No, of course not. But no one would be talking about Sherman today if he’d mumbled a few clichés, thanked Andrews and moved along. Only quarterbacks can do that.