In the NFC Championship game on Sunday, Seahawks cornerback made the game-sealing play that resulted in an interception in the end zone to send the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. Just minutes after that, as I'm sure you've heard by now, came Sherman's comments about being the best and talking against 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree. Our own Andrew Mishler wrote a fantastic piece on the issue that is worth your time to read.
Sherman is, like he said, the best cornerback in the league. I'm firmly convinced on that point. Undoubtedly someone will say that he was only ranked 6th in PFF's rankings, but that's not Bible. They can be wrong at times, and while they're usually spot on, they're not perfect. I prefer the eye test to stats any day, and I'm a big fan of stats. And by the eye test, most people will tell you that Sherman is the league's best cornerback right now.
I don't have a big problem with Sherman's comments post game, but there is no denying the fact that he has now placed the spotlight on himself. When he falters, people will look back to these comments and use them against him - that's just the way it works. In two weeks even, he's going against the league's best quarterback (quite possibly in it's entire history) and an incredibly impressive receiving core. Even the best have bad games, and it's possible that happens to Sherman on the biggest stage of them all. He's very, very good - but not perfect. Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton proved that in week five when the Colts played the Seahawks.
Brad Wells wrote after the game of how Hilton completely "schooled" Sherman and Brandon Browner, two of the league's best corners:
"Anyway, Sherman is awesome. I honestly cannot say enough good things about his game. Watch the tape of what he did to San Francisco's Anquan Boldin in Week 2, and you'll get what I'm saying.
"That said, on Sunday, Richard Sherman (a.k.a., best corner in football) was completely dominated by Colts wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne. In fact, the domination was so thorough, it was near-embarrassing for Sherman.
"To use a basketball analogy, the 5'9 Hilton dunked on the 6'3 Sherman, and, in the process, stuffed his nutz in Sherman's face."
Hilton caught 5 passes on 6 targets for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns against the NFL's best secondary, averaging an insane 28 yards per catch while playing a major part in the Colts upset of the eventual NFC Champions. The strategy in that game was to directly attack Sherman and Browner, something that almost every other team has been scared to do, much less with a second year quarterback. The Colts and Andrew Luck did just that, and Luck and Hilton exploited the secondary to a stunning degree. This was against the league's best secondary and it's best individual cornerback.
Many remember that game, including Colts Pro Bowl long snapper Matt Overton. In a tweet after the game (I think it has since been deleted), Overton tweeted the following:
@MattOverton_LS WOW Sherman is a douche .... He's good .... But I remember when TY Hilton dominated you"
He's exactly right. Sherman is the league's best corner. But the spotlight is now on him (where he wants it), and so a bad performance will be a very bad thing for Sherman, as the media and fans will use his comments against him. I guess it's a good thing for him, then, that he won't be playing T.Y. Hilton any time soon, because when they played in week five, Hilton completely dominated Sherman.