Richard Sherman’s actions at the end of the Seattle Seahawks’ NFC Championship Game win over the San Francisco 49ers would have most believe he doesn’t respect Jim Harbaugh’s team. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite.
Sherman was an important, yet somewhat invisible, piece of the Seahawks’ 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday night. He managed three tackles and one pass defended before leaving the game with a severe ankle sprain in the fourth quarter. While the showdown between the Broncos’ record-setting offense and the Seahawks’ top-ranked defense stirred up plenty of buzz, in Sherman’s mind at least, the Super Bowl had been decided two weeks ago in Seattle.
“The NFC Championship was the Super Bowl,” Sherman said to The MMQB’s Robert Klemko. “The 49ers were the second-best team in the NFL.”
Unlike the Broncos, the 49ers gave the Seahawks all they could handle. Colin Kaepernick and Co. tested the Seahawks’ secondary all game, even putting the 49ers in a position to win late in the fourth quarter, before Sherman’s crucial tip on a pass intended for Michael Crabtree sealed the win.
After Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith — who two weeks later became the Super Bowl MVP — came down with the game-clinching interception, Sherman gave the choke sign to Kaepernick and proceeded to taunt Crabtree on national television. Sherman’s antics made it seem that the 49ers were more arch-nemesis than division rivals, but his comments after the Seahawks actually hoisted the Lombardi Trophy seems to insinuate that, rivals or not, he holds them in very high regard.