The Seahawks' Richard Sherman calls himself the best cornerback in the NFL. Is that true?
NEW YORK – When Richard Sherman talks – or launches into a postgame rant on national television – people tend to listen.
And when he uses that forum to declare that he's the best cornerback in the NFL, other cornerbacks in the league are particularly attentive.
They've heard it before, but this time it's different. This time, Sherman, along with his Seattle Seahawks teammates, is preparing to play in the Super Bowl.
Best cornerback in the NFL? What about Tampa Bay's Darrelle Revis? What about the Browns' Joe Haden?
This was the perspective Revis recently lent to the topic while in Honolulu for the Pro Bowl: "I feel like I'm the best. Deion Sanders probably feels like he is the best. Everybody has their own personal opinion. And that is how you go with it and I think that is what makes it fun. (Sherman is) saying he's the best. I'm saying I'm the best, Joe Haden thinks he's the best."
Does each have a legitimate case?
Sanders is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Before Sherman came along in 2011, Revis had widely been viewed as the best among active cornerbacks. Haden just played in his first Pro Bowl after a season in which he gained a great deal of recognition for consistently discouraging quarterbacks from throwing his way.
"You can go by numbers," Revis said. "You can go by the ball not being thrown to your side so many times. There are so many variables in it. But at the same time, we are all talented players."
Yes, they are.
But not all of them have Sherman's numbers.
He led the NFL during the regular season with eight interceptions, giving him 16 in the past two years and 20 in the past three. How about this factoid? No player in the league has had 20 picks in the last four seasons. The two who have come the closest are Ed Reed (18) and DeAngelo Hall (17). Sherman also has defended the most passes (61) during that span.
Those kinds of statistics speak loudly of greatness, as does Richard Sherman's excellent performance. During the Jan. 19 NFC Championship Game, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick only threw in Sherman's direction twice. The second time, Sherman deflected a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone that linebacker Malcolm Smith intercepted to seal the Seahawks' 23-17 victory.
Best cornerback in the NFL?
That's what Sherman loudly told Fox Sports' Erin Andrews he was shortly after making his decisive play. Then, he called Crabtree a "sorry receiver." And both remarks followed his flashing a choke sign at the 49ers' bench and subsequently being fined by the league.
Sherman was much more contrite when he first met reporters this week after the Seahawks arrived in the area for Super Bowl XXVIII Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
He described himself this way: "I'm just a guy trying to be the best, a guy that wants to help his team win and is a fiery competitor who goes out there and puts his life into his work and puts his everything and his passion into his work, a guy that's come from humble beginnings and came from a place (Compton, Calif.) not a lot people make it out of. I'm just trying to affect the world in a positive way."
Sherman acknowledges that the Broncos could use his words against him, as a source of motivation.
"But it's all going to come down to who plays the best football," he said. "So none of that is going to be relevant."
Still, people will listen … especially other cornerbacks in the NFL.
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