Yesterday Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and New York Jets cornerback Darrell Revis got into a back on forth on twitter about who is the better player. Sherman, who is known for talking a lot of trash and is a superfan of stats, basically argues that in one season he’s put up bigger numbers than Revis (interceptions, forced fumbles) and that Revis will be “irrelevant” upon his return. To that, Revis says that Sherman doesn’t have a lot of followers and that he runs his mouth “like a girl.” Oh Revis, I will not forget that comment.
My stance on Sherman vs. Revis is simple. There’s not a big enough sample at this point to say who is currently playing better. Revis was out almost the entire season with a torn ACL, but to Revis’ credit he has had multiple seasons being a top corner to which Sherman has exactly one. It’s also important to remember that stats don’t tell the whole story. Depending on the defensive scheme (press vs. man, for example) a corner may not have much of a chance to grab INTs. It doesn’t mean he’s not doing his job. Revis, certainly, doesn’t give up many yards or big plays or catches at all for that matter. So the man to outdo remains Revis. And I’m a huge fan of Sherman but my favorite corner is still Lardarius Webb. Now that that’s cleared up, let’s talk about Sherman’s chitter chatter.
Sherman talks a lot and I think he should continue to do it. Part of the reason Revis is so popular is not just because of his play. It’s also because he plays in New York , cause he had a controversial contract hold out and because he has a coach in Rex Ryan who has done the bulk of trash talk for him. Sherman has none of those advantages at the current time. Sports fans are NOTORIOUSLY slow to realize who is playing well vs. who has a reputation for playing well. If you look at the Pro Bowl, there’s plenty of evidence. It sometimes takes years for fan bases to realize that the guy who was once a pro bowl caliber player is now playing respectably but not great. Sherman shouldn’t wait for everyone else to catch up especially since he plays on the west coast and he’s 6’3 so the window for him to be a top corner is shorter as taller DBs tend to lose a step faster than the 5’11 guys like Revis.
If it wasn’t for Sherman’s big mouth, there’s no guarantee he’d be gaining the popularity he’s gaining right now. You don’t see Bleacher Report and ESPN and, by proxy, the average fan hyping Peanut Tillman or Tim Jennings who were stellar corners this year as well. It’s conceivable that with the Ravens having won the superbowl, had Webb not gotten injured he would be getting the bulk of attention right now rather than Sherman.
Guys talk trash about each other all the time…this is a sport where every dude is hocked up on adrenaline and you need to have confidence to survive. If it bothers people that Sherman is loud and abrasive, that’s fine. But I don’t think he should stop drawing attention to himself because people don’t find him “likable.” Likeability comes with time, access and success. Right now it’s most important for Sherman to stand out from the crowd.
I can point to numerous athletes who tried hard to be liked and were unsuccessful like Lebron James who people seriously hated for no reason. Or athletes who were completely abrasive but protected for various reasons like Michael Jordan. Or guys like Kobe Bryant who don’t give a damn if you like them or not and have succeeded just fine without mass personality approval. Getting endorsements is what’s important not having the fans want to cuddle with you at night time. I think Sherman is headed toward being a spokesman for brands and it’s in large part due to making a spectacle of himself. Revis has a shoe, I’m sure Sherman would like one too.
If Sherman puts together another top season media types will be clamoring to write profiles singing his praises and the public will come around just like many did when they saw his Bleacher Report video (below). After this latest digital skirmish it’s probably time for Sherman to shift the way he talks trash now that he’s gotten a general positive result from it. You don’t want people to “tire” of you. Being disliked is fine, but when people groan when they see your name that’s heading in the wrong direction.
If you’re interested in analysis of Sherman and Revis’ games check out this article by Pro Fooball Focus. They got you covered.