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Richard Sherman became the best CB in the NFL by being a film nut and student of the game

By now you likely either love Richard Sherman or despise him. There is very little middle ground when it comes to one’s feelings about a trash-talking loudmouth like him — one who gets in the face of his opponents after games or after making big plays.

Though I honestly do not feel too strongly about Sherman one way or another, I lean more towards the end of liking him for a few reasons.

One, I completely respect Sherman’s game and think he’s the best cornerback in the league. The guy is either shutting down receivers or making great plays when the ball is actually thrown at him. When a player consistently impresses you on the field by making great plays, it’s hard not to respect his game.

Two, the guy is an underdog who was overlooked in college, overlooked in the draft and worked extremely hard in the NFL to become this good. Who doesn’t appreciate underdog stories?

Three, despite his WWE-style antics, he’s actually a bright dude. I like athletes who are smart and run intellectual circles around talking idiots like Skip Bayless, as Sherman did in this interview.

But one thing I cannot get past is how classless he is. I prefer athletes who let their game do their talking than those who have to show up their opponents to make statements. Sherman is just obnoxious with the way he deals with opponents — see what happened with him and Tom Brady, Trent Williams and of course Michael Crabtree. All that garbage is a major turnoff for me.

There is something else about Richard Sherman that needs to be shared. It’s something you’ll never know about him if all you know about him is the guy who went on the crazed rant after winning the NFC Championship Game.

Sherman is a football nerd and student of the game.

Richard Sherman Ed Werder

It’s hard to believe it, but you need to view Sherman as someone as dedicated to the game as Peyton Manning, who once did this.

“Some dudes play with pure athleticism. I’m not one of those guys.”

That quote is just a great quote and it explains a lot about Sherman. It explains his dedication, preparation and understanding of what makes players great. And if you watch that amazing video of him at the top, you can really see how smart of a player he is on the field. He calls out formations, he figures out what the offense is trying to do, and he even baits quarterbacks into throwing his way so he can make plays. Oh yeah, and if you watch the video, you’ll see how the interception he created in the NFC Championship Game was no fluke, but rather the product of years of practice.

There’s a lot to like about a guy as sharp as Sherman is, someone who understands the game as well as he does. Of course, there’s a lot to dislike about how classless he is. But if there’s one thing you really need to know about Richard Sherman, it’s that he became great through hard work, dedication, intellect, and by being a student of the game. That will always be with him, and that is something nobody can debate.

Thanks to Deadspin for sharing the video


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