I said on Monday that Richard Sherman would win his appeal based on the fact that "Everything just seems to be going right for the Seahawks this season." I'm paraphrasing but you get the idea and if I misquote myself I think that I will live with it and let the self-loathing subside for a minute. Especially since Sherman has indeed, beyond comprehension, won his appeal. This is one of those years when even when it goes wrong, it goes right.
A season when Russell Wilson can throw a game-winning touchdown that only blind faith and homerism (that I embrace and do not apologize for) can truly ensure was a touchdown.
A season when, in the biggest game of the year, Doug Baldwin can have a bad drop and a phenomenal catch on the same play.
A season when the Seahawks can get schooled by the New England Patriots for three quarters on what it really means to be "elite"... and then win on a 3rd round rookie's perfect 46-yard bomb to a receiver that "can't stay healthy."
I can count as many as nineteen players on this team that play significant time that have three years or less of experience. Your quarterback is a rookie. Your Mike is a rookie. Your elite secondary is made up of guys that were brought in by Pete Carroll and John Schneider since 2010. So how could a team so young be so good?
I use this word with only the best of intentions: Ignorance.
Some people would say that Seattle is inexperienced because of their youth, which is true. The Seahawks are loaded with players that have not played very many NFL games relative to what other teams have. Matt Ryan is much more experienced than Russell Wilson. Charles Woodson has years and years on Richard Sherman. This experience is valuable, but there is also a part of inexperience that is valuable as long as you have great coaching and a lot of talent.
That inexperience, that ignorance, is what helps a team face any odds and say, "We can still win this." It is part of why everything can go right even when it goes wrong. Ignorance is not directly related to stupidity, it simply means a lack of knowledge or familiarity. For the Seahawks, they are not stupid - quite the opposite - but they are ignorant of the fact that you are "supposed" to lose in certain situations or in appeal. That attitude has, thus far, paid off.
I first noticed the good-natured, but incredibly-annoying if he is not on your side, hubristic attitude in Sherman last season. He was cocksure, brash, and loud, and as the season went on it was clear that he was the energy of the defense. Earl Thomas is an elite safety, but he speaks with his play and not with his mouth. Sherman speaks with both. It really fired me up to be a Seahawks fan, even moreso than usual, to see Sherman win on the field but also fire up his teammates and the crowd with his "swagger". We have never had this "swagger" you speak of. Do I look like some sort of popular rapper like Snow or Wreckx-N-Effect? We can't have swagger until we have earned it, until we have beaten the best, until we have imposed some sort of dominance on a consistent basis.
Oh, okay. Now we see what you mean, Mr. Sherman. Now the swagger makes sense. And others around the league have noticed you too; first because you did the talking and second because they finally took notice of the walking you were doing as the only player in the 2011 Seahawks secondary to not make the Pro Bowl. It is difficult for fans of other teams to understand how good a corner is because stats do not tell the full tale. But the amount of "Sherman snubbed" that I saw around the NFL from other cities after the Pro Bowl was announced made it clear: People recognize Richard Sherman as good, as well as being cocky.
How lucky we are that he has avoided missing most, if not all, of the playoffs.
I was thinking to myself last night, as I was wishing for this decision to come down in favor of Sherman, that there probably aren't ten players in the NFL (non-QB division) that I would want more than Sherman. An elite corner is about as difficult to find as an elite QB or an elite LT and he plays a vital position in a passing league. Sherman is an elite corner already after 25 NFL starts. He is young, he has quickly accumulated 11 interceptions and 40 pass deflections in his career, and yet at the same time he is the vocal leader of the Seattle defense, perhaps the best defense in the NFL.
He is smart, a great interview, and an enigmatic black hole for opposing receivers and quarterbacks. It seems as though because he is so loud and so sure of himself, that they dare themselves to beat him. They want to beat him so bad just to shut him up. And yet, time and time again, they can't and that plan backfires horribly. I feel that Sherman should not lead the NFL in pass deflections, not because he isn't capable, but because "Why did you throw 23 passes his way? How often is that working out for you?" In the "Ask TST" fanpost I was curious about how Cortland Finnegan, a known "dirty" player, has worked out.
The sentiment is that Finnegan is in the opposing wide receiver's head way before the game has started.
That's Sherman, except the younger, cheaper, and in my opinion, better version. The way that we have revered such corners as Champ Bailey, Darrelle Revis, and Nnamdi Asomugha, is how people will need to start viewing Sherman. He is that good and my hopes for this special season ending in a win went up exponentially upon hearing that he successfully held out for three games while fighting for an appeal that we thought was impossible to win.
Impossible? For a team so young, for a team so ignorant of what it means to be told that you "can't", there is no such thing as impossible.