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Richard Sherman talks a big game, but not half as big as the one he walks

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The man, the truth, the legend. Sherman hasn't just exceeded expectations, he's destroyed our basic understanding of the word completely.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

There are people in this world that talk a big game but walk very small. The director Uwe Boll, perhaps the worst consistently-working director in film, believes that he makes good movies and that he delivers a product that fulfills it's purpose (to make money and satisfy the demographic) then often blames critics and audiences for any failure to understand why the movies were worthwhile after they call his latest project "infantile, irreverent, and boorish to the max." - Nathan Lee, New York Times.

Others, walk very tall but would prefer to blend in with the wallpaper. To hide in the shadows. Or at least, to let the work speak for itself. Woody Allen has been nominated for 24 Academy Awards, a number so high that even the most foolishly-brash young Hollywood director could never dream of it, yet has only shown up to the ceremony once. And that was to show his support for New York following 9/11. He has never shown up to accept any of his four Oscars because he does not believe that art can be judged.

Now most of us, most of us will happily walk and talk at a medium pace. We will move along and keep the world spinning without being nominated for 24 of Hollywood's highest honor or making film after film and have a career-high Rotten Tomatoes score of 25%, but then there are the special few. The men and women that come along in their respective fields only once in a generation, perhaps. The people who talk loudest of everyone and somehow, beyond reason, back it up.

Richard Sherman is one of those people, and the last person who really stands out as a fair example of being the last "Richard Sherman" was Deion Sanders, and that was nearly 15 years ago. (We should ignore his brief two-year stint with the Baltimore Ravens just as quickly as I had forgotten it.)

The main difference between Sherman and most Goliath's is that he had been masquerading as a David until recently. Guys like Sanders and Bo Jackson entered the league as legends, while Sherman entered with a (cue anime girl under the bed of her dying father) "whiiiii-mper." As a prospect, Sherman was seen as a guy who was big and physical and good in press coverage, but he was also inexperienced and slow and not fluid in his hips. It seemed like he could be a guy who could one day prove to be an above-average starting cornerback, possibly a great nickel, but he fell to the fifth round because few thought he could be a number one, let alone "the best corner in the game."

Still, Evan Silva liked the Seahawks draft and gave them a good grade. Rob Rang liked it too, but especially liked that one defensive back they took on day three. What was his name again? Oh yeah, Mark LeGree. At least one other writer had this to say:

Richard Sherman is probably my favorite pick. He's got through the roof upside - he's physical, big, can jam at the line or trail receivers, and is super raw after only playing CB for two years. He is a bit of a project but could be a steal in the 5th round.

But what does this "Danny Kelly" know? He's only a blogger.

To say that Sherman has exceeded expectations would be like saying that Michael Jackson could carry a tune. Super Bowl champion in year three, All-Pro in year two and three, Pro Bowl in year three, Madden cover after three years, fifth-best selling jersey in the NFL less than three years after most fans didn't even know who he was, and plenty of stats that should make your jaw drop no less than half as far as Sherman's does when he's calling out the next receiver on his hit list.

Now, here is where things tend to get interesting. When I was growing up and getting more into football, I was always told that it was foolish to judge a cornerback based on his interception totals. Yes, an interception was a good play for the team and the defense, but they often don't track the talent level of the individual, necessarily. If a quarterback made a bad throw, a receiver made a bad route, a ball took a bad bounce, or if you were just in the right place in the right time, literally anyone on the field could wind up getting a pick. The best example I can think of is former first round pick Deltha O'Neal, a corner who had nine seasons in the NFL with the Broncos, Bengals, and Patriots.

In only his second season with Denver, O'Neal had an incredible nine interceptions and was named to the Pro Bowl. A future elite corner? O'Neal was traded to Cincinnati two seasons later for the cost of swapping first round picks, basically. Wouldn't you know it, a year later, O'Neal intercepted 10 passes and made the Pro Bowl again.

He intercepted one pass over each of the next two seasons and was out of the league at age 31. He played nine seasons and by all accounts, was good for two of them. He was just really damn valuable for those two years because of the interceptions, but without those game-changing plays, he made too many mistakes to be a valuable corner. I tell you this cautionary tale of Deltha O'Neal for two reasons:

- It's true that interception totals are deceiving and you should not judge a corner's ability based on that alone.

- It does not mean that interceptions aren't really, really valuable and a skill that a player can have. Sherman is the best cornerback in the game (he is) because beyond logical reasoning, he displays both qualities of a quality cornerback: The absence of production and the presence of production.

He's an enigma thus far, but he's absolutely spectacular to watch and listen to when he's on your side. Unfortunately for the rest of the league, he's not.

What you're looking for in a "shutdown" cover corner that eliminates half the field is just that: By having Sherman on one side of the field, he removes a receiver from the game thereby taking away a quarterbacks favorite option (often) for nearly 60 minutes of clock. He's too good to throw at, and that's why Sherman was the least-targeted starting cornerback in the NFL last season. However, sometimes a QB has no choice but to take that chance.

The most frustrating part for them is that Sherman still turned eight of those attempts into interceptions for himself. His tip drill routine has turned a few more into interceptions for someone else. (See again how that works with INT totals? We don't have INT assists counted, that I know of.) The NFC championship was a perfect example of this, when Colin Kaepernick targeted Sherman only one time over a 60-minute period, and got got.

In 2013, Sherman was basically prime Barry Bonds. Pitchers hardly ever gave Bonds a pitch to hit, which is why his on-base percentage was over .500, but the few times that they did, he made them pay. (Though comparing Sherman to prime Bonds is a softball insult moment for 49ers fans because of Seacheadderallchickens, they know in their hearts that it's only continued backlash for that sweet, sweet victory.)

- Despite not starting until midway through his rookie season, Sherman's 20 career interceptions is five more than any other player in the NFL since 2011.

- Over the last two seasons, Sherman's 16 interceptions are at least twice as many as any other player in the league except for Tim Jennings, Patrick Peterson, and Jairus Byrd. (Still three more than second-place Jennings.)

- His 59 passes defended since 2011 (per ProFootballReference) is nine more than any other player in the NFL.

- He is one of 50 players in NFL history to have at least two seasons with eight interceptions. Sherman has only played three seasons, he's only 26, and the record is only four.

- In the post-merger era (1970-present) Sherman is one of only three players to record at least 20 interceptions in his first three seasons, behind Everson Walls (22 picks) and Ed Reed (21.)

- Including postseason, Sherman was given the highest grade for any CB by ProFootballFocus in 2012. QBs had a passer rating of 44.9 when they threw at him. In 2011, that number was 57.3. In 2013, it was 31.4.

In addition to that, PFF noted that Sherman had 21.6 cover snaps -- plays where he was primary man in coverage -- for every reception he allowed. That was 5.1 more cover snaps than any other corner in the NFL. That's a .500 on-base percentage, basically.

But no matter what the numbers say, they'll never talk as loud as Sherman himself. I once set out to recall every moment that Sherman had made news for his words instead of his play, and this includes many local moments that happened long before he had to remind Erin Andrews that he had beef with Michael Crabtree. This was Sherman calling A.J. Green overrated when more Seahawks fans knew who Green was than knew who Sherman was.

Sherman didn't get louder when he went off after gently touching the tip in the NFC title game, only the microphone did. His mouth didn't get bigger when he declared that he was the best corner in the game, only the stage did.

People typically hate (or dislike if you're one of those "I don't hate anything" types of people) anyone that talks a big game that they can't back up, but they regretfully and sometimes painfully must respect someone that does manage to support their boastful claims. Sherman has backed it up bigger and louder than an azz at a Juvenile concert and for now, even the haters gonna admire.

There's that old adage that "there are two types of people in the world: Those that (something) and those that (the opposite of that something)." but I prefer to think that not one person is without their own identity. Their own unique set of traits and characteristics that make their soul and their humanity as rare as their fingerprints and DNA. Instead, I'd say that there are over 7 billion types of people in the world.

Richard Sherman just happens to be the best cornerback among them, and yeah, one of the most cocksure.