Super talkers are often shut down in big game
NEW YORK — Super Bowl history suggests to the braggadocio-prone Richard Sherman that it's better to speak softly than it is to carry a big schtick.
The second NFC championship game victory in Seattle Seahawks' history was only seconds old when Sherman began stirring up controversy, dismissing the San Francisco 49ers' Michael Crabtree as an inferior wide receiver who shouldn't have dared challenge someone as skilled and proficient as him.
Sherman's televised rant immediately went viral and was held up as more evidence many athletes today are more interested in self-promotion and gamesmanship than sportsmanship.
Somewhere, Fred “The Hammer” Williamson and Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson probably were wagging a finger and thinking: “Be careful in advance of the Super Bowl where your mouth takes you.”
It's often the biggest talkers, the motormouths, the can't-shut-up-for-their-own good yappers who get most exposed on the biggest day in American pro sports.
Back in the NFL's pre-concussion worry day before the first Super Bowl (though it wasn't called that in 1967), Williamson talked about putting Green Bay receivers Boyd Dowler and Carroll Dale out with a forearm hit to the head he nicknamed the hammer.
“Two hammers to Dowler, one to Dale should be enough,” he said.
Turns out, one hit to Williamson — courtesy of running back Donnie Anderson's knee — knocked him out in the fourth quarter. Before that, Dowler left with a shoulder injury, but slow-as-it-gets replacement Max McGee, age 34, burned Williamson for seven catches, 138 yards and two touchdowns, including the first score in Super Bowl history.
“I don't remember anything,” Williamson said.
It's best he doesn't.
Henderson stirred up the Steelers before the second Dallas-Pittsburgh Super Bowl by predicting a Cowboys shutout. He also ridiculed several Steelers — notably Terry Bradshaw, saying, he “couldn't spell ‘cat' if you spotted him the ‘c' and the ‘a.' ” As it turned out, what Henderson couldn't spell was w-i-n. Bradshaw threw for 318 yards and four touchdowns, including a record 253 yards before halftime, during a 35-31 victory in January 1979. At one point, the Steelers led 35-17.
Henderson himself was shut out, doing almost nothing.
Sherman, for a start, is gearing down his remarks now that the Seahawks are at the Super Bowl site — so much so that some of the dozen TV cameras left his podium before he finished talking Sunday night.
He was praiseworthy of Broncos wideout Demaryius Thomas, calling him one of the five best receivers in the game. Sherman also talked more about his teammates than he did himself — the exact opposite of his it's-all-about me tenor from a week before.
Perhaps wisely, too, since the veteran offensive star he'll be opposing — Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who threw a record 55 touchdown passes this season — isn't at all like the nearly forgotten McGee of 47 years ago.
“I think you're always cognizant of it as a football player, especially in today's world where everybody's looking for a story, everybody's trying to get their name in a paper,” Sherman said of not talking too much. “Everybody's looking to get the quickest headline they can. … I think everyone's cognizant of it, and everyone's aware of what could happen if they gave potential sound bites.”
Sherman's first big test of the week comes Tuesday at Media Day. His teammates probably are hoping he doesn't become the talk of the biggest town of all.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL notebook: Ex-Steeler Sanders picks Manning over Big Ben
- NFL notebook: Browns receiver Josh Gordon hires lawyer to help with hearing