We’ve already established that the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks really don’t like each other, with Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree still not done bickering and snapping at each other, even though the game is over, with one team going to the Super Bowl and the other going into a long, slightly painful offseason.
So where to begin? At the beginning of course, the alleged beginning. According to Richard Sherman’s brother, Branton, the feud between Michael Crabtree and Richard Sherman didn’t begin on the playing field. The two attended a charity event organized by Larry Fitzgerald last summer. Sherman went to shake Crabtree’s hand, and the 49ers receiver instead decided to try and start a fight with Sherman. How much of this is true? We’ll never know, but Sherman was more fired up than usual, probably having his reasons.
So a few months pass, and Sherman faces Michael Crabtree in the NFC Championship game. Crabtree catches four passes (out of 8 targets), most of them without Sherman covering him. The biggest moment came with 22 seconds left in the game, as another risky pass from Colin Kaepernick (he has a lot of them) went towards Crabtree. Sherman read the play, managed to tip the ball in the air (something he alerted teammates he was going to do) which allowed Malcolm Smith to intercept the pass.
What grabbed everyone’s attention was what happened after the game was over. It began with Sherman going over to Crabtree, patting him on the back and saying something to him. Crabtree didn’t shake Sherman’s hand – instead he shoved him in the face.
What did Sherman say to him? According to Sherman? Good game and good try, but I’m the best corner in the game. Sherman did reach out to shake his hand, but gloating or adding insult to injury didn’t really motivate Crabtree to shake hands with his rival.
Then Sherman was all prepped up for the postgame interview with Erin Andrews, now probably going to be on every top 10 postgame rant list from now until forever.
So, was that it? Obviously not. Sherman wasn’t about to led his chance to gloat over Crabtree end: I was making sure everyone knew Crabtree was a mediocre receiver. And when you try the best corner in the game with a mediocre receiver, that’s what happens. I appreciate that he knows that now.
Michael Crabtree tried not to make too much of this: He’s a TV guy, I’m not a TV guy. He didn’t make any other plays in the game. … But he made a good play there. He can keep talking. You make one play and you talk? Good play.
So, is it over yet? Not quite. In this day and age, Twitter is where the trash talk continues.
— Michael Crabtree (@KingCrab15) January 20, 2014
A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of a sheep.
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) January 20, 2014
So Richard Sherman is going to the Super Bowl, Michael Crabtree isn’t. But Sherman probably understood he might be taking too much attention from his teammates. Pete Carroll himself might have felt it’s time to intervene, and so he did.
We aren’t perfect, and we all make mistakes. Things don’t always come out exactly as we planned. I look at it like this: What would I tell my son? I’m a dad. I speak from that perspective. Maybe the players don’t always want to hear it that way, but it’s the best way I can communicate. That has already taken place, and we’ve already talked about it.
Sherman himself? He has decided to apologize, although I’m not sure there’s really something to apologize for. He might have surprised a few people with his aggression while being interviewed by Erin Andrews, but didn’t really say anything that crosses the boundaries of some trash talking and post-game banter.
I apologize for attacking an individual and taking the attention away from the fantastic game by my teammates … That was not my intent. Obviously I could have worded things better and could obviously have had a better reaction and done things differently. But it is what it is now, and people’s reactions are what they are.