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Shermanating the Sherman Haters

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
Last night, my brother and I were having a conversation about how we both felt about Richard Sherman’s post-game interview. He didn’t mind it and neither did I and we shared our insights with each other. I had a couple of takeaways that I wanted to add some perspective on, so turn that thing down while I issue my statement:
 
Now, if you know me, you know I’m a gentlemen that likes to place wagers (stand by for Benny’s Picks next college football season). But with that being said, I’d be willing to bet my portfolio that the people saying the most extreme things on social media had no prior knowledge of Sherman’s background to seeing that interview. Some didn’t even know who he was. Let’s just hope Duck Dynasty’s Phil Roberts wasn’t watching, A&E can’t afford to take another public relations napalm strike.
 
So for the racists and uneducated, pay attention and at least try to sound knowledgeable as you take shots a man that you label as a thug. You tag Richard Sherman as what you believe to be a thug based on common stereotypes and misperceptions and lack of education. You see a man that is accomplishing things that you’ll never be able to and you despise him for it.
 
But I guess that’s just the motion, right? Sherman expresses the confidence he holds in himself as an individual, and people slap him down for it? We preach to the youth to pursue their goals -- chase the American Dream, be successful -- and work harder than anyone else to achieve them, but once they’ve hit a certain status, envy causes us to lash out and attempt to discredit their achievements.
 
It’s ironic really; those of you that are trying to defend your conviction and brand Sherman as a “hoodrat” are nowhere near his level of intelligence -- and U.O.E.N.O.
 
Let’s start with the fact that at his high school, Dominguez High School in Compton, California, in addition to being an all-star athlete in two sports (football and track), Sherman earned a 4.2 GPA and graduated second in his class, per Ty Schalter, an NFL national lead writer for Bleacherreport.com.
 
Or how about the fact as Tweeted by Scott Enyeart, a former USC/Pac-12 football reporter and host of the Seahawks 12th man podcast for Sports Radio KJR 950am in Seattle, Sherman scored a 1400/1600 on his SAT and held a 3.9 GPA while starring as a D-1 athlete in college?
 
But never mind the fact that it was Stanford, or the fact that as Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead reported, Sherman has started and is actively pursuing his Master’s degree in communications, or that he’s a regular contributor for Peter King’s Sports Illustrated website, the Monday Morning Quarterback
 
No no no people. Let’s speak from timeless prejudices and judge a book by its cover. Let’s allow our deepest insecurities to surface and speak based on fear and ignorance. Let’s see who can look the most clueless or get ignored the most on Twitter by Sherman, and paid attention to the most by Deadspin.
 
Beyond the external feature barrier, let’s examine your argument at the individual level that people shouldn’t run their mouth and be disrespectful.
 
You can’t say you’re the best.
 
Why the hell not?
 
Would we condemn Steve Jobs if he had said he was the best innovator of technology? What if Warren Buffett was to say, “I’m a financial guru,” would we be upset? Or although it would be unlike his personality, if Peyton Manning said, “yeah, I am the best quarterback in the league,” would people argue?
 
I’ll never understand why some people raise an issue when a top performer in their field or industry tells others to take notes. Sherman’s stats make his bite equally as lethal as his bark. He’s got the numbers to justify his self-established role as the “best cornerback in the league.” And as Michael Smith and Jemele Hill would say, numbers never lie.
 
Sherman was targeted only 58 times during this past regular season. With his league leading eight interceptions, Sherman’s 13.8 percent interception rate was 4.4 percent better than the second best (Logan Ryan, 9.40 percent), according to Michael Salfino, a sports reporter for the Wall Street Journal. His eight interceptions also tied his 2012 campaign, a season in which he was target 28 additional times.
 
Come on people, enough is enough. When a guy walks into the league and earns first team all-pro twice in his first three seasons, ties for second most interceptions in his second year and is leading the league by his junior season, isn’t he justified to speak similarly to Jerry Maguire’s animated client, Rod Tidwell?
 
But people want him to adhere to how they think he should act. Richard Sherman’s response didn’t fit the criteria of people that hold others to unrealistic or racially coded standards. Conservative patriarch guy thinks he’s a disgrace to the game and pom-pom waving Michael Crabtree fans wish harm upon him.
 
To the anti-Sherman demographic, what you’re telling me is that if you’re in Sherman’s cleats and you make the biggest play of the game, in the biggest game the season has yielded, in an emotional rivalry with a history of animosity between you and your opponent, and you get a microphone shoved in your face 30 seconds after the passionate win while sound record setting cheers from your 12th man swirl around you, that you’re going to be calm and collected?
 
That’s what happens when you feed a hot mic to a young, testosterone driven male immediately following an intense, defining moment that landed his team in the Super Bowl. What can you possibly expect?
 
That’s the dialogue he’s supposed to be having with a teammate that runs up to congratulate him, or a coach that attempts to celebrate with his players. When he can’t even catch his breath and he’s already having reporters burst his bubble, what do you want from the guy? He’s going to be amped up. If you stick your hand in the flame, you’re going to get burned.
 
The other thing you have to realize is that talking is what fuels Sherman’s fire.
 
David Shaw, head coach at Stanford University, acknowledges the fact that Sherman likes to chirp and that’s just how he’s wired. He’s a semi-frequent guest on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, and Monday, January 20, Colin used a soundbite of a previous interview with Shaw while discussing the type of player Sherman is.
 
“He is the most competitive human being you’ll find,” Shaw said. “He is ultra competitive, he pushes himself extremely hard, he expects the world from himself — and part of that is his talking. Talking keeps him at the top of his game.”
 
I enjoy directing attention to narratives that aren’t being told or are sometimes swept under the rug. I believe in transcending and progressing through outdated stereotypes and pumping the breaks when a bunch of Twidiots spout their hate Tweets. As for Richard Sherman, he believes in judging a man by all of his actions, not just some.
 
“To those who could call me a thug or worse because I show passion on a football field — don’t judge a person’s character by what they do between the lines,” Sherman wrote in Monday’s column on MMQB.si.com. “Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family.”
 
Ben Tompkins is an intern and contributing writer for WLXG ESPN Sports Radio 1300. Follow him on Twitter @bennytomp18, Instagram @bennythekid01, and like his page on Facebook, Benny & The Jets.
 
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Ex-Cats Tamme, Trevathan, Woodyard to play in Super Bowl XLVII

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos
When the Broncos and Seahawks meet up on February 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, three former players from the University of Kentucky will be playing for a ring.
 
Denver’s 26-16 win on Sunday over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots secured a Super Bowl berth for ex-Cats Wesley Woodyard, Danny Trevathan and Jacob Tamme.
 
A defense led in tackles all season by Trevathan, and leadership by Woodyard, the Broncos were faced with a tough task on Sunday after eliminating the San Diego Chargers 24-17 the week before.
 
Bill Belichick and the Brady Bunch were rolling into Mile High Stadium seeking to send their quarterback to be the first in league history to play in six Super Bowls, but the former Kentucky players led a defensive frontier that bent and didn’t break until the Patriots finally scored their first touchdown with 9:26 left to play in the fourth quarter.
 
Trying to battle back from 23-10 Denver lead at that point, the Patriots would only score once more before the final seconds ran off the clock. Sticking to the script that was written all year, Trevathan continued to lead the way for the Broncos defenders as the former Kentucky standout recorded eight solo tackles in the win over the Patriots.
 
Through Denver’s two playoff wins, Trevathan has combined for 11 assisted tackles and 12 solo, continuing to add to his regular season and league’s 11th best total of 129. Although this was his first year starting week in and week out, and only second in the league, Trevathan’s team leading tackles and interceptions, three, make a strong argument that he could return as one of next year’s premiere linebackers.
 
Seen rallying his teammates while Peyton was busy leading his electric offense down the field, Wesley Woodyard’s performance in the game solidified his role on Denver’s team as not only a defensive force, but a motivator of men. Woodyard’s two tackles in the AFC Championship raised his 2013-2014 campaign to 86 tackles on the year, adding an interception and two forced fumbles along the way.
 
We’ve heard, read and talked about Trevathan and Woodyard all year long, but Sunday, there was another ex-Cat that reminded viewers of the NFL that UK doesn’t always send players to the national football league, but when they do, they make big plays at big times.
 
Staged at the goal line midway through the second quarter, as Peyton dropped three steps and scanned his progressions, he found a sitting Jacob Tamme that ushered in the first touchdown of the game.
 
Tamme, who throughout the season played a lesser role in Denver’s offense behind Julius Thomas, amassed 154 yards and a touchdown on 20 receptions. Coincidentally, his only touchdown of the year was scored during the Patriots and Broncos week 12 meeting when the Broncos fell in Foxboro, 34-31.
 
As February 2 draws closer and the anticipation builds up, Trevathan says it’s just another day on the job.
 
"We aren't going to do anything different,” said Trevathan to Patriots.com. We're just preparing and staying within our realm. Just getting excited and getting motivated to go out here and try to put together a good 60 minutes.
 
"I'm just ready to go. It's another game, it's another opportunity for me to play the game that I love and be out here with my dogs."

Ben Tompkins is an intern and contributing writer for WLXG ESPN Sports Radio 1300. Follow him on Twitter @bennytomp18, on Instagram @bennythekid01, and like his page on Facebook, Benny & The Jets.
 
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Tamme, Woodyard, Trevathan Shine in Week 12 of NFL

Across the league and shining once again in the national Sunday night spotlight, former University of Kentucky football players were widely productive, but many fell short of victory in week 12 of the NFL.
 
While the headlines before the game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots were all about Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, the headlines during the game couldn’t stop giving praise to Wesley Woodyard, Danny Trevathan and Jacob Tamme, who catapulted the Broncos to an early lead. Ultimately, Brady ousted the Broncos in overtime for the win, 34-31.
 
On New England’s opening drive, defensive captain Wesley Woodyard punched the ball from Stevan Ridley’s arms sending it bouncing into the hands of fellow linebacker Von Miller, who would take the fumble all the way in the for the quick Denver score. Woodyard recorded 15 tackles in the loss and also assisted on pass coverage with two deflections.
 
Linebacker Danny Trevathan continued to bolster his storied year as a first year starter, combining for 13 tackles, forcing a fumble and recovering a fumble in Sunday’s loss. In only his second year in the league, Trevathan is leading the Broncos defense with 94 tackles, a sack and a half, three interceptions, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
 
The third and sometimes forgotten UK product in Denver, tight end Jacob Tamme had a season-high night as the former Wildcat hauled in five receptions on five targets for 47 yards and a touchdown, his first of the year. Tamme has been buried on the depth chart all season, but when Julius Thomas was ruled out before game time, Tamme stepped up and into a familiar role that Peyton Manning knew how to utilize effectively.
 
Of his five receptions, three were made on crucial third downs that extended the drive and allowed the Broncos to continue marching downfield. Cameron Loope, an avid UK football fan and senior studying exercise physiology, was excited to see Tamme have a breakout performance.
 
“I loved Jacob Tamme when he was at UK,” Loope said. “When Dallas Clark went down in Indy, Tamme stepped up and him and Peyton Manning had some nice chemistry. Tamme hasn’t played much this year in Denver, but I thought it was awesome to watch him fill that role once again when Thomas couldn’t go. Manning likes connecting with Tamme and as he proved last night, if the ball is coming his way, he’s coming down with it.”
 
The Buffalo Bills and wide receiver Steve Johnson rested on their bye week. Johnson, who sat out of the Bills’ last game with the Jets due to a nagging groin injury, said that he’d “definitely” be ready to play after having the extra week of rest and recovery. Johnson is the sole leader of receptions, yards and touchdowns amongst other Bills receivers with 41 catches for 471 yards and three touchdowns.
 
Around the rest of the league, Corey Peters made two tackles in the Atlanta Falcons loss to the New Orleans Saints, 17-13. In Arizona, Alfonso Smith made a tackle on special teams and also recorded a six-yard reception as the Cardinals drummed the Indianapolis Colts, 40-11.
 
In a unique ending that is ordinarily unseen in professional football, Tim Masthay and the Green Bay Packers’ game with the Minnesota Vikings ended in a tie, 26-26. And wrapping up UK in the NFL play, fellow NFC North members the Detroit Lions and rookie guard Larry Warford dropped a close one the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 24-21. 

Ben Tompkins is an intern and contributing writer for WLXG ESPN Sports Radio 1300. Follow him on Twitter @bennytomp18 and like his page on Facebook, Benny & The Jets.
 
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