Denver Broncos head coach John Fox and tight end Julius Thomas both had praise for Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman a few days after the 26 second sound bite heard 'round the world. "I know he's a terrific player, a great cover guy," said Fox, "I know the Seahawks are statistically very good on defense, and in particular pass defense. I'm sure their secondary has a lot to do with that."
Thomas went a little further and said he had no issue with Sherman's antics that have warranted much criticism since Sunday night. "He's done a great job ever since he's been in the league," Thomas said. "He likes to have a little fun out there. I don't necessarily think there is anything wrong with that."
Sherman led the league with eight interceptions this season and is the leader of a Seattle secondary that has dominated most of their opponents all year long. Making the play that won the game in the NFC Championship was nothing unexpected to Seattle fans, coaches, and definitely not to Sherman.
I'll make it known that I'm a die-hard Broncos fan... have been since the days of the Three Amigos! So, it would be easy for me to join the Sherman-hating bandwagon. As a matter of fact, initially I did.
My initial opinion of Sherman after the interview Sunday night was that he is a knucklehead who is a great player. Not a thug, but a knucklehead. Thugs don't go to Stanford! After three days of hearing others weigh in, I've taken a little different stance... I think he's great player who had a knucklehead moment. It happens... to all of us. He's still a good person who's smarter than most of the idiots ripping him. Let's move on and talk about the matchup instead of a 26 second show of emotion.
Seattle's secondary allowed three 100+ yard receiving games in the first five weeks of the season (Cecil Shorts-8 for 143; Andre Johnson-9 for 110; TY Hilton-5 for 140). From that moment on, no other receiver or tight end hit the century mark against the Legion of Boom during the regular season, with Anquan Boldin's 93 yard effort in Week 14 being the closest anyone came. Saints WR Marques Colston had a huge game against the Seahawks in the divisional round of the playoffs, putting up a stat line of 11 for 144 and a TD. A large part of that was due to Seattle completely taking stud TE Jimmy Graham out of the game. Graham ended an all-pro season on a flat note with one catch for eight yards.
Denver's passing game gives Seattle a challenge that they haven't faced yet this year, and Seattle's defense does the same to Manning and his seemingly endless arsenal of weapons. Regardless of your thoughts on Sherman, the matchup between the Seahawks secondary and the Broncos passing game is one that all football fans should simply sit back and enjoy.