There is no love lost, and no love found, between Seahawks CB Richard Sherman and 49ers WR Michael Crabtree.
Early in the week, Sherman used the phrase to describe the Seattle-San Francisco rivalry. In the aftermath of the 23-17 win in Sunday’s NFC Championship, Sherman used his post-game press conference to further take down San Francisco’s No. 1 wide receiver.
In the final seconds, Sherman tipped a Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Crabtree in the end zone to teammate LB Malcolm Smith, sealing the win, and sending the CenturyLink crowd into full party mode. The Seahawks knew they were going to Super Bowl XLVIII. Sherman, the brash All-Pro cornerback from Compton, CA., wasn’t holding back.
“I was making sure that everybody knew that Crabtree was a mediocre receiver. Mediocre,” he said with emphasis. “When you try the best cornerback in the game with a mediocre receiver, that’s what happens.”
After the interception, Sherman went over to Crabtree and offered a mock handshake. When Crabtree refused, Sherman patted him on the butt, then circled him and continued talking. As he walked off the field, Crabtree responded with an open-handed slap to Sherman’s facemask.
During the sequence, television cameras caught Sherman making the universal “choke” sign, grabbing his throat with both hands.
“That was for Kaepernick,” Sherman said.
Sherman was flagged for excessive celebration, but it didn’t matter. QB Russell Wilson needed just three kneel-downs to end the the 49ers season. Shortly after, Sherman went on a tirade in an interview with FOX reporter Erin Andrews.
“I’m the best corner in the game,” Sherman yelled in a moment meant for WrestleMania. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re gonna get. Don’t you ever talk about me.”
Andrews asked Sherman, “Who was ‘you?'”
“Crabtree,” he said. “Don’t you open your mouth about the best. Or I’m going to shut it for you real quick.”
“I ain’t getting into that,” Crabtree said of Sherman’s final play. “He knows what time it is. When we’re on the field, he isn’t doing nothing. That’s one play. He knows.”
Sherman and Crabtree have history. In his post-game press conference, Sherman said they had a face-to-face confrontation in Arizona during the off-season. However, he refused to go into more detail.
Kaepernick targeted Sherman twice. In the first half, officials flagged Sherman for a holding penalty that extended San Francisco’s drive. However, Kaepernick’s final throw of the season went differently. Crabtree, meanwhile, finished with four catches for 52 yards.
“There’s been a lot of talk from him, running his mouth during the offseason and in personal conversations,” Sherman said of Crabtree. “I appreciate that we’ve dealt with that now.”
Sherman thanked the “a-hole” fans that criticized him on social media sites Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. He also said that he was going “to be tough on Crabtree for the rest of his career.”
“I’m speechless,” Sherman said, laughing. “But this is me speechless.”
His tip to Smith was a play that the Seahawks began practicing in the off-season, Sherman said, after he missed an opportunity to bat a Matt Ryan pass to S Earl Thomas against Atlanta in the 2012 playoffs. Sunday Sherman pulled it off with a last-second twist and left-arm wave. Smith was positioned perfectly to complete one of the monumental plays in franchise history.
It was the first time Sherman executed the volley since a Week 15 win against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, site of Super Bowl XLVIII, Feb. 2.
Will Sherman continue to speak his mind when he gets to New York?
“I mean, pretty much,” he said. “Why not?”