FROM MY RECLINER, NY – Right after Richard Sherman slid away from a dumbfounded Erin Andrews in the confetti-filled aftermath of yesterday’s NFC Championship game, a battle raged, on Twitter and in my living room.
No, I wasn’t shocked or horrified about what Sherman said, who would be? Oh, right. For the record, the dude is a Stanford graduate and was the salutatorian of his high school class. He also just made the biggest play of his career, to end the biggest game of his career, against a player who presumably talked a lot of trash. Get over it.
He also, also had time to write a column for the MMQB before going to sleep!
Which brings us to the real debate: What makes an epic post-game interview? And more importantly, who’s legendary rant is better, Sherman’s or former New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott?
For those who need a little refresher, here are the two infamous speeches in all their I-would-hate-to-be-that-sideline-reporter glory:
In order to judge these two titans of braggery, I’ve designed an infallible, 60-point formula for judging post-game sideline interviews. What? You thought this was First Take? We prove our points scientifically here at SoGP!
First off, there are six categories: Style, Sound bites, Diva, Reporter composure, Game performance, and Trash talk. There are 10 possible points per category with 60 being a perfect score. In the history of sports, there have been only a handful of perfect scores, all of which belong to Muhammad Ali.
Sherman’s fire actually works against him here. His Satan-with-dreads, devil-stare into the camera is more frightening than anything else, so much so, that FOX actually cut away to Russell Wilson halfway through. I can hear the conversation going on in the production truck now. “Quick cut to something happy! Where’s Russell at?? Find him now!!” Sherman’s entire interview is a rampage, like a bulldozer over an unexpecting rainforest. Although that isn’t all bad, it certainly doesn’t float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
Meanwhile, Scott rolls up to the interview, get this, by flying like a Jet (!!) before landing on one knee, slowly getting up and removing his helmet. Bart isn’t all class, all the time, but he nailed this one.
This is where Scott releases his brilliance. It really is a masterpiece. I count six – SIX – major league level sound bites. Without being prompted by a single question, he begins with “TO ALL THE NON-BELIEVERS!” and “ESPECIALLY YOU TOM JACKSON! WAY TO HAVE OUR BACK KEYSHAWN!” ending with “ANYONE CAN BE BEAT!” What a trifecta. He rounds out the interview with, “POETIC JUSTICE,” “THEY CAN’T STOP A NOSE BLEED,” and, of course, “CAN’T WAIT.” This was without a doubt Scott’s best performance, on or off the field.
Sherman had only one no-doubter, his closing line, “LOB!” which took me a second to understand. “Lots of bananas?” “Loads of bagels?” (can you tell I’m hungry?) “LEGION OF BOOM?” Yeah, that’s better.
After losing the first two rounds, Sherman storms back thanks to a diva-like ballad even Mariah Carey would be proud of. In a span of 20 seconds, he declares himself the “best corner in the game,” calls Michael Crabtree a “sorry receiver,” and respectfully offers to shut his mouth. All before walking off without warning, presumably to suffocate a small animal.
Scott is rather pedestrian here, acknowledging the defense as a unit. C’mon man! Be a little more selfish, this is war!
When a player decides to up and lose his effing mind in a post-game interview, the idiot holding the microphone becomes mayor of ground zero. They can only hope to control the chaos long enough to extract a few money quotes and not be mocked on Twitter.
Holding a conversation with a soul-sucking rage monster isn’t exactly something you prep for in j-school. Which explains why Andrews, as fantastic a broadcaster as she is, recoiled like an audience member at a knee surgery when Sherman went off. Sherman’s crazy-person ranting, visibly (and understandably) flustered Andrews, who mustered only two questions before the interview was halted for unknown reasons (in other words, blame FOX).
Sal Paolantonio, on the other hand, managed to sling off three questions/comments despite chasing Bart with the mic like a kitten trying to keep up with a laser pointer. Sal Pal also deserves one hell of an assist for the “see in you Pittsburgh” line, which prompted an all-time drop-the-mic-and-walk-away moment.
Sherman was targeted twice during the entire NFC Championship game, the first time he got called for defensive pass interference and the second time he turned a tipped pass into an interception to end the game. Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers feared him and that means something here.
Scott’s box score doesn’t stand out with only two tackles (one for a loss). But he was a key component in the defense that sacked Tom Brady five times and recorded seven quarterback hits, later becoming known as Chapter 1 in the How to Beat Brady Handbook. That has to count for something, too.
Sherman is the reigning heavy weight champ of talking junk. Enough said.
Scott landed a few jabs early (WAY TO HAVE OUR BACK KEYSHAWN!) and finished the Patriots off with a knockout punch to the kisser (THEY CAN’T STOP A NOSE BLEED).
So, while Sherman remains the league’s best cover corner, trash talker, and NFL jellyfish, he narrowly loses out to Scott for the title of most epic post-game interview ever. Nevertheless, good job, good effort, and good luck in the Super Bowl.