I promise this is my last post on the Crabtree-Sherman stuff. Earlier this week, NFL Network and Showtime unveiled that they had mic'd up San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman during Sunday's NFC Championship Game. Given the way the game ended, there was plenty of chatter about what the video would show. I don't get Showtime, and I missed the NFL Network portion, but our friends (well, some of our friends) at Field Gulls had links and YouTube!
The video above provides the basics on the Crabtree-Sherman stuff, while this video provides that plus more context to Sherman's post-game comments. The latter video shows Sherman doing an interview before Erin Andrews got to him. He was equally fired up for that one.
In the video up top, scroll to just after 40 seconds to see the lead up to and the exchange between Crabtree and Sherman. After the tip, we see the following sequence of events:
1. Sherman celebrate with his teammates,
2. Run toward Crabtree, pulling loose his chin strap,
3. Slap Crabtree on the butt
4. Yell "helluva game, helluva game", then stick his hand out to shake it
I think this is open to all sorts of interpretation. A lot of Seahawks fans have claimed this shows Sherman was showing sportsmanship, and Crabtree was being the poor sport. Personally, while it would have been nice to see Crabtree shake Sherman's hand, the game was not even over yet.
Earlier this week, socalisteph put together what I thought was a great discussion about the emotions of victory and defeat. Richard Sherman felt he was just in the moment when he reacted the way he did, and that made it alright. In this case, considering the play had just happened seconds before, this still strikes me as a little bit less than necessary. We're all going to have our own interpretation, and in my interpretation, the whole scene strikes me as less than 100 percent sincere.
Fortunately, these two teams get to meet two times in 2014, and maybe a third if we see more of what we saw this season. This rivalry is as heated as it has ever been. You've got two of the best teams in the NFL, you've got two fan bases that don't exactly get along, and we can add in the gasoline of the issues between Crabtree and Sherman. It will be brought back up ad nauseam the week these two teams first meet in the 2014 season, but it only adds to a fierce rivalry.
On Tuesday, Jim Harbaugh was asked about the game and if the Seahawks make the 49ers better. Prior to the game, Pete Carroll had made reference to the fact that the 49ers were the kind of team that helps make his Seahawks better. Harbaugh responded in kind:
"Yes, I would. They're an outstanding, worthy opponent, and they do. That's one thing about a rivalry that is a wonderful thing in football, at any level, it makes both teams aspire to be better, to be great. And they had a phenomenal year. So far they've done it better than anybody else has."
And while things like the Sherman-Crabtree incident serve to fire up the fan base, in reality we'll be dealing with stuff like this for what we can only hope is the foreseeable future. Ideally fans will tone it down a notch, but the competition will be fierce. It sucks to lose games like this, but I'd much rather have these kinds of games than be playing out the string in December, looking ahead to the draft and beyond. One of these days, this 49ers team is going to break through and win Lombardi No. 6. And it will make all this worth it.
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