Dec 30, 2012, Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) celebrates on the field following a 20-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman Is Master Of His Own Brand

Richard Sherman is a smart man.

He’s always been smart. He graduated high school with a 4.2 GPA. (above a 4.0 because California allow’s honors and AP classes to be graded on a 5.0 scale, meaning that Sherman took a bunch on honors classes and did well in them.)

Despite the rigors and time restraints that are put on college football players, Sherman graduated from Stanford in 4 years. His GPA isn’t public knowledge at this point, but the team GPA that year was 3.63. Some quick (though advanced) math suggests that 95% of the team had a GPA over 3.13. I think it’s safe to say his was pretty high, since he got in their graduate program and completed a year’s worth of work on his Master’s Degree in his final year of college eligibility before joining the Seahawks.

Why bring all this up? Because people don’t seem to know that Richard Sherman is damn smart. And not just football smart. I’m talking smart smart.

So when he goes on ESPN and absolutely abuses one of their ignorant talking heads, we can trust that there’s a purpose behind it. Sherman is smart enough to know what was going to happen.

On the field, Sherm loves to talk trash. It’s part of his game. I doubt he’ll ever stop. For some people, it is simply part of how they operate.

Seattle fans are all too familiar with this. Sonics great Gary Payton was the same way. Lets face it, there’s simply no way Payton was ever going to stop jawing. The same goes with Sherman. We might as well just accept it.

Off the field is where most people take exception to his actions. Responding to the nonsense that Revis tweeted, going to the super bowl with a camera and asking fans if he’s better than Revis, yesterday’s encounter with the worst “journalist” in sports, and everything else he does. All these thing seem to rub people the wrong way.

And every one of them is calculated. They are all done on purpose, and all with a goal in mind.

Remember, Richard Sherman is a very smart man.

Richard is growing his brand. Or, if you’d prefer, he’s making himself a household name, and he’s doing it with almost unprecedented speed.

I know what you’re thinking: “This isn’t what he should want to be known for?” and you’d be right, at least to some degree. But I’d argue, and I’m sure his agent would agree with me, that its better to be known for this than not be known at all. Remember, football is a business, and visibility is extremely important.

You also have to remember that Sherman plays in Seattle, and the national media loves to ignore us up here in “South Alaska.” If Sherman hadn’t taken up the fight on him vs. Revis for best CB in the NFL, the media certainly wouldn’t have done it for him. You know as well as I do that ESPN and the rest of the national media would be more than happy to continue making money by claiming that the dude from the nations largest market was the best.

Sherman wasn’t content to let that happen. He pushed the issue, and he won. It doesn’t matter than most of the nation still thinks Revis is slightly better. Sherman’s name is in the conversation now, and it wasn’t before. That’s a major victory for the Stanford grad. And it’s not like he’s just talking about it. Sherman has a legitimate claim to the throne of being the NFL’s best CB. His on-field performance backs up the talk.

But that is only part of the plan. The next step in the process is to increase his exposure; make a few headlines so non-football fans start to recognize him and his name. There’s plenty of ways to do that. Going on a national sports network and absolutely undressing the industry’s most hated pundit just happens to be one of them. It’s not the one I’d choose, but it definitely worked.

Sherman also has a history as someone who is willing to stand up to bullies. That’s also part of his makeup, and likely why he chose this particular avenue for making headlines. This particular bully has deserved this for quite some time.

Look, we may not agree on his choice of methods, but the results are clear. By the end of the 2013 season, everyone’s non-football watching grandma will have heard of Richard Sherman (if they haven’t already). And that means that he will have done what he set out to do.

Like I said before, this is a business. All this exposure is like printing money. At some point, Nike, or some other company will write him a blank check to represent their products. It’s how this works. He’ll be very well known, as well as thought of as one of the absolute best players in the NFL. Those 2 things will make him perfect for some company’s marketing campaign.

Robert Griffin isn’t making Subway commercials because he likes sandwiches. He’s doing it because they paid him a lot of money to do so; and the paid him a lot of money to do so because everyone in America knows who he is and he’s also pretty damn good.

And let’s not forget: Richard Sherman is a very smart man. He knows all of this as well and I do.

To me, the best part about all of this: this isn’t who Richard Sherman really is. It’s not. Ask the people who know him personally and they’ll gladly tell you.

The on-field dominance (and smack talk) is, but this off field stuff doesn’t define him. What should, is the charity work he does, the time he donates to inspire kids (please click and read that), and all the work he puts in to be one of the best in the NFL.

That’s the Richard Sherman than his friends know. That’s also the Richard Sherman that I hope the fans get to know over the next decade. I’m guessing that once his agressive branding tour is over, that’s the guy that we’ll be introduced to.

Because Richard Sherman is a very smart man. Most people just haven’t figured out how smart just yet, but they will.

 

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