Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) gets shoved in the face by San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) while trying to shake hands after an interception by Seahawks outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (not pictured) during the second half of the 2013 NFC Championship football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman apologizes for rant, but did he have to?

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Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) celebrates during the second half of the 2013 NFC Championship football game at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman’s game-saving tip of a Colin Kaepernick pass in the end zone during the final seconds of Sunday’s NFC title game was an all-around big play.

Call it the Immaculate Deflection.

The tip was intercepted by Malcolm Smith and signed, sealed and delivered the Seahawks victory and a spot in Super Bowl XLVIII.

After the play, Sherman ran up to 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree — whom Kaepernick’s pass was intended — and patted him on the rear. Sherman said he was congratulating him for a good game. Crabtree obviously didn’t like it and proceeded to push Sherman’s face away in disgust.

On the field following the game, Sherman was interviewed by reporter Erin Andrews and went off:

“Well, I’m the best corner in the game,” Sherman said. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get! Don’t you ever talk about me.”

Andrews, obviously blown away by the response, responded, “Who was talking about you?”

“Crabtree,” Sherman said. “Don’t you ever open your mouth about the best or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick.”

Andrews ended the interview there, probably because the network had no clue what else was going to come out of Sherman’s mouth.

Crabtree responded to Sherman’s comments on Twitter after the game:

Sherman responded by tweeting:

Many took to social media to complain about how classless Sherman’s interview was. Some called it trashy, some called it selfish, others said it was flat out immature.

But was it?

Sherman was clearly pumped on adrenaline having just made perhaps the most clutch play of his career. Already outgoing and not afraid to speak his mind, FOX put a microphone in his face while he was still amped. What did they expect?

Sherman apologized on Monday in a text to ESPN’s Ed Werder:

I think those who felt he acted classless just don’t know Richard Sherman.

The guy is a walking chatterbox and is the player that opposing fans love to hate. But the reality is, Sherman doesn’t care.

He talks a lot, sure, but he backs it up with his play on the field. I find it kind of amusing that everyone is talking about how “unsportsmanlike” Sherman’s interview was, but no one think it was a big deal that Jeremy Lane got thrown down on the 49ers sideline in the middle of a play on Sunday. If you want classless, watch that play over and over again.

And no one is talking about the fact that Sherman tried to be a good sport by saying “good game” to Crabtree after the Niners last play of the season, but Crabtree hit him in the face like so:

Everyone just needs to calm down. The 49ers and Seahawks don’t like each other and they never have. Sherman was pumped that his team was able to beat the mighty 49ers, NFC Champions the year prior.

If the 49ers had won, Crabtree probably would have run his mouth too.

Players get excited and emotional. Players like Sherman thrive on having the spotlight on them. Remember when he said “I’m better at life than you” to Skip Bayless? Nobody thought he was a “thug” then, they just thought it was cool that he could speak his mind on ESPN.

So that’s that. Sherman, a Stanford graduate, was an excited player that was caught up in the moment but had the eyes of the nation on him while he went on a little mini-rampage on a guy he has bad history with.

He also tweeted:

He is a small piece of the puzzle that is the Seahawks but he certainly had a key part in helping the Seahawks get to the Super Bowl. Let him get excited. You would like him if he was on your team.

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