The bookies in Vegas reported a rare split picking the early favorite for the Super Bowl. At least there's no question about who's going to steal the show.
That would be Seattle's supremely confident Richard Sherman, who's already staked a claim to being the NFL's most quotable cornerback since Deion Sanders. Fresh off making the game-saving play in the last minute of Sunday's NFC championship, Sherman gave America a taste of how juicy things could get over the next two weeks if his coach, Pete Carroll, doesn't clamp the equivalent of a "Denver boot" on the mouth of his All-Pro first.
After using every inch of his 6-foot-6 wingspan to deflect a touchdown pass intended for San Francisco's Michael Crabtree into the arms of Seahawks teammate Malcolm Smith instead for an interception, Sherman was corralled by FOX sideline reporter Erin Andrews. She probably regrets the move still.
Andrews asked what went on between Crabtree and Sherman after the play, which effectively preserved Seattle's 23-17 win but also resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Sherman. After exchanging words, replays showed Sherman with his dreadlocks flowing, arms crossed and both hands up around his neck, making what looked like a choking gesture.
Any remaining doubt melted away once Sherman began shouting his reply, displaying just enough bad attitude and volume to do the city's "12th Man" reputation proud.
"I'm the best corner in the game! 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 appeared stunned at first, but recovered in time to get the follow-up question right.
"Who was talking about you?" she asked.
"Crabtree!" Sherman howled. "Don't you open your mouth about the best, or I'm gonna settle it for you real quick!"
At this point, Andrews turned to the announcers' booth for help. "And Joe," she said quickly, "back over to you."
Conventional wisdom tells you Sherman could get into a lot of trouble talking like that, especially since Peyton Manning and Denver's big, tough receiving corps just booked the last spot on his final dance card of the season. But whatever Sherman lacks in terms of talent — and considering how rarely quarterbacks throw in his direction — he more than makes up for with chutzpah.
Sherman not only talked smack to Tom Brady in the middle of a game some 15 months ago; after the Seahawks came back to beat New England, he tweeted out a picture and then trade-marked what he famously said to Brady after the game — "You mad, bro?" — and sells T-shirts with the slogan emblazoned across the chest on his website still.