Is Richard Sherman a modern-day Boz?

COMMENTARY — The Seahawks' intense cornerback appears to be the latest incarnation of Brian Bosworth, who could turn up the volume on the field while maintaining a calm persona off it.
by Berry Tramel Published: January 25, 2014
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photo - ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 25-26 - In this Jan. 19, 2013, file photo, Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman celebrates with fans after after the  NFC championship NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Seattle. The last time one of Seattle's major franchises had a parade to celebrate a title, no one on the Seahawks roster was born. To call Seattle's championship history thin is an understatement. Maybe that's why there's so much support behind these Super Bowl-bound Seahawks. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 25-26 - In this Jan. 19, 2013, file photo, Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman celebrates with fans after after the NFC championship NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Seattle. The last time one of Seattle's major franchises had a parade to celebrate a title, no one on the Seahawks roster was born. To call Seattle's championship history thin is an understatement. Maybe that's why there's so much support behind these Super Bowl-bound Seahawks. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Richard Sherman needs an alias. Needs a pseudonym like The Shermanator. If Sherman really does have an alter ego, really isn't the arch-villain of the NFL, really is more like the Stanford-educated, insightful-thinker some purport him to be, he needs to differentiate between reality and farce.

You know, like Brian Bosworth and The Boz.

Sherman is not the first outrageous character to play on the defense of the Seattle Seahawks. He's headed to Super Bowl 48 as a polarizing personality. A quarter century ago, the Seahawks had the same kind of thespian in Bosworth.

From the corners of his mind, Bosworth invented The Boz, with multicolored hair and outlandish antics and frenzied performance as an Oklahoma linebacker. Bosworth did so for marketing purposes; he was not so much kooky as sharp cookie. Bosworth parlayed The Boz into a major book deal and an acting career. Thousands of American kids walked around with streaks of color in their hair, which doesn't warrant a second look in the 2010s but was quite startling in 1985.

Clearly, Bosworth didn't need The Boz to transform into a transcendent linebacker. In 1984, when Bosworth was a redshirt freshman and The Boz lived only in Bosworth's imagination, he still was one hellacious football player.

Who knows if it's the same for Sherman? Was the trash-talking, wild-eyed character who took a question from Erin Andrews, looked into U.S. living rooms last Sunday night and launched himself into sports villain lore, the real Richard Sherman? I would vote no. Sherman seems capable of turning it off and turning it on, much like Bosworth did.

Sherman's alter ego doesn't seem motivated by marketing. There's no evidence of that. Perhaps that's how he motivates himself into being the NFL's best cornerback. (Yes, Sherman is the NFL's best corner; just because he said it doesn't mean it's not true.)

I chatted with Bosworth a few days ago. As you know, The Boz has long since been buried. Bosworth has apologized for youthful indiscretions and putting self above team. But the marketing genius of The Boz remains; Bosworth's acting career has many lives. This week, he was filming “Revelation Road III,” one of a series of Christian-based films.

Bosworth was reluctant to talk much about Sherman. I wasn't the first to call him. He's been declining interviews.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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