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Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman – A Study in Contrasts

Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman – A Study in Contrasts

I watched a compelling AFC Championship where my favorite team, the Denver Broncos, stopped a 2-point conversion that kept the game from getting really interesting! I had just spent the prior 2:36 screaming at the TV as the Denver Broncos went into a prevent defense that allowed the Patriots’ Tom Brady to march his offense down the field for a touchdown. “Did the Broncos learn nothing from last year?”, I bellowed! I also quoted football luminary John Madden: “the only thing the prevent defense does is prevent you from winning.”

The Broncos did learn something from last year, so they didn’t just try to run the ball to burn the clock. Manning threw a crucial pass to Jacob Tamme for a first down (he did a similar pass to Julius Thomas to seal the win in the divisional round), and the Broncos ran out the clock and punched their ticket to the Super Bowl.

I always appreciate Manning’s comments in both victory and defeat. They show a maturity, an appreciation of the game, and an understanding of NFL history and greatness. My favorite comment from one of his post-game interviews after beating his nemeses Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in this year’s AFC Championship: “You can name the AFC Championship after the Patriots. They’ve been there so many times.”

Peyton Manning = Class Act!

I then watched a compelling NFC Championship game that offered plenty of contrasts from the AFC title game: young quarterbacks and aggressive, stellar defenses versus the AFC’s legendary quarterbacks with average defenses. I am already concerned that the Super Bowl referees are going to allow the Seahawks secondary to mug the Broncos’ receivers like they were doing with the 49ers receivers. Colin Kaepernick had major ball security issues, but the Seahawks defense is IMPRESSIVE nonetheless. Richard Sherman made a spectacular play, that will forever be part of Seahawks lore, to seal the win. It is a shame that Sherman will be more remembered for his post-game rant against a competitor than his superb play on the field. The most memorable quotes, and disgusting if you love the old-school game like me, was the following:

– [Sherman:] “Well, 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:] Who was talking about you?

– [Sherman:]“Crabtree. Don’t you open your mouth about the best. Or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick. L-O-B.”

Richard Sherman = Gifted and Talented Football Player…and Punk?!?

I did not hear Manning talking about his record shattering year, likelihood of a 5th MVP Award, and accomplishments that put him in the “greatest to ever play the game” discussion. But I did hear Sherman claiming to be the best in the game after what…3 seasons? Yes, I get it that Sherman felt slighted by Crabtree at a charity event, but this is socially-connected media that resonates forever!

Think about it from a personal branding perspective: Peyton Manning is probably the greatest pitch man in sports today (along with Michael Jordan). He can pick and choose his endorsement deals, and he is one of the most widely respected athletes ever. Richard Sherman just effectively alienated several brands and millions of fans with his brash, belittling, “I’m the best, and you are mediocre” comments. You can say Sherman is still young, but Manning always showed an appreciation of the game and his competition…even as a rookie and college quarterback.

Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman – A DEFINITE Study in Contrasts!

Since I’ve lived in both Seattle and Denver, and Mantis has offices in both locations, I will thoroughly enjoy the Super Bowl. Both teams are great organizations, and I do think Sherman will mature in time. He is loved in Seattle, but he better tone it down if he wants to truly build a legacy based upon his stellar play on the field versus his comments off the field.

What are your thoughts? Am I out of line with this study in contrasts?

Photo Credit: Mark Runyon | Pro Football Schedules

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and grandsons! My career has blessed me to the point I was able to start a new consultancy in 2018: Analytic Integrity. I look to provide analytic experience, and business integrity, to an Analytics world while helping data-driven organizations mature. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin.

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  1. Sherman didn’t handle the interview the way I hoped I would have- let’s get that out there. With that said, comparing a 23 year old, 2nd year player with the obstacles he has had in his life to get to this stage to al late 30′s, #1 draft pick with a legendary football family legacy is not justified. I think the reason most of us in Seattle embrace Sherman is that we see have been able to learn about his background, history, and how unbelievably active and sincere he is in the Seattle community. School children and reading programs, food kitchens for the homeless, physically challenged fans and the Make-A-Wish foundation and …

    Richard Sherman will grow wiser over the years, just as Peyton and the rest of us do. It takes some time for all of us, even though we are not in the press and on a national stage like he is. Sherman’s teammates love him, and know where his heart is. Even Peyton has his detractors, even teammates over the years.

    Just my thoughts… and hope that others are willing to share theirs.

    Bottom line – the upcoming Super Bowl holds much promise – both #1 seeds, #1 Offense vs. #1 Defense. How many times do we get this type of matchup in the big game?

    • milesaustin Yes, Miles – it should be an epic Super Bowl pitting the #1s against each other. It will be physical in the secondary – Broncos hold jerseys…Sherman mugs them out there. Seriously, I was surprised at how much contact they were allowing after 5 yards. As long as they allow the receivers the occasional push-off to get separation, then it should be fair on both sides.

      You have me on the Manning pedigree; however, his behavior at 23 was still exemplary when it came to graciousness in victory/defeat. Sherman’s was not. And you do not have to look far to see better examples at 23 (Russell Wilson, perhaps…Demaryius Thomas, Calvin Johnson at 23). Having said that, the taunting/celebratory behavior in modern professional football (and basketball) is excessive in my opinion.

      You can say he was provoked by Crabtree putting a hand in his face, but you don’t get to win the game on the guy…stand over him and taunt him to the point of getting flagged…then reach out your hand to say “good game”. Gotta think that lacks in the sincerity department. Sounds like he taunted Brady when they beat the Patriots last year, and the choking sign to Kaepernick was over the top. Regarding Crabtree wanting to “fight him” at Fitzgerald’s charity event…they are welcome to take it to the parking lot versus national TV. Sherman is just doing his image damage, and he says he doesn’t want to be thought of as a thug.

      I know Seattle loves him, and it sounds like he is doing some AWESOME things off the field regarding the programs you describe. He needs to do Sherman “the man” justice by carrying that attitude in front of the camera versus boasting. He can still be physical “between the lines”…yet still be gracious both on the field and off the field.

      Let’s see what kind of sound bites we get over the next two weeks…

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with milesaustin. Growing up in arguably one of the toughest cities in the U.S. compared to growing up as the son of a pro athlete is A HUGE difference that cannot be glossed over. Allow your own children to live in the neighborhood that Sherman grew up in for a summer and see how it affects their outlook.

    It would be more accurate to compare how Peyton and Brady’s handle defeat. Especially considering that Brady’s been seen on camera throwing tantrums (his wife throwing tantrums) and having heated arguments with his coaching staff after losing big games or throwing INTs. Surprisingly (wink) the public is NOT outraged when Mr. Brady acts out – I wonder why?

    • raydennis milesaustin You got me on the Brady tantrums, and I agree with both you and Miles on the “tough upbringings”. I will just reiterate that if Sherman has “risen above it all” as student athlete – and now professional with a heart for several causes – he needs to represent those victories and priorities with a better example. Otherwise, he will limit his influence possibilities over a larger audience.

      Does he want to be a role model to young athletes about talking smack…or about tackling someone out of their shoes – and then serving in a food kitchen or helping with children’s literacy?

      I vote for the latter – and again, this comes from someone who does not like brash trash-talking or claims to be the greatest…from anyone.

      • dbvickery raydennis milesaustin I’m sure he’ll do fine. Compared to the other pro athletes with rape, drug and murder charges, I can live with a little smack talking #BeastMode :D