Richard Sherman is currently one of the most controversial players in the NFL. After his very public rant at Michael Crabtree last season, the Seattle Seahawks cornerback was thrust into the media spotlight as reporters and analysts everywhere debated whether his rant was justified or if he had crossed some unspoken line. Now, Sherman, who was selected by EA Sports on Friday to grace the cover of Madden 15, is insisting on sharing the spotlight with his “Legion of Boom” teammates, going so far as to suggest fans create an online petition.
Sherman is regarded by many NFL fans as being one of the most arrogant players in the league. He is certainly not shy or modest; his post-NFC Championship game interview with Erin Andrews, which left Andrews shocked and speechless, included two references to himself as the “best” corner in the game and a reference to Crabtree as being a “sorry” receiver.
Any NFL fan who is halfway knowledgeable of the game knows Crabtree is anything but sorry. Sherman got the better of him in that final play, but Crabtree has over 3,600 yards in his five seasons with the 49ers, including the 2013 season where he only played five games after recovering from an Achilles injury. He had 284 yards on 19 receptions last year, including a 60-yard bomb in a regular season game against Seattle, which San Francisco won 23-13. Crabtree is no Calvin Johnson, but neither is he “sorry.”
Sherman moved on from the spat after a couple of residual tweets, though, and helped the Seahawks claim the Super Bowl trophy with a crushing defeat over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Linebacker Malcolm Smith was awarded the Super Bowl MVP trophy, and Sherman has been touted by NFL greats like Deion Sanders as “the best corner” in the league. Some analysts and fans would disagree, for reasons legitimate and petty, but there is no denying that the Seattle cornerback is an outstanding football player.
Especially now. Gracing the cover of Madden 15 officially puts Sherman at the end of a short line of football legends, following in the footsteps of Marshall Faulk, Ray Lewis, Brett Favre, the aforementioned Calvin Johnson, and the great Barry Sanders, who has twice shared the cover, first in 2000 with Dorsey Levens and John Madden himself, and again last year on Madden 25 with comeback king Adrian Peterson.
Much has been said over the years about the “Madden Curse,” a superstition claiming that players who grace the cover meet with misfortune the following season, either through poor performance or injury. Reports are claiming that Carolina Panthers Coach Ron Rivera voted against quarterback Cam Newton, who was the other finalist, because Rivera did not want to chance the curse on his star player. The Seahawks cornerback, however, is not worried. He called the curse “fabricated” and went on to say he “believe[s] in God,” not curses.
If there is a curse, though, he wants to share it. Sherman told ESPN reporters Tuesday that he is “fighting” EA Sports in a petition to get the entire “Legion of Boom” (the nickname for the Seahawks’ secondary) on the Madden cover with him. The cornerback credited his teammates with his success, claiming he “would never be in the position” to be chosen for Madden’s cover without them. Suggesting that EA is not entirely on board with the idea, Sherman invited “everybody [to] start a petition” to get his fellow secondary starters on the cover. As of Tuesday afternoon, a petition had been created on Change.org by a fan requesting EA comply in order to show that Seattle “plays as one unit.” The petition had over 200 signatures at the time of this article.
Sherman is definitely not the most humble athlete to play professional sports, but he has proven time and again that he is dedicated to his team and to the sport of football. Besides insisting on sharing his Madden glory with his teammates, he has attended nearly every voluntary offseason practice session according to Coach Pete Carroll. When asked about it, Sherman explained he is “a ball player” and he could not see himself being anywhere else. The field is where he wants to be, he went on to say, adding that true players have “an itch” to be “out there getting better.”
It remains to be seen whether the petition Sherman instigated to have the “Legion of Boom” appear on the Madden 15 cover will be successful. Players have shared the cover before, but EA may not approve of the method taken here. On the other hand, the video game giant may see the potential for increased sales, particularly from Seattle fans and Sherman haters.
Commentary by Christina Jones