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Richard Sherman is a cornerback with the Seattle Seahawks. (MGNonline)

Richard Sherman is a cornerback with the Seattle Seahawks. (MGNonline)

Sherman becomes a scene stealer

Last Modified: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 11:43 AM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

When Lane Kiffin took a page out of a contrived reality TV show and went off to join Nick Saban at Alabama, the Internet did not, as widely predicted, explode like the Hindenburg.

So perhaps next week’s certified circus known as Super Bowl Media Day will not implode under the weight of MTV, Inside Edition and the other journalistic jugglers and dancing bears when Richard Sherman strides boldly out from around the corner for an appearance.

But if last weekend’s conference championship games set the stage for anything, it’s that this is now the Richard Sherman Super Bowl.

It doesn’t even need Roman Numerals.

He owns it. It’s his. Nobody else need apply.

Thanks for coming, Peyton, but — boooring —would you mind stepping aside. You’re blocking my view. We have some nice chairs over there in the corner and I believe they have some nice refreshments for you.

Yo! Richard! Sherman! My man!

My guess is that Entertainment Tonight will have Sherman under 24-hour surveillance in New York.

America has a new fascination and it’s Richard Sherman, courtesy of one of the great immediate postgame interviews ever.

It came after he tipped an interception to a teammate — Sherman didn’t mention his name, but he probably has one, now lost in history — to clinch the Seahawks’ victory over the 49ers.

You probably heard it. Knowing how these usually worthless, fill-time “interviews” go, I was just about to change channels when ...

“Well I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree that’s the result you’re going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me.”

Well, that was different.

(And it sounded better than it reads with the inflections and dancing eyes and popping jugulars)

Certainly not the usual “They’re a fine team” and “I was just happy to be able to come through for my teammates.”

Granted, the rant won’t be the next chapter in “Profiles in Sportsmanship,” but in today’s world it was nothing if not effective.

We now have a reason to pay attention to the mega-hype leading up to the Super Bowl.

What will Sherman say next?

It should be noted that, after showering and not shaving, when Sherman addressed the full media, he upgraded Michael Crabtree to “mediocre ... at best.”

Perhaps because the Super Bowl looms, the deep thinkers have even checked in and decided that the nation’s reaction to Sherman defines us a country.

That’s a little too deep, perhaps.

But as I understand it, the nation is horribly divided once again, split down the middle along all too familiar lines on whether or not Sherman is a punk or just that the NFL needs to enforce its 10-minute cooling off period, even with Erin Andrews.

Some will play the “race” card in this debate, but it’s probably as much the “age” card as anything.

The older crowd likes to live with the myth that their sports heroes are noble and aw-shucks humble while the kids like them some in-your-face smack. Trash-talking may one day be a Boy Scout badge.

To me what it defines is the National Football League.

The NFL has strict rules, punishable by fine, as to how players wear their game socks. There’s a handy chart in all the locker rooms to explain it.

That’s how homogenized and image-conscious that league is, ever protective of its “brand.”

So if it didn’t want caterwauling the likes of Sherman, it would do something about it.

It doesn’t.

That rant was the natural progression of the look-at-me gyrations the league promotes, stuff that would have gotten players arrested back in their college days.

More and more in recent years, the self-congratulation has become opponent taunt, ever pushing the edge.

Lacking the high-inside fastball that keeps baseball fairly civilized, the NFL might want to take a harder look at that.

At any rate, we now have almost two weeks to learn of the kinder, softer side of Richard Sherman, to discover that he’s neither punk nor thug — a Stanford education, I’m told, crosses off those two — just naturally talkative and a wee bit cocky.

My take is that Sherman just needs a little fine-tuning.

Deion Sanders could have pulled that one off. Could have done it with no bruised feelings and minimal splitting apart of America.

But of course Deion was a natural actor.

Deion could have talked that same smack — word for word — but with a twinkle in his eye and a wink-wink that told you, hey, it’s all showbiz.

Sherman’s glazed-over eyes looked like an actual werewolf was coming to life right there in your man cave.

So maybe the act needs a little work.

But it should make for a fun Super Bowl week.

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