By Chad Underwood
Every February, a Super Bowl is played and the champion of the National Football League is crowned. It is a spectacle to say the least. The build-up on almost every major news network to the thousands of camera bulbs flashing in the stadium during kickoff, it is a hard event not to pay attention to. But where does our rooting interest come from? Do we find players we like or dislike and base our opinions on that? Some research might support that.
According to an ESPN.com poll, 61 percent of the country is hoping for the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl next weekend. According to another ESPN study asking who will win the game (ideally excluding a rooting interest), the information continues to favor the Broncos at a stout 65 percent, despite many odds makers favoring the Seattle Seahawks.
Peyton Manning, quarterback of the Broncos, is football’s golden child. Born in New Orleans to a father who had already made his name as a star quarterback, Manning had all the tools to become a great football talent, and he did just that. He went to the University of Tennessee where he played for all the four years he was eligible. His resume is almost flawless, with the exception of a so-so record in the playoffs (11-11), but winning next Sunday would probably erase that stat from everyone’s memory.
On the other side of the equation we have a man named Richard Sherman, who plays defensive back for the Seahawks and is in some “hot water” this week because of an interview with FOX Sports’ Erin Andrews after the Seahawks’ win against the 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl. He flew off the handle pro-wrestling style and had this to say:
“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.”
Sherman mentions Michael Crabtree, a receiver from the San Francisco 49ers that was covering when he tipped the ball to a teammate for the interception to clinch the Seahawks first Super Bowl berth since 2005. He attempts to shame him publicly along with the entire 49ers organization for “trying” him with Crabtree, who does not seem to be up to Sherman’s standards of the quality of a wide receiver he should be assigned to defend against. Just like Manning, Sherman has been working his whole life to get to the Super Bowl. Instead of what we got from Manning, which made him seem as emotionless as a robot, we got to see Sherman’s outpouring of emotion and it was fun to watch.
So what is the difference between them exactly? We have two college graduates, living out their dreams of playing professional football. There is obviously a difference in race, which must matter to a number of people after some of the ruthless verbal attacks on Sherman via Twitter where he has been called a “thug” and a “monkey”. These remarks are fitting for Twitter, where you can lash out behind the safety of a username and privacy settings with little to no problem at all.
To those who view Manning as a “class act,” and someone who exemplifies everything that is right with humanity, I leave you with this. To those who think Richard Sherman is deserving of abuse for being who he is, I leave you with this. Being emotional does not make people subhuman, it makes them a person.