Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a past president and member of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
LIKE IT IS:
Super Bowl comes with built-in storylines
Championship Sunday provided two great football games, several Super Bowl storylines and some stupid controversy.
The most discussed controversy came when Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman went off on sideline reporter Erin Andrews with an oddly timed rant.
The Seahawks were celebrating their victory over the San Francisco 49ers to advance to their second Super Bowl, and there was joy throughout CenturyLink Field, except for Sherman, who screamed about being the game’s greatest cornerback and made a choking sign at San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick threw two passes at Sherman all game, including the last play when Sherman deflected a pass intended for Michael Crabtree and it was intercepted by linebacker Malcolm Smith to preserve the victory.
Sherman acted like a wacko in his rant, but it was just an overpaid athlete letting his ego get the best of him.
Sherman is one of many trash talkers in the NFL. He’s probably one of many who thinks he is the best in the world at his position and willtell the world that.
That makes him more narcissist than monster.
He claims he was angry because he tried to congratulate Crabtree, who shoved him away.
Sherman and Crabtree reportedly have a history that goes back to an event last summer when Crabtree snubbed Sherman.
Trash talking and out-of control egos are part of the NFL. Understand, professional football has grown into a brutal game that celebrates individual play almost more than teamwork, and with it comes big dollars and sometimes little sense.
Too often a defensive player will make a sack with his team trailing by two or three touchdowns and he celebrates, which is ridiculous.
Sherman is a Stanford man, not Dennis Rodman, and owns a degree in communications. But in that moment in front of millions of television viewers he came across like so many other professional football players.
The other controversy happened the day after New England’s loss to Denver when Patriots head coach and grumpy old man Bill Belichick said he thought Broncos receiver Wes Welker tried to take out New England defensive back Aqib Talib, calling their collision one of the worst plays he’s seen.
Welker and Talib collided and Talib was helped off the field.
When Talib was asked about the play after the game, he cursed at the reporter and said he didn’t remember the play. Talib suffered a knee injury, not a concussion and memory loss.
Belichick didn’t have a concussion either, but he seemed to have forgotten that for six seasons, before Welker left New England after last season to sign with the Broncos, Welker, who has a big NFL ego, was his most productive receiver and one of the NFL’s most physical receivers.
Welker is tougher than a claw hammer on a hickory nut.
He’s also a self-made star.
Welker got a late scholarship offer from Texas Tech after being lightly recruited in high school, and he caught 259 passes for 3,019 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Red Raiders. Welker also rushed 79 times for 456 yards and 2touchdowns, and he returned 8 punts for touchdowns.
He signed as a free agent with San Diego, was cut, then signed with Miami and spent the better part of two years on special teams. Then he signed with New England and established himself as a top NFL receiver through hard work and the ability to absorb as well as dish out hard hits.
Peyton Manning persuaded Denver to sign Walker to a two-year, $12 million contract, and now the Broncos are on their way to the Super Bowl and New England and Belichick are not.
Sports, Pages 17 on 01/22/2014