Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said Wednesday he thinks the NFL intentionally edited a highlights film of the last play of Sunday's game as a way to make defensive players look bad.
Maybe it was simply Richard Sherman’s way of letting everyone know that things are back to normal when he levied a broadside at the NFL mere seconds into his weekly meeting with the media Wednesday.
Sherman, asked about Atlanta’s controversial final play during the Seahawks’ 26-24 win over the Falcons, veered off to accuse the NFL of intentionally altering a video of the beginning of the play in a highlights package shown on Inside the NFL on Showtime (the show is produced by NFL Films).
In the recap of the game, what viewers are led to believe is Atlanta’s last play of the game begins with a clip of a different play and not what actually happened — Julio Jones head slapping Sherman to get free at the line of scrimmage. Instead, Jones is simply shown running.
“The NFL played a video and didn’t show the front of the play,’’ Sherman said. “That’s just how the league is about defensive players, you know.’’
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Asked if he thought it was intentional, Sherman said “100 percent. … they don’t want to help defenses in the least.”
The end of the play engendered controversy as Jones and Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn thought Sherman should have been called for pass interference on a play in which the ball fell incomplete, effectively clinching the win for the Seahawks.
Sherman Tweeted Monday night (and later deleted) a clip of the beginning of the play saying “Love it lol …. don’t see that as a flag …. got my laugh for the night … Thank you.”
Sherman Wednesday said what Jones did was unquestionably worthy of a flag for hands to the face.
“It’s difficult to recover when you almost fall at the beginning of the play, you get pushed in the face,” he said. “If I pushed a receiver in the face I guarantee you it would be the highlight of every SportsCenter, every everything, if that was the fourth quarter, the last play, and I pushed him in the face. But it is what it is.”
What Sherman said is also in the past is his sideline outburst after Jones scored on a 36-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. On the play, a pre-snap change in the coverage led to Sherman playing man defense on Atlanta tight end Austin Hooper — who had gone to the far left in motion — with the rest of the team playing zone, which allowed Jones to break free for an easy score. Sherman apparently didn’t get the correct call from strong safety Kelcie McCray, who was filling in for injured Kam Chancellor, and reacted angrily when he reached the sideline and was approached by defensive coordinator Kris Richard, who appeared to be asking what had gone wrong.
Sherman, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and other teammates all said they now considered what happened Sunday, when teammates struggled for several minutes to calm Sherman, a dead issue.
“Our guys have worked all that through and we’re in great shape,” Carroll said. “I’m not worried about it a bit.”
Sherman said he had no regrets about the incident or wished he had done anything different.
“No,” he said. “Nothing at all.”
But he said he had no worry that any hard feelings would linger.
“It’s a new week, it’s another opponent,” he said. “Everything kind of starts over. … we are a ballclub. I mean, things happen. We came out with the win and we move on to the next week.”
Neither Carroll nor Sherman went into any more specifics about what led to the incident, with Sherman saying “it was just a mis-check. Just a mis-check by two guys. Just one of those things that could have been communicated better.”
Asked if he had talked with Richard, Sherman said there “wasn’t much of a need. We’ve had a conversation but nothing outside of the norm. I think everything is pretty much understood.”
Teammates agreed that they considered the blowup having now blown over.
Receiver Doug Baldwin insisted that the outburst was “mild” compared to others he has seen from Sherman in the 10 years they have been friends, dating to their college careers at Stanford.
“We play a violent sport and so at times you are going to have passionate people display their passion,” Baldwin said. “And in those instances in crucial situations when you make mistakes, you give up plays or things don’t go your way, sometimes that passion comes out. But the thing about football players, athletes, our locker room specifically, is we have some great leaders. And Sherm being one of them. So when instances like that happen it’s very easy for us to get back on the same page and go forward because we have been through it before.”
Said linebacker K.J. Wright: “We understand each other. It’s happened at practice several times. So if it happens, cool, correct it, fix it, move on. That’s what we did. We moved on and we found a way to finish the game and we corrected it the next day. … that’s teams do, that’s what families do. They fight, they get mad at each other and kiss and makeup later on.”