On Wednesday, Sherman addressed with reporters the value of physicality, especially when the officials seem to be disinclined to repeatedly throw flags when guys are pushing and shoving pass-catchers on a continual basis.
“I think that’s the way the game of football was built,” Sherman said, via quotes distributed by the team. “I think when they came up with the rules and they first built the game and created the game, these rules weren’t in place. [Editor's note: He's right, primarily because when they first built the game and created the game, there was no passing.] The game was allowed to be played physical, and that’s why you had so many run games. That’s an old school brand of football. I don’t know how old the rules are, but since these rules have come, you look up and every receiver, every play they could drop a wide-open pass and turn around and look for a flag. I think that kind of ruins the game. That kind of ruins the intensity, the whole DNA of football and what it is if you see flags every single play.”
While the rules have changed over the past 40 years to encourage more offense and in turn more scoring, Sherman is right about one thing — no one wants to see the game bogged down by penalties. As a result, the Seahawks have discovered the ability to secure a net gain by constantly engaging in illegal contact, holding, and interference. No matter how often it’s called, it’ll never be called every time it happens.
“I think DBs playing physical is the way football should be,” Sherman said. “A lot of people want to see great offense. You see great offense all the time. People running through zones and guys not being able to cover them. We stand up there and have a dogfight every play.”
The next team the Seahawks will face isn’t complaining about that. Yet.
“You never know what would be called and what wouldn’t,” receiver Anquan Boldin told reporters on Wednesday. “For us we play football and let the refs do what they do. . . . If you get called for it, it’s holding, if not, it’s not holding. So, you just play football.”
The best way to combat it would be for the 49ers receivers to be physical, too, pushing off and grabbing and holding the defensive backs in an effort to get separation. While it may draw a periodic flag, they won’t call it every time it happens — and that may be the best (and only) way to neutralize Seattle’s brazen approach to bruising up receivers.