Sherman sees physical play on receivers as “real football”


The Seahawks have, in the opinion of some, perfected the art of pass interference.  Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, however, sees it as the Seahawks perfecting the art of football.

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.

69 responses to “Sherman sees physical play on receivers as “real football”

  1. I guess if you hold on every play then its not holding anymore. I mean there is no way the refs would call holding on every play.

  2. And this is exactly why the days of the “smurf” WR are just about over.

    There’s a reason the Saints have kept two or three 6’3+ WRs and a 6’7 TE on the roster for years and why other teams like the Bears are now following suit. When you’ve got 6’2 or 6’3 CBs who are allowed to slap and hold with impunity, your WRs had better be able to man-up and give it back.

  3. It’s the little things that count for so much, and if you try to play defense without every touching somebody then you are going to have a hard time playing that perfect clean game. These players know they can get away with a lot of stuff up to a certain point, and they take what the referees allow them to take which is quite a bit. There’s a good payoff to being overly physical and aggressive based on how rarely you get caught and penalized. The pros usually outweigh the cons to try and get away with bending the rules.

  4. Look at the Manningham, Ian William, Delanie Walker, and Kyle Williams injuries and you’ll know there is plenty of hate between these teams.

  5. I like him as a player, it’s a shame he has such a big mouth, maybe if he kept it shut he would get a lot more respect from everybody.

  6. The NFL wants lots of scoring. Thus, most of the rules favor the offense.

    Let the defenders play at least a bit, please.

    Make the receivers work for their catches just a little.

    Let the defenders defend.

    If you’re not going to allow that, then call the push offs by receivers when they cut on their routes to get separation.
    This is not called as often as it should, or could be called.

  7. Receivers get away with OPI far more often than CBs do DPI or holding. Also, to be frank, I find all this fascination with Seattle’s alleged holding disrespectful to their considerable talent in coverage. 3/4 of them are All-Pros and deservingly so.

  8. Man. I called it over a year ago. Everyone else is just catching up. The Seahawks defense is predicated on ignoring the rules, which puts them at an advantage over teams that adhere to the rules.

  9. For years I’ve heard people crying about how the NFL is becoming flag football, Bill Polian made it so cornerbacks can’t do anything, etc.

    Then a game is played with an “old school” interpretation of the rules and the same people cry and want flags.

    Make up your mind, folks.

  10. Time for another “glorified practice” eh Doug E Doug? Lol. What a punk. You cannot deny his talent, but you cannot root for a guy like Doug E Doug unless he is on your team. He is more of a prima Donna than Prime ever was. BTW….Revis is the best CB in the league

  11. I’ll admit that I have a passionate dislike for Seattle. That said, I love the way they play defense. It’s refreshing to see a team who can actually win games by playing defense, not solely relying on their QB to put up 35+ every game.

    I’m also confused by all the people complaining about this style. First everybody calls it the “flag football league,” but when guys play physical now it’s cheating?

  12. Of course Sherman likes the constant contact and feels that’s the way the game should be played. Without playing that way he’d be an average CB

  13. It’s hard to hate the Seahawks because Russel Wilson is such a likeable guy.
    Sherman makes it much easier by being the guy that he is.

  14. I grew up with Mike McKenzie and Al Harris …so I absolutely love Press Coverage.

    It’s a shame Bill Polian and Peyton had to run off and whine about press coverage.

    Now everyone is throwing for 5,000 yards a season.

  15. Really that is how you beat cheating! The only pi call last week was opi on the saints cuz he was pushing his way out of a hold 12 yards down the field. I would not say it is gonna work.

    The only way they will slow down is to drop flags! Drop flags or change the rules back. Make it where every team plays the same game!

    If Sherman had to play by the rules (I mean no drugs or pi) he would be just as good as his draft location. Meaning he would suck!

  16. I really don’t have a problem with the way those guys play the receivers of other teams. What I have a problem with is the rules and that there seems to be an inconsistency in the way the rules are enforced. The rules suck. Let them play, I’m all for it. But you can not have rules in place and not call them consistently on a team that all they are doing is breaking that rule on every play knowing the refs won’t call it every play. Either call it all the time, or change the rules, plain and simple.

  17. The DB’s on Seattle hold no more than the offensive line of the Patriots. Both hold on every play.

    Now Seattle had the most holding and DPI calls in the league. But on the other hand, NE’s O-line rarely gets called for any penalties.

    I don’t care who does what, just call the game same for both teams and let the players have an even playing field.

  18. He talks about “real football” or old school football before those illegal contact rules were in place. That’s all well and good, but he is playing in today’s football when those rules DO EXIST, so I see no problem with the refs calling the penalty on every play that the penalty exists. Trust me, Seattle will change their game plan if it was called three or four times in a row, allowing the 49’ers to move down the field on penalties for an easy 7 points. Next series, same thing, 7 points. How long will they keep it up?

  19. Hopefully in both the AFC and NFC title games, the refs will let them play. No ticky tack fouls, no bs calls. Football is a game designed to be physical and to be played outdoors. The Ravens/49ers Super Bowl was a good example of the referees giving the players leeway and not deciding the game. Only 7 fouls were called. I wish all games could be officiated like that.

  20. If Seattle and Denver both win, expect Peyton Manning to cry to the league about Seattle’s tactics when the Broncos lose the SB.

    After the Colts lost to Ty Law and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game in 2004, Peyton’s loud complaints goaded the competition committee into strong arming the game officials into throwing flags all of 2005 resulting in Peyton breaking Marino’s 20 yr old record for TD passes in a season….

  21. Conveniently left out of Sherman’s quote was the part where he credited the WRs of old for putting up their numbers before the offensively slanted girly rules were implemented.

    So I think DBs playing physical is the way football should be. 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 dog fight every play. You know, there are going to be some pushing offs and grabbing here and there, and that is the game of football. That’s how it is. That’s how it’s always been. Ask the Michael Irvin’s of the world, the Jerry Rice’s who had to deal with those before these rules coming up. That is real football.

  22. You people are whiny babies!! Ohhh waaaa Seattle cheats, PEDs, crowd noise. You’re telling me that the Hawks have gained their #1 defensive rank in nearly every category by cheating?? Get real. Anyone trying to discredit Sherman as the best CB in the league is either seriously delusional or just a hating Niners fan. The LOB owns Kaep and San Fran in Seattle.

  23. Although I agree with sherman that what they do is real football its still doesn’t take away the fact that they holf and even mug opposing wrs running down the field. Shrman is the best corner in the game. No doubt about in my mind. Thomas is the best safety in the game. I hate seattle just as much as anyone but I respect them. With that being said they still break the rules and to be honest its not their problemm its the nfl’s and refs pronlem because they aren’t calling it. But just beware. When u light up one of their soft wrs u better believe their fans will be soaking the boards with tears.

  24. I used to hate this guy. Hate him.

    Until I saw a video of him interviewing some old drunk guy on Bourbon street…he asked him: “Who’s a better shutdown corner, Richard Sherman or Darelle Revis?” The guy had no idea he was talking to Richard Sherman, and goes off on how Sherman is old and slow, and should have been suspended, and the whole time Sherman is holding the microphone going “yeah, yeah, absolutely”…then at the end he says, “Richard Sherman, nice to meet you” and holds out his hand. The guy couldn’t believe it, and starts stammering and apologizing. Sherman just laughed and laughed, and then put his arm around the guy.

    Look up the video. It was clear you need a sense of humor to do that, and Sherman’s whole thing is just a persona. Unfortunate he launched himself to notoriety by being a jerk to Skip Bayless, but this kind of made me forgive him. Plus, love him or hate him, he’s one heck of a corner.

    Not a Seahawks fan

  25. Its obvious most of yous have never played the game. I love the way Sherman plays the games, in fact the entire Seattle football team plays with great physicality. Its the way the game is supposed to be played no matter what Flo might whine about. Flo never played either but considers himself a giant in the NFL media field,,,lol,,,,Anyway, if the great QBs of yesterday could play 5 yrs with this “can’t defend anyone” mentality, todays passing records would be unattainable. Just 15 yrs ago you could actually defend someone who was running a pass route,,,not today,,,NFL wants 54-48 scores every Sunday. When TDs become a dime dozen the game will become boring. When the game becomes boring, no one will want to watch,,,I love football but rarely watch an entire game,,,the game has to many penalties and TDs are becoming a cheap commodity.

  26. Total crap. The great ones like Mr. Sanders and Mr. Green NEVER had to hold anyone to shutdown a receiver. Bump that. They locked down half the field by themselves. This league is getting weaker if they allow corners to manhandled receivers. HTTR

  27. From the comments on here I’d take it many of the posters weren’t born before 1990.

    You’re used to scores being 38-34. Calling that great football.

    Guys like Ronnie Lot, Kenny Easley, Lawrence Taylor, Lester Hayes, Mike Singletary, etc. would be fined left and right if they played their style of play today.

    Either keep the flag football that you complain about, or let the defense play a little, which you also complain about.

  28. The only “Real football” being played in Cheattle is played by a Skittle-chomping dude who just doesn’t quit. I love how whenever they put up a graphic of Marshawn Lynch he either looks confused or his eyes are crossed looking off into the background. No wonder he wears that shaded visor… But seriously, he is the “oldschool” physical one on that team.

    The rest, literally cheat on EVERY play. Whether you like the rules or not, they are the rules. You can play physically within the rules.

  29. Teams who look for advantages found within loopholes of the NFL rule-book and publicly comment about it can expect the rule-book to be amended in their honor (e.g. Oakland Raiders’ DB physical-play in the 1970s is what ultimately prompted the introduction of the Pass Interference and 5-yard no contact rules.).

    I think the game is better when it is played physically. But, those plays where DBs restrict the receivers hands and arms from free-movement are egregious and should draw yellow-cloth everytime – bumping, shoving, and smacking in WR/DB exchanges is something completely different from bearhugging (probably an exaggeration) and GRABBING the receivers hands or arms (which are the vital tools used for receivers to perform their job) as the ball is in flight.

    MAIN POINT: Physical play was, should be, and (to a certain extent) still is a part of the game. Egregious constriction of the receivers tools for catching the ball – should be discouraged and violators should be deemed cowards due to their own doubt in their abilities.

  30. Refs used to flag Ahmad Carroll all the time for this stuff. Who knew he was just ahead of his time?

  31. You 49ers whiners need to stop.

    When your team was the most physical, you had no problems. And Carlos Rodgers holds more then any cornerback in the league. But that was fine until you ran into a team MORE physical then you. Then you start crying about the Seahawks home field advantage and stuff.

    I’ll be so glad when the Seahawks eliminate you from the playoffs this weekend. Tired of you crying now that you are getting whipped for a change.

  32. Wow. It’s apparent that unbiased analysis is not an option here. Just because you don’t like a particular player or his team doesn’t mean there isn’t validity in his statement(s).

  33. I think the refs need to do their jobs and call the game the way they see it. They don’t need to be ticky tacky, but don’t let rule violations go, just in the name of “letting them play” because “they” (both teams) need to play WITHIN the rules. If there is a violation on every play, then you have to call it on every play. You can’t NOT call it because you are afraid of slowing the game down. You didn’t initiate the rule violation. You are just doing YOUR job, which is to call any violations you see on the field. If that happens on every play, so be-it. Until the rules change, you have to call the game based on the CURRENT rules.

  34. Look, I hate the Seahawks; I really don’t like Richard Sherman; I think they get away with a lot of stuff that other teams would be called for and totally change the outcome of the game. That said, fact is, he’s right. Their brand of football, especially in the passing game, is what football should be. What ruffles feathers though, is how it seems like a different set of rules apply to the Seahawks than 31 other teams. Sherman is right, but it’s only OK if the whole NFL relaxes calls in the secondary, so that everyone is allowed to play with the same physicality as Seattle.

  35. Hey I’m in favor of old-school hard-nose football, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to smack the WR with elbow strikes all the way down the field. Bump and run is good, it seemed to work for Deion Sanders and Darrel Greene.

    Old-school hard-nose: those days are gone with the current rules. So follow the current rules, Mr. Sherman. And I would probably dislike you but you jacked up Skip so that makes you okay in my book. Plus you are pretty funny.

  36. Something has to give here.
    The Seahawks (according to current rules) commit multiple PI and Defensive holding in a game. But the refs choose not to call them unless they are egregious.
    I don’t mind the game being physical, but what is the point of the rule then? If you are not supposed to have hands on receiver past 5 yards if the ball is in the air, then and it does NOT get called, then IMHO one of the following needs to happen:

    1) It needs to get called. EVERY time. Until the Seahawks start following the same set of rules the rest of the league are held to.

    2) The receivers have to start pushing/holding/grabbing back (AND the refs had better not call it)

    3) Opponents should treat Seahawk receivers with the SAME behavior.. AND it better not be called ANY differently by the refs

    4) Change the rules.

    No game can be played with inconsistent application or “judgement call” application of a clear rule. It’s just stupid.

  37. It is sometimes funny after the play is over the WR will turn and gesture to the refs (why no flags) and then a couple of seconds later the flag is thrown. It has gotten ridiculous in recent time.

  38. This has happened for years. If you have big CB’s and they play physical and hold alot, they are not going to be called for the foul anywhere near as much as they actually do it.

    I say this as a Packer fan who watched Al Harris/Mike Mckenzie and Al Harris/Charles Woodson do this alot and not get called.

    To me the most offensive thing is that bigger CBs get a pass, while a small guy (5’8″ to 5’10”) playing the same way will get flagged a ton. I think the officials see the smaller guy as “overmatched” and needing to hold, and thus they draw the flag more.

  39. So, at the start of the season, all of the officials got together and decided to give the Seahawks a free pass when it comes to interference calls…Ya, right, that sounds reasonable.

    Don’t hate………appreciate.

  40. I’m not sure what’s more entertaining here….

    Richard Sherman, or all the bitter, jealous haters who wish THEIR team would’ve found this stud in the 5th round.


  41. Tell me this my fellow PFT readers…With no regard for the team you love or the teams you hate…

    If you had the opportunity to have Richard Sherman as a starting CB on your team for less than 1 million in cap hit would you take him?

    Thumbs up = Yes

    Thumbs down = No

  42. The best non-QB player in the playoffs. He’s the man, everyone gets beat and it does happen against a guy with little film, no matter who you are or what the matchup is.

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