Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman consistently has claimed that the NFL’s decision to emphasize illegal contact and defensive holding will not affect the defending Super Bowl champions.
Most recently, Sherman reiterated his position during an interview with NBC’s Josh Elliott.
“I don’t think it’ll affect our game at all,” Sherman said. “We’ve been playing at the line of scrimmage. And those rules have always been in place. I think they’ll affect other teams a little bit more. If you look at the statistics, the way the preseason has gone, it’s rarely ever affected us in a game.”
While the rules actually have been in place for fewer than 40 years, he’s right about the stats. The Seahawks haven’t seen many of the flags that have been plaguing other teams this preseason, which suggests that Pete Carroll and company already have adjusted.
“I think the point of emphasis is what it is,” Sherman added. “But I think it’s a little bit more, you know, of the league trying to mandate, a playing style which is interesting. When the fantasy football numbers need to be what they need to be, then the league needs to do what it needs to do to get it done. This is a money-driven league. So whatever sells the tickets is gonna sell the tickets.”
Asked specifically whether fantasy football played a role in the point of emphasis, Sherman didn’t hesitate.
“Selling tickets is the number one concern,” Sherman said. And fantasy football is a phase of that. That is the next billion dollar industry that they’re gonna protect.”
There’s some merit to Sherman’s reasoning, even if the NFL never would actually admit it. With fans now able to stay home and watch an endless stream of scoring on the RedZone channel, fans are less inclined to focus on only one game. Which is precisely what happens when buying a ticket to attend only one game.