Richard Sherman and the San Francisco 49ers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54 on Sunday in Miami. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Richard Sherman and the San Francisco 49ers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54 on Sunday in Miami. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Patterson: Fan responses decidely in favor of Richard Sherman

Seahawks fans, mostly, seem to be rooting for the ex-Seattle star, but against the 49ers.

“U Mad Bro?” “The Tip.” Threatening to have a reporter’s credentials revoked.

Richard Sherman was many things during his seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks from 2011-17. He was a five-time All-Pro cornerback capable of taking a third of the field away from the opposing quarterback. He was a signature member of the Legion of Boom secondary that defined the greatest era of Seahawks football. He was a Super Bowl winner.

He was also an inveterate trash-talker whose personality infuriated the opposition, whether it was players on the other side of the football or fans watching on TV at home. His brash personality could even grate on his own coaches, teammates and fans on occasion.

Whatever one thought about Sherman, he was unquestionably one of the faces of the Seahawks franchise.

But Sherman is a face of another franchise now, and he’s headed back to the Super Bowl with a hated NFC West rival. Sherman and the NFC-champion San Francisco 49ers face the AFC-champion Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV Sunday in Miami.

I was curious about how Seahawks fans felt about this development. Therefore, last week I invited readers to share their thoughts and feelings about Sherman going to the Super Bowl with the 49ers.

First off, I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of the response. Between emails, comments on the online version of the story, Twitter and Facebook we received more than 100 responses. The emails in particular were substantial and well thought out. So thank you to everyone who participated, I’m thrilled by the reader engagement. While I’m unable to share all the responses here, a companion online story contains them all.

Now, the sports world, and particularly sports fandom, can oftentimes be wrought with cynicism and negativity, and I was bracing myself for that kind of reaction to Sherman going to the Super Bowl with the 49ers. But I found myself heartened when I saw that the vast majority of the responses — at least two-thirds and probably closer to three-quarters — were unabashedly pro-Sherman.

A good example came from Everett’s Doug Gemmell:

“I don’t really care who wins this Super Bowl, but I hope Sherman has a good game. He made the Seahawks a better team and he is making the Niners better as well. Russell Wilson traded jerseys with him after the game last November, so if Russ can ‘forgive’ him, can’t we all?”

There were a number of responses acknowledging that it was the Seahawks who decided to part ways, releasing Sherman from his contract after he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in 2017, and therefore don’t harbor any animosity about Sherman’s signing with a division rival. That included Bothell’s Sheila Lester:

“I think we forget that this is a business. Players go where they can get the most money. He was a great player with a lot of opinions. I’m sure his attitude has not changed. I’m sorry he is no longer a Seahawk, he was fun to watch.”

Not all the responses were pro-Sherman. There were were a few who accused Sherman of treason for signing with San Francisco. Then there were several who expressed the opinion that Sherman had worn out his welcome in Seattle, including former Seattle-area resident Helen Willis, now living in Prineville, Oregon:

“I liked Richard Sherman back in the Legion of Boom days. But then he started exhibiting signs of an exaggerated sense of self-importance, culminating when he thought he knew more than the coaches and went into a sideline temper tantrum, verbally attacking their coaching decisions. He continued to be a distraction and a know-it-all conceited blowhard. The Seahawks needed to get rid of him. Pete Carroll does not like disruptive influences in the locker room!

“I’m glad he’s doing well this season for the 49ers. However, I’m rooting for Kansas City to win the Super Bowl so we don’t have to listen to Richard gloat.”

Indeed, there was plenty of sentiment that was conflicted, with commenters on Twitter and Facebook saying they would root for Sherman personally, but cheer on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl. As Facebook user Tony Pederson said succinctly:

“Happy for him, but hope the 49ers lose.”

One of my favorite responses came from Everett’s Connie Klagge:

“As a certified athletic trainer who has rehabilitated a number of high-profile athletes over the past 40 years, I am thrilled to see Richard Sherman headed back to the Super Bowl. To watch Richard come back from what oftentimes is a career-ending injury and work hard to return to his former elite level of performance is nothing short of miraculous! It is what all of us in the sports medicine world work hard to help our players achieve. I wish him well.

“As for who I will root for? My prayer is the same before every game. ‘May no athlete suffer a significant injury, may everyone play to the best of their ability and the best team win.’”

Well put, Connie. Well put.

Follow Nick Patterson on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

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