Forget the “rant” by Seattle Seahawks defensive star Richard Sherman right at the end of Sunday’s championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. He was pumped up, in the game “zone,” he said. He was excited knowing he and his team were heading to the Super Bowl. And he’s only 25 years old. He’s been in pro football for three years, and he has since acknowledged that he may have stepped over the line.
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I saw it on the TV, but I had the sound muted so I didn’t hear what he said or how he said it until later. It was kind of crazy and weird, for sure. I hate to have to say it, but the better team won this time. The officiating, I thought, was deplorable both ways, but then it is sometimes. The call on the Bowman fumble recovery was beyond deplorable but as I said, most of the time I didn’t have the sound on so I didn’t know the explanation until I read it online the next day.
If you didn’t see the game or don’t care about football, you might as well have another latte and read something else. As deplorable as the officiating was on any number of calls, what really turned me off was our 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. Sherman’s rant can be understood as the exuberance of an excited young man with his first really big thrill of victory. Maybe he’s a jerk. I don’t know.
Harbaugh is not a young, inexperienced punk kid. He’s the middle-aged coach of a professional sports team, and if the players are expected to present themselves as role models to young athletes everywhere (which they are), so should their leader, in my view.
I just wanted to gag as I watched Harbaugh tear his hair and stomp and scream and rush back and forth along the sidelines, not just once but several times during the game. The longest focus on him was during the discussion of the Bowman fumble and the eventual ruling on the field. It was painful to watch him, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d had a coronary right there on the sidelines. He seemed to be nearly apoplectic.
If this is any example of the character-building nature of sports, I have to back up and say it’s not working for me. If I’d been watching the game with a young child or grandchild, I’d have had to say, “Don’t pay any attention to this guy, he’s just part of the commercial,” with my fingers crossed behind my back. It was like the worst of the films we see about nutty parents and coaches at Little League games, whatever the sport. The coach going ballistic over a play or a call by the referee or umpire, and with any luck, the kids blowing it off and getting on with the game — maybe they are there to play a game, have some fun and camaraderie; maybe it isn’t the end of the world to them like it appears to be to the coaches.
Listening to the Bay Area’s premier sports radio station KNBR the day after the game, or maybe it was the next day, one half of the Kruk and Kuip announcing team for the San Francisco Giants, Duane Kuiper, was commiserating with the radio hosts about Sunday’s game. “Wasn’t it awful, blah, blah, blah.”
But then he assured them there was an antidote, a cure for all the sadness and depression and discouragement that had settled in on Sunday after the big 49ers loss.
“What is it?” the radio hosts asked.
“Baseball,” Kuip said.
Oh yeah, a little over two months from now. I feel better already.
Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.