And as I mentioned before, while the Seahawks won the game, they probably lost the Super Bowl because they lost Richard Sherman for the season to a ruptured Achilles. And considering Sherman was already on record as saying he didn’t like Thursday games – check that, hated – Thursday night games, rupturing his Achilles during one of them isn’t going to make him like than any more. This is the guy who once wrote a piece for The Player’s Tribune titled “Why I Hate Thursday Night Football.”
But if you were looking for him to be angry after last night’s game and after his injury, you were looking in the wrong place. In fact, if you saw him during the game, he was almost matter of fact about the injury as he hobbled around the sideline.
And at the postgame press conference, he was cracking jokes, like how he’ll now have “more time for the Tweeter” and how the lime green suit he was wearing was “a lot cooler before the game.”
As for the injury itself, he wasn’t surprised. It was something that he’s been dealing with since Week 5: “I knew what was happening. It has been bothering me all season. It was one of those things you just had to play through as long as you can, then when it goes, it goes.”
Think about that. That’s a guy talking about a ruptured Achilles, one of the worst injuries in sports. An injury that comes with a brutal rehab process and carries all sorts of risk that the player will never be the same again, and Sherman is talking about it like it’s a hangnail.
And that is yet another reason why NFL players are not like the rest of us. Practically every other person on the planet who knows they have a chance of tearing their Achilles is sitting on a couch for weeks at a time until it goes away. But Sherman was out there playing football.
So knowing that a season-ending and career-altering injury was a possibility, why was he suiting up every day? Because that’s what he does: “Because every game matters in this league, every game matters. You go out there and play for your teammates. Go out there and try to give them all you’ve got, because they deserve it. That’s what I did; I wanted to give my team the best chance to win. We were kind of beat up at corner anyway, didn’t want to put the young guys in a hard spot.”
He’s never missed a game in his NFL career and he wasn’t about to start, no matter what it might cost him personally. And even when he was injured and no doubt in a ton of physical and emotional pain, he stayed on the sideline, cheering his teammates.
Michael Bennett noticed that: “I think it shows to his character, his ability to put himself aside and be able to cheer for the team and he did that every second of the way, coaching guys up. That just shows who he is as a leader and who he is as a person.”
For all the jokes and the matter-of-fact approach that Sherman took to his injury, he did become emotional at the end of his press conference.
But while Sherman might not have expressed his anger, his teammates did, like Doug Baldwin: “Thursday night football should be illegal.” And “This bleep is not OK. You can quote me on that. It HAS to change.”
Bobby Wagner: “It’s extremely tough. You look at the game you see guys dropping down on both sides with serious injuries, minor injuries. We play a very physical game, physical sport. To play on Sunday and ask us to turn around and have our bodies OK on that Thursday is tough for us to do. I hope the league is watching and will look at it.”
I completely understand where Sherman’s teammates are coming from. They just watched their future Hall of Famer go down and most likely their season go with it on a Thursday night. Of course they want those games to go away. Of course, this is an issue. And of course, Sherman is right when he says it’s hypocritical for the league to say it’s concerned about player safety and then have players turn around and run it back in less than a week. And of course, it leads to an inferior product. And yes, too much of anything, even a good thing, is a bad thing. An oversaturation is an issue. Even in the NFL.
But you wonder if this will change anything. There’s a gigantic pile of jack at stake; with a chunk of it going to the players. And the players did agree to the package. And they only have to do it once a year. So you wonder if anyting really will change.
Will the players push back, say they’re not doing it and leave all that jack on the table? Per PFT it’s worth roughly $132K per player. Do they feel that strongly about it, that they’d walk away from that money? I’m skeptical. Especially since it’s just one game.
Then again, listen to the Seahawk players after last night and if it were up to them, you know they’d never play another Thursday night game. It’s going to be really interesting to see how this plays out. I like it. Even if the quality of play diminishes.
But I’m not the one paying the price physically. I’m not the one trying to recover from an NFL game just a few days earlier. I have a tremendous threshold for their pain.