Richard Sherman's mother knows best when it comes to her son's supreme confidence, on display in full force at the end of Sunday's NFC title game. Beverly Sherman said he likely got some of those traits from her.
But even she can't say what her son will do next as the Seattle Seahawks star defensive back enjoys the spotlight in the run-up to the Super Bowl. It's a spotlight that turned on him at the end of the NFC Championship game when he made a spectacular play to help seal the victory -- then taunted an opposing wide receiver and provided a lively post-game interview.
"I don't know what's going through my son's head when it comes to what he's going to say or do," said Beverly Sherman at her family's Southern California home. "He's a pretty smart kid. He knows the consequences of the things he does and says.
"He's very confident, strong-willed -- some of that he might have gotten from his mother. The apples don't fall far from the tree."
As for the backlash regarding her son?
"It does hurt a little, but a lot of times he's misunderstood," she said.
Sherman excelled on the field and in the classroom at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., where coach Keith Donerson saw the same intensity and passion that was on display at the end of Sunday's game against the rival San Francisco 49ers.
Sherman gave 49ers wide receive Michael Crabtree a pat on the backside, got shoved in the face and made a choke sign toward the San Francisco bench after making a play that sealed a Seahawks trip to the Super Bowl.
"Trash talking was part of our game," said Donerson. "We practice at a high tempo. Practice was very competitive. They'd go after each other all day.
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"It was like a playground basketball style. We call it getting into the guy's head. If he talks back -- now you've got him out of his game."
The 49ers rarely threw to receivers Sherman was defending Sunday, meaning most of San Francisco's pass plays were in the direction of receivers covered by other Seahawks defensive backs. But San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick had to make a play, and with time winding down in the fourth quarter he floated a ball intended for Crabtree -- shadowed by Sherman -- in the back of the end zone.
Sherman extended in the air to deflect the ball to a teammate for an interception.
The ensuing end zone confrontation with Crabtree was just the start of the Sherman show. During his post-game interview with FOX's Erin Andrews, he shouted, "I'm the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you gonna get. Don't you ever talk about me."
There's a method to Sherman's "madness," said Donerson.
"If he had it to do all over again, he might have done it different," Donerson said. "It's to create attention. Now you have to interview him, now you see how intelligent he is."
Fans will likely get to know Sherman much better when media day interviews begin the week before his Seahawks take on the AFC Champion Denver Broncos Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. His father said his son knows how to handle the attention.
"He'll handle it fine," said Kevin Sherman. "He understands, he knows what's coming. He's very aware of it."
A day after the outburst, Sherman wrote a column for Sports Illustrated's TheMMQB.com defending his remarks to Fox Sports sideline reporter Erin Andrews.