RENTON Pete Carroll was somewhat diplomatic discussing what the league told the Seahawks about key calls and no-calls that went against them last weekend in New Orleans.
Richard Sherman absolutely was not.
After all, he said at one point Thursday during another railing against the NFL, its officiating, its rules and what he again called its hypocrisy that “this is not politics.”
This was definitely not politically correct.
Sherman said the Seahawks heard back from the league on two pick plays by Saints wide receiver Willie Snead. Snead’s first down-field block of Seattle defensive back Jeremy Lane into the middle of the end zone cleared a path for New Orleans’ go-ahead touchdown on third and goal in the fourth quarter Sunday. The second block by Snead of Lane well beyond the 1-yard buffer zone along the line of scrimmage such blocking is legal resulted in the Saints’ key first down for 20 yards on third down, and their final points on a field goal in the final 2 minutes of Seattle’s 25-20 loss.
And, Sherman and teammate DeShawn Shead said of his penalty seemingly out of nowhere for defensive holding on third-down that extended a Saints drive to a field goal that the league apologized and said those calls and no-calls should have gone the Seahawks’ way.
“We probably lead the league in NFL apologies the next day,” Sherman said. “‘Oh, that was a pick route, that was a pick route. It should have been called. That should have been called. Yeah, it might have cost you the game, but...’”
The three-time All-Pro cornerback then shrugged.
“...‘so what. It’s too late now,’” he said they said.
“No, they said DeShawn Shead’s was some of the best coverage they’d seen and, no, that shouldn’t have been a flag. But now it’s a first down and it led to points on that drive.
“So you just go out there and try to play. You can’t control that. Obviously, nothing you can do about it.”
This, of course, isn’t the first time Sherman has gone off on the league. There was this skit with teammate Doug Baldwin last year mocking the hypocrisy of NFL media and advertising policies and customs. Sherman degrading commissioner Roger Goodell for doing a terrible job is a regular narrative, one he repeated Thursday.
In the minutes following Sunday’s loss at New Orleans, Sherman called the officiating “egregious.”
I asked Sherman on Thursday if he’s ever been fined by the NFL for what he’s said.
“No,” Sherman said.
Why not, in his estimation?
“This is basically reality TV,” he said. “I guess I'm good for ratings, probably.”
Sherman said “it’s funny. When it’s obvious like it was on Sunday it’s really funny to us. We have a good time with it, because fans can probably see. Sometimes it’s incidental. It’s small. It’s deceptive. Most people can’t catch it. But this game, it was so obvious when one of the worst-penalized teams in the league didn’t get a penalty -- other than an obvious false start that they didn’t want to call.”
Seattle had 11 penalties. New Orleans had two. The Saints entered averaging 7.5 flags per game, one of the league’s more flagged teams.
Sherman went on -- and on, till the break of dawn, as the old-school songs say. He talked about how “ridiculous” illegal-contact penalties on cover guys are when much of the time all a receiver has to do is initiate contact with a defensive back to draw a flag and automatic first down for the offense.
“(Receivers) can literally run into you at any point on the field (past 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage) and get that call,” Sherman said of illegal contract. “All you’ve got to do is initiate the contact. Fourth and 55, then you’ve got a first down.
“It makes it difficult to play defense, because now they know the rules and they can manipulate the rules -- and the refs see what they think they see.”
He said of the NFL’s crackdown on celebrations: “The league isn't fun anymore. This is a game. This isn't politics. ... Let players entertain.”
Even when I asked Sherman for potential reasons for the Seahawks being 15-3-1 in primetime games under Pete Carroll entering Monday night’s home game, Sherman circled back to the officiating.
He said the league doesn’t want the officials to control the outcomes of those games because there are “too many people watching in prime time. They don't want to make it obvious.”
Sherman, a member of the NFL Players’ Association’s executive council, said “perhaps” all his criticism of Goodell leads to the league having it out for the Seahawks. He said because Seattle has reached four consecutive postseasons and two of the last three Super Bowls, winning one, maybe the NFL is using slanted officiating to “balance” out that team success.
"But,” he said, “cheating is cheating.”
And railing is railing.