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NFL AM: Sherman Fires Shots At NFL, Goodell

The Seahawks outspoken cornerback offers criticism but no answers, and which team will go worst to first.

Charlie Bernstein



Sherman Takes Shot At Goodell

Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman is one of the most outspoken and intelligent players the National Football League has ever seen.

He takes political stands, isn’t afraid to taunt opponents, and the reason he can talk of all his talk is because he walks the proverbial walk as well as anyone at his position (or any other) in the NFL.

The three-time First-Team All Pro has directed some comments at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has had a tough week after a story surfaced that the league and the NFL Players Association are working on a plan to remove Goodell of his disciplinary powers.

When asked about a potential rule that Goodell is trumpeting to eject players after a second personal foul or unsportsmanlike penalty, Sherman weighed in.

“I think it’s foolish, but it sounds like something somebody who’s never played the game would say, something they would suggest, because he doesn’t understand, he’s just a face, he’s just a suit. He’s never set foot on the field and understood how you can get a personal foul,” Sherman said.

It’s difficult to imagine that this rule would affect Sherman all that much, as he has recorded just six taunting, personal foul or unsportsmanlike penalties in his five-year career and has never had two in a game.

Is this Sherman talking for the sake of staying in the news, or taking a shot at Goodell because he can? Probably so.

He didn’t stop there as he took on the “catch rule” and why nobody can figure it out.

“Because you’ve got a bunch of suits doing it,” Sherman answered when asked about the catch rule. “You’ve got a bunch of guys who never played. They’ve probably touched a football to hold it out or to shake someone’s hand and take a picture but they’ve never played the game.”

It’s unclear whether you need to have played at a high level to really know what is best for the game.  I’m not a chef, but I know what tastes good.

If Sherman is so concerned on what a catch is, maybe he should offer some advice.  It’s one of these things that’s easy to criticize, but I challenge anyone, NFL player or not, to put on paper what a catch should be. Surely someone like Sherman who has a Stanford education would be able to do that.

Who Can Go Worst To First?

The NFL is allegedly a league of parity, and with that every fanbase (except Cleveland) has hope all throughout the offseason, and training camp.

Then reality hits and the same teams seemingly are contenders with the exception of a few others who are added to the list for a one- or two-year stint.

Let’s look at the last-place teams from 2015 and who can make a run to the postseason in 2016.

AFC East- Miami Dolphins

Miami shuffled the deck this offseason, hiring first-time head coach Adam Gase to get the most out of quarterback Ryan Tannehill.  They added defensive end Mario Williams and lost Olivier Vernon so it appears that the team is actually worse than they were a year ago.  That’s without taking into account they lost starting running back Lamar Miller.

Residing in a division with the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, the idea of the Dolphins make a leap to the postseason seems like a major long-shot.

AFC North- Cleveland Browns

As much of a long-shot as the Dolphins are, the Browns are an even bigger one.  Outside of Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio and Joe Haden, they don’t really have any players on their roster that would start on most teams.

Cleveland still has to figure out their quarterback situation and they lack playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Roethlisberger, Flacco, Dalton…McCown?  Which one of these is not like the other?

The Browns aren’t going anywhere near the postseason.

AFC South- Tennessee Titans

The Titans have a “puncher’s chance” of going from worst to first, but mostly based on the competition in their division, not because of their own roster.

Tennessee has had a solid offseason thus far, picking up a few underrated pieces like former Texans center Ben Jones, Dolphins wide receiver Rishard Matthews, and Steelers defensive back and linebacker Antwon Blake and Sean Spence.

Add in the top pick in April’s Draft and picking near the top in every other round and the Titans could really take a big step forward.

Still, they don’t have as many good players on their roster as the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars, and making that leap will be a task.

AFC West- San Diego Chargers

If you’re looking for your worst to first favorite, look no further than San Diego.  The Chargers offseason has been pretty close to brilliant, considering they haven’t broken the bank on any one player, yet significantly upgraded the team.

The idea of San Diego going from worst to first isn’t even about as much what they’ve done as it is what happened to the Denver Broncos.  The Super Bowl champs lost their quarterback and a pair of key defensive starters, and they enter 2016 with the very real prospect of Mark Sanchez starting at quarterback.

The Chargers have Philip Rivers, who is unquestionably the best signal caller in the division, and with a real deep threat in Travis Benjamin as well as the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, San Diego can make a big jump up.

NFC East- Dallas Cowboys

If the Chargers are the favorite to go from worst to first, the Cowboys are No. 1A.  Dallas’ season derailed after quarterback Tony Romo went down last year, and they were still competitive in their numerous losses.

You’d have to think that Romo would stay healthy in 2016, and if he is then Dallas is certainly as good, if not better than anyone in that division.

Sure, they will have to find a Greg Hardy replacement and a healthy running back, but with Romo and Dez Bryant all things are possible.

NFC North- Chicago Bears

The Bears were actually more competitive than many believed they would be last year, and they could take a step forward this year.

With that said, it’s difficult to imagine them leaping over all three teams in the division, as Minnesota has a nice young core and Green Bay still has Aaron Rodgers.

The Bears have added some key pieces on defense, and retained Alshon Jeffery, and if Jay Cutler can be productive then Chicago has an outside shot to make the Wildcard.

NFC South- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay has a legitimate shot to make a run this year after underachieving the last few seasons.  They have a legitimate quarterback in Jameis Winston and solid players on all three levels of their defense.

Worst to first doesn’t look like a real possibility due to the Carolina Panthers being in the South, but the Bucs can take a step toward the postseason if they get some injury luck.

New head coach Dirk Koetter signed former Falcons head coach Mike Smith to run the defense, and that is a massive upgrade over Lovie Smith last year.

NFC West- San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers upgraded (seemingly) at head coach with Chip Kelly (from Jim Tomsula), but they still have a roster with plenty of holes.

They will have to figure out what to do at quarterback and the answer will likely come in this April’s Draft.

No matter what they do, it’s likely going to be a third- or fourth-place finish for the 49ers in the NFC West.


Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.

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