By Mitch Chortkoff
The Super Bowl game was decided early as Seattle humiliated Denver.
But the controversy surrounding Richard Sherman will linger for awhile. This was the featured sub-plot of pro football's biggest game.
Is Sherman a jerk, as he appeared to be two weeks earlier in a classless interview following the Seahawks' victory over the San Francisco 49ers?
Or is he a bright guy as appeared to be the case when he earned straight A's at Dominguez High in Compton and went on to classroom success at Stanford?
The Richard Sherman we saw on television degrading the ability of 49er receiver Michael Crabtree wasn't a pleasant individual.
But a calmer, more thoughtful Richard Sherman who talked following the Super Bowl win was someone I like a lot better.
He had embraced the advice of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who had a long talk with his star cornerback following the earlier interview.
"I learned that you don't talk that way about a player right after a game," said Sherman. "I learned. We all learn from the events in our life."
So we go on to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks have crushed the Broncos and Peyton Manning would appear to be Sherman's next target.
The Seahawks' heralded defense had dominated the Broncos' quarterback who had thrown 55 touchdown passes this season.
But Sherman, who had to leave the Super Bowl game with an ankle injury, saw Manning after the game.
Manning tapped him on the shoulder. Sherman turned around and was surprised to see it was Manning.
"He asked about my injury. He was really concerned," said Sherman. "He's the classiest player/person I've ever met."
Sherman also urged fans criticizing Manning's Super Bowl performance to let up because Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
This Super Bowl also taught people a lot about racial stereotyping.
Calmly, not raging, Sherman discussed the subject early in Super Bowl week sessions with the media.
He had come a long way from his Compton days. It was no fluke he got into Stanford. His grades were excellent. Bur he was a big, intimidating person who spoke his mind. And also a black man. Some people were offended and rushed to judgment.
He probably could have done better without behaving in a way that led some people to call him a thug. But by the time he arrived in New York for the Super Bowl he had grown up a lot in a couple of weeks.
In his interviews Monday he praised many of his teammates, especially the ones who hadn't been high draft choices.
It was all about the team, not about him, and that's another reason why I like him a lot better.