NEWARK -- No less than 150 video cameras, cell phones and voice recorders captured all or parts of the things Richard Sherman said at Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday.
And he reveled in every minute of the spotlight inside the Prudential Center, and not in a "Look at me! Look at me!" sort of way. Heck, he even started a few minutes before the official clock started and went a few minutes beyond the bell.
"There's nobody here," Sherman opened with to the assembled horde of journalists and "journalists" that descend on media day.
But what followed for the next 65 minutes or show was outstanding theater -- and not in the way most Americans first came to know about Richard Sherman.
Sherman answered every question thrown at him with thoughtfulness and enthusiasm. His answers weren’t canned.
He worked every inch of his designated area, looking at each person asking a question and displaying engaging facial expressions.
At one point, he got up from his seat and gave an older woman in a Seahawks jersey a hug. Why? She asked. At another point, he sang parts of "Destiny's Child" songs with Michelle Williams, a member of the former group fronted by Beyonce. He landed a free XBox from the entertainment TV show that made the request.
Sherman wanted to be there just as much as the 5,000-plus credentialed media wanted to be there to hear him speak.
Would he go off the way he did on Fox two Sundays ago seconds after making the biggest play of his career as sending Seattle to the Super Bowl? Would the media gets its page-view inducing sound bite?
No and no.
But, if you really listened to what Sherman said -- both the words spoken as well as the meta conversation -- he was far better than could be expected.
“People think I’m just a loud-mouth, angry guy who just calls people out," Sherman said.
That was part of a discussion on misconceptions and not judging a book by its dreadlocked cover.
“I think that’s the biggest misconception,” Sherman said. “I think if people really took the time to get to know me and learn about me, they’d understand there’s more to me than that rant.”
Among the words used in association with Sherman since the NFC Championship Game was “thug” because America saw a football player in the heat of the moment be excited at reaching the pinnacle of his athletic career.
“The definition of a ‘thug’ is not what I am,” Sherman said.
Earlier, Sherman was asked if he thought race played an issue in the way he has been portrayed by the media and perceived by the public – a fairly deep question for Media Day.
“Race has played a role,” Sherman said. “And you really are taken aback understanding people had time to think about the comments they made."
Sherman had about 30 seconds or so. And his “15 minutes” has and should last far longer. He happens to be a very talented football player who, yes, also happens to have a communications degree from Stanford.
But talent alone didn’t stockpile the cameras at his table (see the photo he posted on his verified Twitter account @RSherman_25).
"I think I let somebody down when I got here the first day when I didn't go controversial,” he said. “Last week I felt like I regretted just attacking a man – attacking it and taking away from my teammates. You never want to talk down on a man to build yourself up and things like that. So I regretted that, and I regretted taking that attention away from my teammates. That’s the one thing that I wish I could do again.”
Sherman made it a point early, and again whenever possible, to downplay the attention he has received since two Sundays ago and instead make sure people know he has talented teammates. It’s quite possible that at Sherman’s media session, the name “Kam Chancellor” was said more than at the media session one table over for . . . Kam Chancellor.
“I really think these cameras should go to my teammates, especially after Bobby Wagner’s 15-tackle game in the NFC Championship, Kam Chancellor’s interception and multiple pass deflections and his 11 tackles, or Earl’s 11 tackles,” Sherman said. “I think that these cameras could be anywhere. They could be on all my teammates, and they deserve it.”
And, of course, there were the silly questions on fashion and beyond.
“[Seahawks safety] Earl Thomas is a fashion icon,” he said. “If he has green in his shoes, he'll have green in his shirt."
And his celebrity crush?
“I don't have a crush,” Sherman said. “I haven't participated in Women Crush Wednesdays and the Man Crush Mondays, but I'll work on it. ... I mean Beyonce's everybody's crush, that's the world's crush."
About the one question he couldn't answer was this one: "Do you have any advice for Justin Bieber?"
(Yes, folks, those words were spoken -- out loud and in that order – and aimed at eliciting a response from a professional football player six days prior to the biggest game of his life; welcome to media day and "journalists.")
Sherman laughed and took it all in stride.
He paused for a moment to regain his composure and said, "I don't. I don't."
Those were the quirky questions. With the deeper questions, and even the general football questions, Sherman had answers, too. And a passion for delivering them.