Richard Sherman says 49ers, not Broncos, were the NFL’s second-best team

In a story on, Seattle Seahawks cornerback said the rival San Francisco 49ers — not the Denver Broncos, whom the Seahawks played in Super Bowl XLVIII — were the NFL's second-best team.

Here's the excerpt from the story from Robert Klemko, who spent the night observing Sherman after the Seahawks throttled the Broncos:

He hates to admit it, but says “the NFC Championship was the Super Bowl. The 49ers were the second-best team in the NFL.”

You can take that as more of a slap in the face of the Broncos than it is a cap nod to the 49ers. In talking with Seahawks DB coach Marquand Manuel, he and Sherman talked about how they were "playing chess, not checkers" in the Super Bowl and showed the level of scouting the Broncos took in order to try to beat the Seahawks.

“A good offense that has really studied film and really done its due diligence will see plays that other teams have had success with and install them as a surprise,” Sherman says. “Brandon Browner got beat in Arizona on posts from two outside receivers, and flats from the slot receivers. And they were the only team that ran it. Kam was the safety and he tried to undercut the post and they just banged it in there. Denver had never run it, and they put it in because of Arizona. That’s chess.”

Whatever the name of the game, the 49ers came within in a play of beating the Seahawks in their own stadium. The Broncos had no chance on a neutral site.

That doesn't mean Sherman necessarily likes the 49ers. Sherman's rivalry with 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree still burns, although Sherman said his attempt to shake Crabtree's hand was done out of respect.

“I know if I went up to Larry Fitzgerald in that situation,” Sherman says, “he’d have shaken my hand. It’s about respect.”

All it does is add another layer of intrigue to the NFL's best brewing rivalry.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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