The Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis beef is nothing new. They’ve gone back and forth before, but this time it was really in public view.
Long story short, Revis criticized Sherman for a couple of things, mainly hiding in zone coverage and not traveling with the best receiver and instead staying on one side of the field.
“Fear of getting beat in man to man coverage,” Revis tweeted. “Every snap every play. The fact that he doesn’t travel as a cornerback is lame. [Accept] the challenge as the best and shut Adams down the entire game. Do it for the game of football. Stop hiding a cover 3 zone.”
With it was a picture of Sherman getting beat by Davante Adams down the field.
Sherman fired back in a peculiar way, telling Revis, who’s now retired, to enjoy the Super Bowl from his couch, treating him like a player who’s team has been eliminated.
“I would go in on this has been but I have a Super Bowl to prepare for,” Sherman said. Enjoy the view from the couch. Your ninth year looked a lot different than this. Lmao.
They went back and forth a couple more times, with Revis pointing out that he led the league in turnovers in his ninth season and Sherman correcting Revis’ grammar and calling him “kid.” Ultimately, it culminated in Revis laying out his expectations for a top-flight cornerback, and calling out Sherman for not doing it.
“You’re balling in the postseason,” Revis tweeted. “Not taking anything from your play. As a corner we play best on best to challenge the #1 receiver, every snap, 4 quarters. Waiting for you to do the same.”
And that was pretty much it.
So, what did Sherman do while Revis was watching him from his couch? He got absolutely burned and became one of the main contributors to the 49ers fourth-quarter collapse. His most notable mistake came with under four minutes left in the game, getting beat deep by Sammy Watkins to set up what would be the game-winning touchdown.
Watkins, after the game, said he knew how to beat Sherman after watching Davante Adams beat him on the very same route in the NFC Championship game, the same play that Revis originally called out Sherman for.
Sammy Watkins gave Davante Adams a shoutout after the Super Bowl for serving as a cue on how to beat Richard Sherman. An illustration: pic.twitter.com/toETGlaLPi
— Joe Kipp (@JuhKipp) February 3, 2020
Revis wouldn’t even have been on Watkins that play. He would have been on Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs’ No. 1 threat. And if he was, he sure wouldn’t have let himself get beat on man coverage like Sherman.
And that’s the thing. No matter how good Sherman is, he doesn’t have the ability to shut down a top receiver the entire game. Unlike Revis, Sherman doesn’t follow the opposing team’s No. 1 guy around the entire game. Yes, you can say that’s because of defensive schemes and other factors, but being a shutdown corner on one sideline the entire game is just not as valuable as being a shutdown corner all over the field.
Revis’ 2009 season is the stuff of legends. It very well might be the best season a cornerback has ever had. In 16 games playing man coverage on the opposing team’s best receiver, he never allowed more than five receptions or 60 yards in a single game. He also only gave up three touchdowns all season while collecting five interceptions.
Those games included matchups with Randy Moss, who he faced twice and gave up a combined nine receptions for 55 yards and one touchdown, but also getting a pick. He got two games of Terrell Owens and shut him down, who even though he was nearing the end of his career still had over 800 receiving yards on the season. He also held pro-bowler Chad Ochocinco catchless in the final week of the season.
He shut down Andre Johnson, who led the league in receiving yards. He shut down Steve Smith in a year where he finished just 18 yards shy from 1,000, catching more passes than the receiver with two picks to his name and just one five-yard reception to Smith’s. Marques Colston had over 1,000 yards in 2009 but had just 33 against Revis. Reggie Wayne and Roddy White, two legendary receivers who both made the Pro Bowl and had over 1,100 yards in 2009, combined for five receptions and 49 yards against Revis (though the two combined for just six-plus quarters of action due to Wayne being taken out in the third, but still).
Sherman is still great at what he does, but he could never and can never do what Revis did in his prime. Revis was the epitome of a shutdown cornerback, challenging the best in the game and winning more times than not.
Sherman is still great, but if he wants to be the best in the league or one of the best ever, he can’t be a liability when he doesn’t have help over the top from a safety. He can’t stay on one side of the field and cover the No. 2 receiver while the No. 1 receiver goes at the No. 2 cornerback. Then he creates a liability.
Sherman is still great, but he’ll never be able to emulate Revis Island.
If you’re reading this online, take a look at this Instagram post from Revis a few months back, and you’ll see what Revis Island was. If not, go find his Instagram (@darrellerevis) and find his post from Jan. 1.
Revis Island was the ability to neutralize the opponent’s best player with just one defender. It was the ability to give the opponent’s best player an entire half of the field to get open and feel completely comfortable that they would not.
Call Revis arrogant for this post. Call him cocky. Call him vain. But when you’re right, you can say it.
Sherman got beat so badly in the Super Bowl that it cost the Niners a Lombardi. That Watkins play was far from the only one but it sure was the biggest.
Revis told Sherman to stop hiding in zone coverage. Sherman played man. Sherman got beat. End of story.