Richard Sherman can tell what play is coming when he watches other NFL games on TV
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman spent his Sunday like the rest of us, watching the Packers-Cowboys game.
Robert Klemko of MMQB watched the game with Sherman at his $2.3 million Seattle mansion and wrote a great article about it.
The main takeaway: Richard Sherman does not watch a football game like you and me.
He's constantly diagnoses concepts and play types, and identifies what's going on before it happens.
Here's how he describes the way he watches a game on TV:
"First I look at the offensive formation, and I try to guess if it’s run or pass, based on that and the down and distance. I’m looking at the route combinations if it’s a pass, and then the coverage from what I can see."
He said he can identify what play is coming on third down for the simple reason that most NFL teams run the same stuff all the time. From MMQB:
“If it’s third down,” Sherman says, “a lot of times you can look at the formation and know the play, especially if it’s a team you’ve played this season.”
How is that possible?
In short, NFL play-callers are boring. Sherman estimates about 26 teams run the same handful of plays on third down. Of the teams he’s played over the last two years, he can think of three that don’t: New England, Denver and New Orleans.
At one point during the game, Sherman jumped in the air and called out the play type before it happened, and then proceeded to diagram it for Klemko with pen and paper.
Before he became America's most famous trash talker during last year's playoffs, Sherman was well known in the NFL world for being an obsessive film watcher. In a 2013 NFL Network feature, Sherman said he watches film on his iPad in bed.
"My play study and my meticulous attention to detail is what makes me a good ball player," he said. "Some dudes play with pure athleticism. I'm not one of those guys."
That encyclopedic knowledge of his opponent's tendencies lets him quickly identify what's coming, and more often than not he stops it.