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10 Reasons Why Richard Sherman Is Already a Super Bowl Star | Advertising Age

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Here are 10 reasons why Mr. Sherman is emerging as the breakout marketing star of Super Bowl XLVIII:

HE'S A RISING AD STAR: The Stanford grad knows how to turn up the volume when the red TV lights come on. Nike and Beats by Dr. Dre were smart enough to cast the third-year pro in national TV spots -- and run them during Fox's telecast of the Seahawks' NFC Championship Game win over the 49ers Sunday. The Beats by Dr. Dre spot presciently foretold the Twitter storm over Mr. Sherman by having a faux reporter ask him about his alleged "thug" reputation. Naturally, execs at Beats by Dr. Dre were all smiles after their endorser dominated coverage Sunday night. "We know him, so no one was surprised," said Omar Johnson, exec VP-global branding. "For us, it was just like, 'That's Richard.' Because our spot was so authentic to him, in the heat of that moment, he kind of replayed our spot on live TV."

HE'S A GREAT VILLAIN: Every drama needs a villain. With his on-air trashing of Mr. Crabtree as "sorry" competition, Mr. Sherman came off like a pro wrestling heel on par with Rowdy Roddy Piper or Ric Flair. Never mind that he later profusely apologized for taking attention away from teammates after their win against the defending NFC champs. He's the bad guy to Mr. Manning's good guy. There's already a billboard in Denver trolling him for having "No Class" as opposed to Broncos defensive back Champ Bailey.

HE'S GOT A GREAT BACK STORY: People who know Mr. Sherman personally will tell you he's bright, articulate and a great guy off the field. He helps kids and schools. He's an underdog who grew up in crime-ridden Compton, Calif., where the choice often seems to be between gangs or jail. Mr. Sherman chose education, and that's what he tells kids in schools, said Mr. Fritz. He studies game film 30 or 40 hours a week. He's got a memory like a computer. Put it all together, and Madison Avenue can portray him as either a Good, Bad Guy or Bad, Good Guy. That's better than a one-dimensional personality.

HE'S GOT SWAGGER: Who do you think Madison Avenue's more intrigued by? Humble, devout Seahawks QB Russell Wilson? Or the swaggering Mr. Sherman? It's no contest. With the exception of Mr. Manning, he's the most marketable player heading into the Big Game. Despite unsportsmanlike antics (such as flashing a choke sign at fellow Beats by Dr. Dre endorser Mr. Kaepernick) that drive middle-aged sportswriters to apoplexy, Mr. Sherman seemingly can do no wrong with his sponsors. "Whatever Richard meant by it, we love it all," said Beats' Mr. Johnson, about the choke sign that drew a penalty flag and could generate a fine by the league.

HE'S MEDIA-SAVVY: Rather than let Twitter label him a thug, Mr. Sherman shrewdly usedSports Illustrated's to explain himself on Monday. In a piece called "To Those Who Would Call Me a Thug or Worse," Mr. Sherman explained he had an ongoing beef with Mr. Crabtree that went back to the off-season. His post-game tirade was part-adrenalin-fueled, part personal dislike. "It was loud, it was in the moment, and it was just a small part of the person I am. I don't want to be a villain, because I'm not a villainous person," he wrote. Driven by Mr. Sherman, SI Digital posted its highest-traffic day ever with more than 4.3 million unique visitors, according to Omniture.

HE FILLS THE MEDIA VOID: A record number of media are credentialed to cover Super Bowl XLVIII. This needy, grasping horde desperately needs something to write about during the off week. The outspoken Mr. Sherman fits the bill. As SportsBusiness Daily noted, the emerging media meme is already Mr. Sherman (not Mr. Wilson) vs. Mr. Manning. "The Super Bowl is heading to the media capital of the world, where Sherman will no doubt be positioned as the yang to Peyton Manning's yin," said ESPN anchor Stan Verrett.

HES GOT FOX ATTITUDE: Fox prides itself on having "attitude." Which makes Mr. Sherman the perfect guy for the network's upcoming Super Bowl coverage. It's no coincidence Fox conducted multiple post-game interviews with him Sunday. The shutdown cornerback will be featured in a piece about the tough Seahawks defense during Fox's four-hour Super Bowl Sunday pregame show, said spokesman Lou D'Ermilio. And yes, he'll be interviewed again by Ms. Andrews, the network's star sideline reporter, who tweeted she loved his "emotion" Sunday.

HE CONFRONTED TOM BRADY: Like all social media mavens, Mr. Sherman knows he has to punch upward, not downward, in his feuds. The national media first took notice of him when he boldly chased down and taunted three-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady after the Seahawks came from behind to beat the Patriots in 2012. Mr. Sherman then mocked Mr. Bradyby tweeting a picture showing him jawing at the Pats QB with the caption: "U Mad Bro?" Despite Mr. Fritz's objections, Mr. Sherman's media clout went up higher when he went on TV to debate ESPN bomb-thrower Skip Bayless.

HE SELLS PRODUCT: Mr. Sherman ranks as the only defensive player among the Top 10 best-selling player jerseys at this season, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN. His No. 25 jersey has risen several notches since the Seahawks began their post-season run to their second Super Bowl.

HE MAY BE A MARKETING GENIUS: Mr Sherman's post-game rant "was a well-thought out and smart move on his part," said Lee Teller, exec VP-sports and sponsorships for Matter, a New York-based sports-marketing firm that is part of Edelman. "He's inserted himself into the conversation around the Super Bowl in a big way. Otherwise all we would be talking about was Peyton Manning and New York and the weather."

That's amazing. I wonder if he did this all by instinct or had someone great guiding him.

Maybe it's just that perfectly timed impulsivity paid off.

I do love the concept of "Bad Good Guy".

I wonder who the other top player jerseys are. Manning, Kaepernick, Brady, and who else?

Wilson, Peterson.  Insert Sherman/Wilson meme here.

richard sherman russell wilson

"He fills the media void", this really hit me.  What would we even be talking about after the game, let alone 4 days later without him?  He's pumped up the focus on the NFL, the Seahawks, Broncos, and The Superbowl.

In retrospect it seems like he had a plan all along.

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