Apparently for Seahawks players their opinions of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady depend very much on whether they want to stop the New England offensive leader on Super Bowl Sunday or follow in his successful footsteps.
There's little question that Richard Sherman is the vocal leader of the Seattle defense and Legion of Boom secondary. There's also little question that Sherman doesn't seem to care for Brady and that distaste dates back to the Seahawks 24-23 comeback upset win over the Patriots in Seattle during the 2012 regular season.
That game led to the infamous postgame Twitter photo that Sherman sent out – and latter deleted – of the cornerback yelling in Brady's face with the, "You mad, bro?" caption.
That exchange helped to put Sherman on the map for many sports fans, but the talented defender with the big mouth says that Brady actually started the trash talking that day.
"He was pretty much saying that we were nobodies and that we should come up to him after they get the win," Sherman recalled this week.
He went on to describe how Brady's on-field character isn't always what the public perceives it to be.
"Like I said before, I think people sometimes get a skewed view of Tom Brady—that he's just a clean cut, does everything right, and never says a bad word to anyone, and we know him to be otherwise, but in that moment of him being himself, he said some things and we returned the favor," Sherman said. "Unfortunately he apparently didn't remember what he said."
As Brady and Sherman prepare to square off again, this time with a Super Bowl ring on the line and all the world watching, the cornerback was asked if he thinks the New England passer has him in his sights.
"I could care less—I hope so, gives me more opportunities to get the ball," Sherman said with his trademark arrogance. "He's had me in his sights before—it's fine."
Of course on the same day Sherman was comparing Brady's image to his on-field persona, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had nothing but praise for a guy the Seattle leader has been compared to thanks to similar early-career winning for the two Super Bowl champs.
Wilson is looking to claim his second Super Bowl ring in his third season as a starter, something Brady did, although it was actually his fourth year in the league. Wilson is also hoping to be the first quarterback since Brady (2003-04) to be able to lead his team to back-to-back Lombardi Trophies.
"He's the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, one of the greatest at least. I can't really comment on that," Wilson said of any comparisons with Brady. "I just think that maybe just being the underdogs, kind of people that were drafted later. He was drafted later than me. His ability to be clutch and his ability to be big time for them is the best thing that I see about Tom Brady. I can't even compare myself to that. I just think that he's as good as it gets and just watching him play the game of football is truly spectacular."
Regardless of their tone, both Wilson and Sherman will be looking to beat Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. One with respect and admiration for the New England quarterback, the other with a clear resentment for him.