Love him or hate him, outspoken Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has been the talk of the town since last Sunday’s Super Bowl-clinching win over the San Francisco 49ers. And by “town,” we don’t just mean our Nordstrom HQ home here in Seattle—we mean every media outlet from Sports Illustrated to CNN, plus the millions-strong, rant-happy Twitter-sphere.
Keep reading to see why Sherman’s football IQ far exceeds his smack-talking skills—plus, read a Q&A with the co-founder of Strideline socks, our favorite way to rep Seattle pride.
Richard Sherman: Student of the Game. For anyone out there still doubting Sherman’s skills and strength of character, check out the video above, which shines a light not only on the difficult circumstances the Compton native and Stanford grad has surpassed to become, statistically speaking, the best in the game—but also the hard work he puts in off the field. When other pro athletes might be partying, Sherm is studying game film. It’s not by chance the star defender is in the right place at the right time to make those key interceptions—he breaks down plays before they happen, and outsmarts the best QBs and receivers in the league. Doing your homework pays off, kids.
More Sherman. We couldn’t resist showing you a few more Richard Sherman clips—the man is a human highlight reel. First is the now-infamous post-game interview with Erin Andrews from last week; while many anti-Sherman viewers assumed Andrews was terrified, she’s said herself that Sherman’s candid honesty was a reporter’s dream. Dig deeper and you’ll even find a clip of the two hugging beforehand. [Another great account of those post-game antics comes from Forbes.] Our other favorite vids are a pro-wrestling spoof, NFL commentators cracking up at Sherman’s thoughtful question to Tom Brady, and a Nike Flyknit ad in which the Seattle player appears alongside the likes of Kobe Bryant. Not bad.
While Richard Sherman is definitely up there, we’d be hard-pressed to choose a single favorite Seahawk. Here are a few more you should know about before heading into Super Bowl Sunday on February 2:
Russell Wilson: Seattle’s Sweetheart. By contrast, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson seems unequivocally like a strong candidate for nicest guy who’s ever lived. We’ve even heard from inside sources that he visits the kids at Seattle Children’s Hospital every week without fail. (See for yourself on Russ’s Instagram feed.) In the Levi’s clip above, he talks about lessons learned from his late father, and taking a huge chance by turning down a baseball career to pursue football instead.
Marshawn Lynch: Feed the Beast. When Seahawks fans say “Feed the Beast,” they mean give running back Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch the ball. And rightly so: The man is nearly unstoppable. He commonly continues in a forward direction, despite dragging multiple defenders clinging to his appendages for dear life. (Check out this breakdown of his legendary run against the Saints, for example.) But in truth, what the Beast is hungry for is Skittles. They’re like spinach to his Popeye. Rumor has it, he’s chewed the fruit-flavored candy between plays since he was a kid, when his mom would send him to practice with a pack. Today, they rain down from ecstatic Seattle fans in the stands.
Derrick Coleman: Overcoming All Odds. The guys above have overcome a lot to arrive at the biggest football game on the planet. But Seattle running back Derrick Coleman might have the most inspiring story of all. Deaf since age three, Coleman has been told all his life that he’d be unable to play a sport where hearing plays called—and opponents encroaching—is key. And yet here he is. The Duracell ad above sums it all up quite eloquently. If your heartstrings can withstand more tugging, check out the handwritten correspondence between Coleman and a nine-year-old fan, who also wears hearing aids.
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Alright, alright. By now you know who we’ll be rooting for at Super Bowl XLVIII. The only question that remains is, how best to show off your Seattle Seahawks pride? We caught up with Riley Goodman—co-founder of Strideline socks, originators of Seattle skyline-design hosiery—for a quick Q&A. (Seahawks like Golden Tate and Marshawn Lynch have been known to rock Stridelines on the field! But they’ll look just as sharp on you, sprawled out in front of your flat-screen with a hotwing in one hand and a Rainier in the other, come Super Bowl Sunday.)
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: How did Strideline get started?
STRIDELINE CO-FOUNDER RILEY GOODMAN: The other Strideline co-founder, Jake Director, and I used our high-school graduation money to place our first order of socks in 2009. We had always wanted to start a business together, ever since we were young kids riding the bus to elementary school. One night after a lacrosse game our senior year at Issaquah High School, we locked ourselves in my car and said we wouldn’t leave until we had an idea for a business to start. After some brainstorming, we came up with the realization that there was a demand for colorful athletic crew socks that wasn’t currently being met. We went online that night, found a sock manufacturer willing to make custom socks with the Seattle skyline on them, and the next morning, sent out all our graduation money through Western Union to a total stranger in Istanbul, Turkey. We then started taking our socks to local lacrosse and basketball tournaments to sell them, and have grown the company from there.
What inspired you to put Seattle on a sock?
We’re both from Seattle. We were inspired to put Seattle on a sock because at the time in 2009, no one had done it before, and we saw socks as an excellent way to express who you are and where you’re from.
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What are the characteristics of a killer sock?
Between Jake and I, we’ve been back and forth between Seattle and Asia 13 times last year, visiting manufacturers with the sole purpose of developing the highest-quality crew sock possible. We strive to produce a comfortable, durable, cutting-edge sock structure, coupled with colorful athletic designs to offer performance and style.
What are you guys doing currently? Are you still attending the University of Washington?
We are currently both still working toward getting our degrees from the Foster School of Business at UW, plus running Strideline full-time.
What would you be doing if you were not an aspiring sock-industry kingpin?
Starting a different company.
What is the ideal way to display your Stridelines within an outfit? Are they only for game day?
Strideline socks aren’t exclusively for game day, but they are built for performance. I can’t speak for everyone’s ideal outfit, seeing as Strideline socks are all about expressing your own individual look, but I can say that the most important element is matching your shoes with your socks. If you can match a fresh pair of Jordans with your Stridelines—you have style.
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What advice would you offer to people who aspire to do something difficult or unexpected?
To quote the great Russell Wilson: “Why not me? Why not us?” If someone else can do it, why can’t you? In this day and age, we have so many resources at our fingertips with the internet. For anything you want to learn, you can teach yourself, or you can find someone who’s willing to teach you.
How did your socks end up on the feet of guys like Golden Tate and Marshawn Lynch, and how does it feel to have such high-profile supporters? Any other favorite, notable Strideline wearers?
Every high-profile athlete who has worn Stridelines has taken their own initiative to do so. Marshawn Lynch chose to wear them against the Falcons in the semi’s last year on his own. We actually had no idea he was going to wear them. This year, Golden Tate approached us asking to wear Stridelines on Monday Night Football versus the Saints. Other trend-setters including Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller have also posted pictures of themselves wearing Stridelines completely organically. It’s incredibly rewarding to see these types of individuals choose to wear Stridelines over any other brand. It really makes all the hard work that we’ve put into creating a strong brand and a high-quality product well worth it.
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Now that your ankles are impeccably dressed, here are a few more ways to show Seahawks spirit.
(And yes, we do have Denver Broncos gear, too.)
[Intro photo by Otto Greule Jr./AP via The Washington Post. Sock montage and product images via @Strideline_Socks Instagram and Strideline.com.]