1: THE TIP
The best season in team history was suddenly on the brink when the 49ers drove quickly down the field in the final minutes with the Seahawks clinging to a 23-17 in the NFC title game.
Then, on first and 10 from the Seattle 18, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick lofted a pass to Michael Crabtree, being defended by Sherman in man coverage, and, well, as Sherman memorably put it: “When you try the best corner in the game with a mediocre receiver, that’s what happens. Game.’’
Sherman tipped the ball back in the direction of linebacker Malcolm Smith, who scooped it up for a game-ending interception.
“As soon as the ball went up in the air I knew we had a chance to make that play,’’ Sherman said. “We stood up when it counted.’’
2: "YOU MAD, BRO?"
Sherman’s youthful brashness and unapologetic brazenness came to define the Legion of Boom as it emerged into one of the best position groups in the NFL and one of the best in NFL history.
And while you can point to a few different moments as the true birth of the LOB, a 24-23 win against the Patriots on Oct. 14, 2012 stands out.
Sherman had an interception as the Seattle defense bent often but rarely broke, allowing Russell Wilson to lead a comeback from a 23-10 deficit with two touchdown passes in the final 7:21 that gave the Seahawks the lead.
When time finally ran out, Sherman asked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a question that needed no real answer: “You mad bro?’’
Brady would get his revenge a couple years later. But Sherman’s question that rainy Seattle day also made a statement that the Seahawks had arrived.
3: SHOELESS PICK SIX
Seattle’s run to the Super Bowl in 2013 may in retrospect feel as it if was almost destined to happen.
But there were plenty of nervous moments along the way, maybe most notably in the fourth game of the season, when the Seahawks fell behind Houston 20-3 at halftime.
Seattle still trailed 20-6 entering the fourth quarter before finally mounting a drive to cut the lead to 20-13 with just over seven minutes left.
But the Texans appeared on the verge of running out the clock, needing just another first down, as the approached a third-and-4 play at the Seattle 40.
Houston QB Matt Schaub then rolled left and threw back in the flat to his right to Owen Daniels. Only, Sherman — who along with the rest of the Seattle defense had been tipped off by coordinator Dan Quinn during film study that week to watch for such a play — got to there first. As Sherman grabbed the ball, he lost a shoe. No matter, he sprinted untouched with one shoe for a game-tying pick six.
“It might be the longest return without a shoe in the NFL,” Sherman said. “You got to check that.”
At that point, that Seattle would win in OT, ultimately prevailing 23-20, did indeed feel inevitable.
Sherman can turn even the most desultory of games into something memorable, as he did on Thanksgiving night in 2014 when he picked off two Kaepernick passes in a 19-3 win, then joined with Wilson for a post-game interview with NBC that included a couple of bites of a turkey leg.
Sure, NBC staged the whole thing. But Sherman in particular seemed more than happy to rub it in to the team that at that time was the Seahawks’ fiercest rival.
His second interception came in the fourth quarter, on a pass intended for Steve Johnson, essentially ended the game and came seconds after he had predicted to his teammates he had a big play coming.
“I told their sideline if they throw it my way, I’d end the game,” Sherman said. “And they threw it — still. Way to be, way to be.”
5: WITH ONE HAND
No moment may have been more appreciated by his teammates and coaches. Sherman, who had earlier been hit hard by Kam Chancellor as the two converged on a tackle, played most of the fourth quarter of the 2015 NFC Championship Game against the Packers with a hyperextended elbow.
Sherman would hold his elbow close to his chest the rest of the game as the Seahawks rallied for a 28-22 overtime win, at one point tackling receiver Jordy Nelson in open field on a third down that forced the Packers to settle for a field goal.
“I could not fully extend,” he said of the Super Bowl. “I couldn’t really jam with my left hand like I would regularly. I couldn’t really wrap up with two hands, throughout the end of the NFC championship, throughout the Super Bowl. But you find a way. You just run in there and throw your whole body in there and hope they fall.’’
“I don’t know how he played,’’ Carroll said after the game.