Although the San Francisco 49ers ended up beating the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, it wasn't a great day for Richard Sherman. During the 49ers' 36-26 win, Sherman was flagged three different times for pass interference, including a non-call on the field that was reversed to interference after a review, which almost never happens, as you've probably noticed if you've been watching the NFL at all this year.
After the game, Sherman made it pretty clear that he doesn't think it was a coincidence that he got penalized three times. When asked about the officiating, Sherman threw out quite the conspiracy theory: Apparently, the 49ers corner believes that NFL officials are out to get him due to the fact that he's a member of the NFLPA Executive Committee.
"I thought it was interesting, I thought it was really interesting," Sherman said of the interference calls, via the 49ers official website. "I had three penalties on the season coming into this game, and to get three and a half is really interesting, especially with the way that the reversals have gone, I think there's been probably over 100 PI challenges this year, and there's been five, I think, reversals, and I'm two of them. I think being an [executive committee] member and part of that committee has its perks, and then it has its conversations where you're the only one who gets overturned."
It's a strong accusation to make -- that NFL officials are out to get him -- and it's an accusation that will be hard to prove, especially considering that officials seemed to make the correct call on the most notable play, which was the interference reversal.
On a third-and-7 play from the 49ers 44-yard line, Kyler Murray threw a deep pass to Christian Kirk that fell incomplete. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury ended up challenging the call on the field, and after a review, the officials ruled that Sherman had interfered with Kirk. Sherman basically tackled Kirk before the ball arrived -- you can see the play here -- and if the 49ers corner is basing the brunt of his complaint on that play, it's hard to imagine the league office taking any sort of action.
Although officials did appear to make the correct call on the pass interference review, at least one person took Sherman's side. Former NFL coach Tony Dungy took issue with the fact that Sherman got penalized after a review in a season where the league officiating office had basically given up on overturning interference calls.
NFL Office just overturned a non Pass Interference call on Richard Sherman. After all the calls they’ve let stand today how can this one get reversed? I know I’m on a soap box but this is not fair to anyone.— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) November 17, 2019
After getting his complaint off his chest on Sunday, Sherman said that he's going to let the league office handle all the bad calls that were made and any potential punishment for the officiating crew.
"Let them deal with it later on, I'll let the league deal with it," Sherman said. "I know the way the system works with referees and how they get the playoffs, and how they have point systems, whether they got it right or got it wrong, so the league will make that decision and they'll tell them if they're right or wrong."
If there is an officiating conspiracy against Sherman, it's not something he's going to be thinking about going forward.
"It is what is, you deal with that in this league," Sherman said. "I've been here long enough, I've played long enough to understand they call the game like that sometimes, and you just have to overcome, you just have to keep playing, on to the next play."
Sherman's next play will come in Week 12 when the 49ers host the Packers on Sunday night. If NFL officials are out to get Sherman, the entire country is going to notice since the Packers-49ers game is being played in primetime.