SANTA CLARA -- 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, famously known for the chip on his shoulder, is no longer is just carrying it for himself, but for teammates who feel they have been underestimated outside of their building.
Being a “fake undefeated team” was mentioned by several 49ers before their dominant 31-3 win over the Cleveland Browns on Monday night. Even after San Francisco's statement in prime time, the players predicted the doubt will continue.
Sherman wants those doubters to hold their stance so he can have the last laugh. After the 49ers' win, the nine-year veteran delivered a sermon about proving the naysayers wrong and not letting them on the bandwagon.
“You want idiots to sound like idiots but you want them to hold their position the whole year,” Sherman said Monday. “Like don’t flip-flop with us. If you said we weren’t going to make it, if you said we were some way early on, stick with that position. Hold it.
“Don’t try to give us credit now. just stick. If you had us ranked 25, keep us ranked 25. If you had us going home early, if you had us going three-and-whatever, have us going three-and-whatever.
“You know what I mean? At least stick by your word because I want you sounding like an idiot at the end.”
Football pundits still likely will doubt the 49ers, who only have won 14 games over the last three seasons. Those opinions seem to motivate not just Sherman, but the entirety of the a team that, through four games, has outscored opponents by 70 points and outgained them by 679 yards.
Why the doubt? What once seemed like a very challenging beginning of the 2019 schedule now looks much weaker. The 49ers' first four opponents currently have combined for only five wins.
A win over the 3-2 Los Angeles Rams -- the reigning NFC champions -- on Sunday could help the 49ers' case for legitimacy. But maybe they don't need it.
This locker room seems to be enjoying their underdog status and the bulletin-board material it provides. They have a quiet confidence that seems to be working well.
Sherman added that comes from the 49ers focusing on themselves, rather than their opponent's record. He said they weren't concerned about the Browns' preseason hype coming into Monday,
"Any given Sunday, any given Monday, I guess," Sherman said. "You don't let the quality of opponent -- or any of that -- dictate how you play. We weren't worried about who we were playing. We were worried about our game and how we could execute."
Sherman and the 49ers have their work cut out for them against their division rivals in LA. They'll head east to Washington the following week to play a team that could be revitalized after changing coaches, and then the 49ers' reward returning home in Week 8 is trying to stop Christian McCaffrey and the Carolina Panthers.
At some point, a win will give these young, upstart 49ers some respect.