Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman believes chemistry will help 49ers in Super Bowl LIV

Richard Sherman believes chemistry will help 49ers in Super Bowl LIV

SANTA CLARA — All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman has taken part in 14 playoff games and two Super Bowls, but he believes that those experiences are overrated as an asset, whereas team chemistry is not. 

Many 49ers players have been influenced by Sherman’s leadership and character. Watching him interact in the locker room is akin to mayor working the room but without the negative connotations. He talks to everyone, offense, defense and special teams alike. 

While Sherman’s play on the field speaks for itself, coach Kyle Shanahan believes that what he represents in the locker that might be just as important. 

“I think he's meant a ton,” Shanahan said. “You can probably ask each guy and probably get a different answer. He's helped us the most by how he's played, but also having a guy that's been there and done that, especially having a young team.

“When you have a guy who guys have grown up watching a little bit, and being in big games like this and even starting out the year 8-0, going through that, and having guys who have kind of been at the top of the league halfway through, echo how tough it's going to be to keep that going. 

“Any time you have guys with experience who have been through it who are also one of your better players, it helps a ton.”

Someone who appreciates Sherman’s open door attitude is fellow All-Pro George Kittle.  

“Sherm's the best. He's such a leader," Kittle said. "He talks to every single person in the locker room. He's not one of those guys that sits in his locker space and just talks to guys around him. He's always around. 

“He wants to talk to everybody and he doesn't really force knowledge on you. He's definitely an open book. If you have questions for him, he'll sit and talk football with you all day. That's one thing that's incredible about him.” 

[RELATED: Jimmy G, Sherman using criticism as fuel]

The elements that Sherman believes are evident in most championship teams are what he sees in the 49ers' locker room. While it’s likely unintentional, his influence on the team's chemistry is part of what makes it so special. 

“Great players, great execution, great coaching and poise,” Sherman said. “There’s a sense of brotherhood for sure in the building. There's a trust in one another. There's a bit of adversity, you know, overcoming adversity throughout the season, and we've had all those ingredients. Then it's just guys that play hard for one another. They won't take no for an answer.”

49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo using outside criticism as Super Bowl 54 fuel

49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo using outside criticism as Super Bowl 54 fuel

SANTA CLARA — Richard Sherman is known for calling out critics on social media, his recent “discussion” with Darrelle Revis on Twitter being a perfect case in point. 

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, on the other hand, seems unfazed by critics but claims he does have similarities to the way the veteran cornerback finds his drive. 

“Yeah, Sherm, everyone has different ways to get motivated, and very similar to Sherm I do the same thing,” Garoppolo said. “I hear all the stuff and everything, but you can't put that all out there all the time. You have to do with it what you will and take it for what it is. Just at the end of the day you've got to go out there and play football.”

There might be outside noise about Garoppolo’s ability to rack up numbers on the stat sheet but he actually had a very productive regular season, throwing for 3,978 yards. That number ranks him fourth in passing yards for a single season in franchise history behind Jeff Garcia (2000: 4,278 yards) and Steve Young (1998: 4,170 and 1993: 4,023) 

Veteran left tackle Joe Staley was a little surprised that Garoppolo even pays attention to the criticism. 

“If he says he sees it, he doesn't show it,” Staley said. “He’s been the same exact person since he's been in here. He prepares the exact same way. We have the utmost confidence in him to do whatever needs to be done. We’ve had plenty of games this season where we've really had to lean on him heavily to win the games for us and he's come through every single time.” 

“I think that's a storyline because we didn't throw the ball obviously the last game, but we didn't need to. I think that's also a strength of Kyle is that he's going to do whatever it takes to win the game and whatever he feels is working the best is what we're going to do.”

In the 49ers' two postseason wins, Garoppolo has only thrown 27 pass attempts, completing 17 for 208 yards and one touchdown. His eight pass attempts in the NFC Championship Game was his lowest total of the season. In contrast, the run game has been highly productive with 47 attempts for 186 yards in the divisional win over the Vikings and 42 attempts for 285 yards in the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. 

Garoppolo has been productive when his number has been called this season. He completed 34 of his 45 attempts for 424 yards and four touchdowns in Week 11 during San Francisco's 36-26 win over the Cardinals. 

Jimmy G's most memorable performance of 2019 might be the team’s 48-46 Week 14 win over the Saints in New Orleans. He connected on 26 of his 35 attempts for 349 yards and four touchdowns in the hostile environment that is the New Orleans Superdome.  

Staley doesn’t understand the criticism of his quarterback and in fact appreciates his attitude, remarking that it’s a reflection of the locker room. The whole team knows that if the run game is working, they are going to stick with it. 

“That doesn't fall on Jim's shoulders at all,” Staley said. “It's a complete team effort and I think that's another example of this team being very selfless in what we're doing is that you have the quarterback could care less if he throws 500 yards or if he throws for 10. He just wants to win the game and the whole entire team is like that.”

[RELATED: Juszczyk's versatility brings juice to 49ers' run game]

Garoppolo claims his reaction to hearing the outside criticism has been the same since he was young. 

“I don't know,” Garoppolo said. “I think maybe having two older brothers, you say too much, you keep your mouth shut a little bit. Just, I don't know. I think it just comes for me naturally, how I am.”

Richard Sherman doubts he'll visit White House if 49ers win Super Bowl

Richard Sherman doubts he'll visit White House if 49ers win Super Bowl

The question is inevitable in today's political climate, especially to someone as socially conscious as Richard Sherman.

With the 49ers heading to Super Bowl LIV to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2, will they be making a celebratory trip to visit the White House and President Donald Trump if they are victorious?  Will they even be invited? Will they be invited and then uninvited ala the 2017 Warriors? Or given the total cold shoulder like the 2018 Dubs?

If the 49ers are victorious and receive an invite, Sherman doesn't sound like he'll be RSVPing.

"I haven't thought about it. We've got a long way between now and then, but I doubt it," Sherman told The San Francisco Chronicle's Scott Ostler. 

Sherman did visit the White House and President Barack Obama after the Seattle Seahawks won the title in 2014.

Last year, the New England Patriots did not visit the White House after their Super Bowl victory, while the Philadelphia Eagles had their invitation revoked in 2018 after it was leaked that very few members of the team would be attending. The Patriots visited in 2017, although Tom Brady did not attend in order to spend time with his mother who was battling cancer.

LSU just visited the White House fresh off their national title win over Clemson. Dabo Swinney's Tigers made the voyage to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue last year after beating Alabama in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Levi's Stadium.

[RELATED: Chiefs have high praise for Kittle, 49ers' run game]

The 49ers have been dominant during the playoffs, thumping both the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers by 17 points. Now, they face the daunting task of trying to stop reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, although it's one they seem to be well suited for

However, if they are unable to stop Mahomes then they won't have to worry about whether or not to they should make the trip to D.C.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).