DENVER — How dare you, Richard Sherman?
How dare you rattle the status quo? How dare you ditch the clich? of the cookie-cutter athlete we are all so comfortable with?
How dare you be yourself?
The book on professional athletes says it quite clearly, sir: When pestered by media, the correct answer is "one game at a time." Or, "those guys get paid, too."
It's definitely not this: "Well, I'm the best corner in the game!"
How dare you.
Oh, and the Broncos send their thanks.
"A lot of people are talking," linebacker Danny Trevathan noted Monday.
They sure are. The Broncos and the Seahawks are on their way to Super Bowl XLVIII, and there's a whole lot of jibber-jabber going on.
Except for the one team that deserves to be talking. The one team that has been the NFL's best team for most of two seasons. The Broncos.
At their Dove Valley headquarters, mum's the word.
"You've got to come out here and you've got to perform," Trevathan said. "That's what it's about."
The chatter is coast to coast, from Seattle to Foxboro, a juicy preview for the first Super Bowl hosted in the world's largest media market.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick jibber-jabbered about Wes Welker. The Dark Lord of Foxboro said Welker made a "deliberate" attempt to injure cornerback Aqib Talib in Sunday's game. The Dark Lord skipped over the play where Patriots receiver Julian Edelman crunched Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie so hard his jersey read "DRC." The plays were almost identical.
The Broncos must love it.
"The thoughts and feelings of opposing coaches definitely don't bother me," Broncos tight end Julius Thomas said. "We're worried about what's happening this week."
Sherman jibber-jabbered about Sherman. The Seahawks star won't stop jibbering, or jabbering. It's refreshing, too, an athlete unafraid to speak his mind out of fear he'll lose a commercial.
Media obligations at the Super Bowl will take place on a boat in New York. Sherman's mouth is so big he might sink it.
Want to shut his yapper? Then beat him.
"He likes to have a little fun out there," Thomas said. "I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with that."
The Broncos must love it.
They did enough dumb things in the offseason. It's been all business since then.
Back in March, Von Miller guaranteed a Super Bowl. That's about it. And he was right.
"I haven't seen (Belichick's) comments," Broncos coach John Fox said.
Good one, coach.
"I don't feel that I can comment on that."
There's an irony to all the comments from elsewhere and the muzzle on the Broncos. Humming in the background of the noisy NFL playoffs, the Broncos' offense put opponents on blast. The defense, proclaimed the weak link, quietly thumped the Raiders, Texans, Chargers and Patriots.
"I think you want to be playing your best football. I think over the last couple of weeks, we have," Fox said. "We still have another two weeks."
A series of radio interviews with East Coast radio stations left me perplexed. Radio hosts were surprised at a prediction the Broncos would whip the Pats by double digits. What teams were they watching this season?
The Broncos are known for Manning and their powerful offense.
But it might be Trevathan who best exemplifies most of the roster. He mumbles slightly above a whisper. He's best known as the guy who dropped the football before he crossed the goal line in the opener against the Ravens.
"I promised those who were laughing at me, I'm going to make them suffer," he said.
Trevathan preferred to talk about his baby girl, Danoir Louise, born Nov. 14.
"She's helped me get myself together," he said.
But did you know Trevathan leads Denver in tackles?
"A lot of people were talking about us (in a negative light) in the regular season. Now that we're here, they want to say this and that. We're just going to continue to play our game. Let them talk."
There's been plenty of that, and the show hasn't arrived in New York yet.
Sherman is a prototype cornerback who doesn't fit the prototype for how a professional athlete is supposed to behave. There are enough robots in sports. I like that he's not.
So do the Broncos.
Sherman did the Broncos a favor. After the Broncos smacked Belichick and the Patriots in the AFC championship game, Sherman stole the spotlight and put it on himself.
Football's No. 1 team became Monday's No. 2 story. Just how the Broncos want it.