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Richard Sherman on Darrelle Revis: 'Numbers don't lie'

By Brady Henderson

You had to figure that Wednesday's entertaining war of words between All-Pro cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis wasn't going to end with the last tweet.

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Richard Sherman thinks his last season better than any on the resume of fellow All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, a six-year NFL veteran. (AP)
Considering Sherman's propensity for talking and refusal to back down, how could it?

"I respect him as a player, but I'm not going to just take disrespect without a reaction," Sherman told "NFL32" on Wednesday. "Guy disrespects you like that, then it's time to put him in his place."

The way Sherman sees it, Revis doesn't have a place among the league's top cornerbacks because he missed all but two games last season with a knee injury. The cornerbacks' feud began Wednesday when Sherman expressed that opinion to a Twitter follower who asked why Sherman excluded Revis from his list.

Revis took offense, tweeting that he's "never seen a man before run his mouth so much like [a] girl," which ignited the back and forth.

The omission, Sherman said, wasn't meant to disparage Revis. But when his Jets counterpart went into attack mode, Sherman fired back, suggesting that his second season was better than any from Revis' six-year career.

"It's not a comparison," Sherman told ESPN. "He can say whatever he wants. But women lie, men lie, numbers don't lie."

Let's take a look, starting with each player's career stats. Keep in mind that Revis entered the league in 2007, four years before Sherman:

Interceptions: Revis 19, Sherman 12
Passes defensed: Revis 98, Sherman 41
Touchdowns: Revis 3, Sherman 1
Forced fumbles: Revis 3, Sherman 4
Sacks: Revis 1, Sherman 1
Tackles: Revis 294, Sherman 119

Using those stats and some advanced mathematics, we can come up with Revis' and Sherman's per-season averages:

Interceptions: Revis 3.16, Sherman 6
Passes defensed: Revis 16.33, Sherman 20.5
Touchdowns: Revis .5, Sherman .5
Forced fumbles: Revis .5, Sherman 2
Sacks: Revis .16, Sherman .5
Tackles: Revis 49, Sherman 59.5

Revis was the AFC's defensive player of the year in 2009, when he set career highs in interceptions and passes defensed. Statistically speaking, that was his best season. Sherman was an ALL-Pro in 2012. Here's how their best seasons compare:

Interceptions: Revis 6, Sherman 8
Passes defensed: Revis 31, Sherman 24
Touchdowns: Revis 1, Sherman 1
Forced fumbles: Revis 0, Sherman 3
Sacks: Revis 0, Sherman 1
Tackles: Revis 54, Sherman 64

The NFL Network -- Sherman was a guest on "NFL AM" Thursday -- ran a graphic showing some of their stats through their first 26 starts (not all of the above stats were included). Here's how it looked:

Interceptions: Revis 7, Sherman 12
Touchdowns: Revis 1, Sherman 1
Fumbles recoveries: Revis 2, Sherman 1
Sacks: Revis 1, Sherman 1
Tackles: Revis 121, Sherman 108

This affirms Sherman's contention that his statistics compare favorably to those of Revis.

Numbers, though, aren't always the best measure of a cornerback's impact. Tackles, interceptions and passes defensed can be difficult stats from which to draw conclusions about a cornerback's effectiveness. Quarterbacks tend to avoid throwing in the direction of the best cornerbacks, leaving those cornerbacks with fewer chances to compile those stats.

In Revis' case, he had earned the reputation as the league's top cornerback not only on his stats but also his ability to shut down opposing teams' best receivers.

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