Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
Did you catch the Seahawks game tonight against the ’49ers? Have you been paying attention to them the last few weeks? If you have you have seen the emergence of Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks as a top flight NFL team, capable of beating anyone and legitimately justifying any Super Bowl dreams Seahawk fans care to concoct. And to those of you who still harbor any doubts about Wilson being an NFL quarterback because of his relatively short stature (Wilson is just under 5’11” when the prototypical NFL QB is 6’3″ at least) , he is, I can assure you, the real deal! Before he is through with his career here in Seattle this kid will lead us to the Promised Land and possibly multiple times. He is that good.
I am not given to raving about professional athletes. When it comes to football my quarterback standards were set byyears of watching players like Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Sonny Jurgensen and Fran Tarkenton. Very few quarterbacks down through the years have measured up. Several, like Bret Favre, John Elway, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady come to mind over the last 30 years, which isn’t many. So, for a guy like me, what I see going on in the NFL right now is special. There are currently three rookie quarterbacks playing who are tearing up the league, something that has never occurred in a sport and a position with a heavy premium on experience. The 3 are Andrew Luck (Colts), Robert Griffin III (Redskins) and our own Wilson. With today’s games Luck has just passed for more yards than any rookie quarterback in history and has the Colts in the playoffs and Griffin has resurrected the Redskins, has them playing for the NFC East title next week against Dallas, is completing passes at a 66% clip and has thrown a grand total of 4 interceptions thus far this season while leading the league in QB rating. He has also rushed for 750 yards.
And then there is Russell Wilson. Over the last half of this season he leads the league in quarterback rating and has thrown 15 touchdowns against just 2 interceptions. He has 25 Touchdown passes this year and if he throws 2 more in next week’s final game he will have surpassed Peyton Manning’s rookie record for touchdowns in a season. With tonight’s blowout 42-13 victory over the 49ers he has the Seahawks on a 4 game winning streak, the last 3 by a combined score of 150-26. You have to go back into the 1940s to find an equivalent domination by one team across a 3 game period. And while the first two of these blow outs came against teams going nowhere this season (Arizona and Buffalo) tonight’s win at the “Clink” (Century Link Stadium) was against the NFC West leading San Francisco 49ers, the team that just last week had flown across country and beaten Tom Brady and the Patriots in their own house. In tonight’s game in rainy Seattle Wilson had 15 completions out of 21 attempts for 170 yards and 4 touchdowns. He ran the 49er defensive linemen ragged when he had to leave the pocket. There was one play in the second half in which he eluded at least 4 defensive linemen trying to sack him while running about 50 yards to gain 4 yards in the end. It was the best imitation of Fran Tarkenton I have seen since…well…the “Frantic Man” himself was driving opposing defenses nuts for the Vikings in the mid ’60s. He is also very accurate as a passer. He is completing nearly 2/3rds of his passes on the season and tonight made some passes into some very tight windows…Doug Baldwin’s 2 touchdowns come to mind. The second of these was a laser beam throw just beyond the defender’s reach into Baldwin’s hands; an amazing throw.
But there is something else about Russell Wilson. It is what football people call “intangibles”. The word “intangible” means “incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch…not having physical presence”. That definitely describes Wilson from what I have seen. He is buoyant, but not flamboyant. Things just have a tendency to go right around this kid. He lifts the people around him up. They become more confident and they play better around him. He is also unflappable under pressure and, according to his own description, makes a point of staying in the “now” and not worrying about what has just happened in the game, good or bad. A few days ago on ESPN I caught an interview with NFL analyst Mark Schlereth as he was talking about Wilson. Noting Wilson’s remarkable poise under pressure for one so young in the NFL, Schlereth referred to Wilson as “an old soul” implying that he had NFL wisdom beyond his NFL years. It was an apt description. The “intangible’ qualities possessed by Russell Wilson are the same qualities possessed by all truly great players in team sports and we in Seattle are very fortunate to have such a player as our Seahawk quarterback. Trust me…they don’t show up very often.
Wilson is even weaving his spell on jaded old Hawk fans like me, who have seen it all and had our hearts broken again and again. He has made football fun again and for the first time in a long time I can say with confidence… look out Promised Land (aka Super Bowl) …here come Russell Wilson and the Seahawks!