It’s rare when a quarterback that will start in his first Super Bowl is a total afterthought, however, that’s the current status of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
That status is justified, since Wilson will be opposed by Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Wilson is a second year player just navigating his way through the NFL, despite leading the Seahawks to the playoffs in his first two years. In contrast, Manning’s rookie year with the Indianapolis Colts in 1998 saw him throw 28 interceptions, leading the Colts to a 3-13 record that season. At the risk of sounding redundant, Manning has rebounded nicely since then. His legendary exploits during his illustrious career will all but assure his Hall of Fame induction when that time comes.
But I digress. Wilson isn’t even getting the lion’s share of publicity on his own team. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has that market cornered, which has garnered overwhelming sentiment across the country for the Broncos to defeat the Seahawks. In addition, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has been aloof with the press, choosing to let his play on the field do his talking. That’s commendable in my book, but it doesn’t provide the media with the sound bites they need to inform (and sometimes entertain) the masses. Lynch’s refusal to provide succinct answers to the media leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII has enhanced the Seahawks’ seemingly sinister Super Bowl profile.
The exploits of Sherman and Lynch aren’t alarming; the play of Wilson has been. Yes, Seattle has the opportunity to win their first Super Bowl title in franchise history, but it hasn’t been because of Wilson. He is a multidimensional quarterback that has shown proficiency as a ball carrier as well as a passer. Simply put, Wilson can makes plays when the ball is in his hands. However, he fumbled on the first play from scrimmage in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. He also had five carries for zero yards in the game. Yes, the Seahawks won, but this kind of performance isn’t going to get things done against a Broncos team that is hungry for the Super Bowl title that many thought they should have won after the 2012 season.
Maybe it’s best that Wilson remains an afterthought. He’s a low key guy that hasn’t garnered the accolades of other young quarterbacks like the 49ers’ Kaepernick, the Colts’ Andrew Luck or the Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III. Still, Wilson has the chance to defeat an all-time great in Manning and to deliver the city of Seattle their first major championship since the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics.
For that to happen, Wilson must play with poise in the pocket and run when he has to. Seattle doesn’t have the explosive offensive weapons that can match Denver’s offensive greatness. Lynch is a tough runner that has the power and speed to find the end zone every time he has the ball. However, that isn’t enough to overcome what the Broncos have on offense, which is why Wilson will have to exhibit ball security and not totally rely on his top ranked defense to bail the offense out.
If Wilson can keep his composure and keep turnovers to a bare minimum, the Seahawks have a chance to recognize their championship aspirations.