5 Things a Super Bowl 2014 Win Means for Russell Wilson
What Winning Super Bowl 2014 Means for Russell Wilson
A lot has and will continue to be said about what last night’s crushing Super Bowl defeat will mean for Peyton Manning’s legacy. Perhaps not as much will be said about what the victory means for Russell Wilson’s.
Wilson pretty much came out of nowhere two years ago. College football followers will remember him as a transfer from NC State who led Wisconsin to a victory in the first-ever Big Ten Championship game in 2011. He also set a single-season record at Wisconsin by passing for 33 touchdowns that year. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the third-round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Many were of the opinion that Wilson was actually better suited for baseball, especially given his smaller stature. He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles out of high school in 2007 and then later by the Colorado Rockies in 2010. He played for the Rockies’ minor league Class-A affiliates in both the summers of 2010 and ’11, but he ultimately informed the team that he’d be pursuing a career the NFL in January of 2012.
Seattle seemed to have the starting QB position locked up for 2012, having signed free agent Matt Flynn to a three-year, $20 million deal in March of that year. The Seahawks undoubtedly viewed Wilson as a backup until he wowed everyone in the preseason and won the starting job.
Now Wilson is a Super Bowl champion. What does this mean for him now? Here are five big things for starters.
5. Solidifies His Place Among Top-Tier NFL QBs
There are eight active NFL quarterbacks with at least one Super Bowl ring: Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Manning, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco and now Wilson. In his first two NFL seasons, Wilson posted a 100+ passer rating. The only other QBs to do that in the past two seasons are Rodgers and Peyton Manning.
There has been a lot of debate about where young QBs like Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III land on the spectrum of NFL QB talent. Wilson threw for 206 yards and a 72.0 percent completion rate in the Super Bowl win. He tossed two touchdowns, no picks and topped off the night with a 123.1 passer rating. If it hadn’t been for the absolutely punishing performance of the Seattle defense those numbers would’ve been good enough for Super Bowl MVP honors. One thing is certain – that ring puts Wilson in a class above the other youngsters.
4. More Endorsements
Due to the collectively-bargained rookie contract regulations, newly-crowned Super Bowl champion Wilson will make $662,434 next year. However, he should look forward to his most lucrative overall year yet thanks to the rise in marketability this win will surely give him. His jersey was already the second-best-seller in 2013 behind only Peyton Manning. He already has endorsement deals with Nike, Alaska Airlines, American Family Insurance, EA Sports and Levi’s, according to Forbes.
Super Bowl champion QBs are some of the most highly-sought-after product endorsers in the NFL. The Manning brothers, Brees, Rodgers and Brady are the only NFL players to make $5 million a year in off-the-field ventures. Wilson just joined a very profitable club.
Much was made of the QB matchup between the young dynamic signal-caller and the aging yet still phenomenal icon. Wilson himself told CBS This Morning of Manning following the victory, “He's one of the best quarterbacks -- if not the best quarterback -- to play the game," Wilson said. "You know, it's just truly an honor."
There is almost a 13-year age gap between the two, good for the largest difference between Super Bowl QBs in history. Wilson went toe-to-toe with Manning, and he did it looking like he had been there before.
2. Mobile Passers are Here to Stay
They say it’s not the size of the boat but the motion of the ocean. This certainly applies to Wilson. The 5-foot-11, 25-year old QB was drafted in the third-round after many thought he was too short to be a successful NFL QB.
But his motion, not his size, is what sets him apart. Unlike the legendary Manning, Wilson is mobile and feels comfortable moving around outside the pocket. He is a playmaker. Over the course of his two NFL regular seasons he has rushed for over 1,000 yards combined.
His team is run and defense-oriented, yet Wilson still managed to throw for over 200 yards a game this season and post a 101.2 passer rating. He rushed for 539 yards in 2013, the highest regular-season rushing total ever by a Super Bowl-winning QB. Wilson’s mobile and dynamic style is a perfect fit for Seattle’s scheme, yes, but it’s also not a fad. Mobile QBs are here to stay, and that’s even more evident now that one has won a Super Bowl.
1. His Leadership is Real
In his postgame press conference, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said of Wilson, “I think Russell stayed poised all year. He stayed poised in dire situations and he really matured throughout the year. If anybody deserves this, he deserves it as much as anybody out there.”
Wilson has done an incredible job of taking on a leadership role on this Seattle team without undermining the contributions of experienced players. He is humble, and he constantly strives to become more knowledgeable about the game. This intangible is just one of many things he has in common with other Super Bowl champion QBs.