January 10, 2013
On the Eve of the Supernova
The Seattle Seahawks have toiled in obscurity for nearly forty years, bedeviled by mediocrity and geographical isolation. Sure, we've had great players and great seasons, but none of our great players became national superstars, and none of our squads have captured the national imagination. We got a taste of having a "famous" player with Brian Bosworth in the late 1980s, but his litany of shoulder injuries made him nothing more than a weird footnote in both pop culture and the annals of pro football. The 2005 team? They made it to the Super Bowl (and boasted the NFL MVP in Shaun Alexander), but were completely overshadowed by the circus surrounding Jerome Bettis and the Steelers.
I'm like plenty of other Seahawks fans in that I love to sing the praises of Seattle greats who never got the recognition they deserved because they played in "South Alaska." Dave Krieg was one of the best QBs of the 1980s! Kenny Easley should be in the Hall of Fame! Our Curt Warner was pretty awesome too! Lofa Tatupu should have been DROY! And so on... It's familiar for us to righteously wail about the benign neglect (and sometimes blatant hostility) shown towards the Seahawks by the national media, and on a certain level it's as comforting as it is aggravating. If you're a hard-core Twelve like me, there's a certain appeal to rooting for an obscure team that the uninformed, unwashed masses don't know FUCK ALL about. For a long time, rooting for the Seahawks has been a little bit like being obsessed with Firefly and singing the praises of Joss Whedon to anyone who would listen... or getting into Nirvana after hearing Bleach. That whole vibe? It's about to die. It's about to go away forever.
The Avengers is about to come out. Nevermind is about to drop.
Russell Wilson is going to be the first true Superstar in Seattle Seahawks history. He's going to be the biggest sporting icon to ever make his mark in Seattle. He is going to be bigger than Shawn Kemp. Bigger than Gary Payton. Bigger than Junior or Ichiro. He is going to be our Tom Brady/Peyton Manning/Drew Brees. And it could all happen WITHIN THE NEXT MONTH.
Wilson is the whole package- His talent is obvious, and there is no limit to his leadership skills either. He is an excellent public speaker who is also intelligent, humble, attractive and down-to-Earth. He's Tim Tebow- If Tim Tebow was black, could outrun defenders, and accurately throw a football. My only minor quibble would be his devout Christianity, but I know that for most people that's a feature, not a bug. This atheist's #2 all-time favorite Seahawks player is the also-devout Matt Hasselbeck, so I can get over that aspect of an athlete's persona as long as it's not TOO annoyingly overt.
The biggest thing? He's going to win, and win big. Sure, he might NOT become the first rookie QB to win a Super Bowl next month, but he WILL win one (and maybe many more). I have absolutely no doubt about it, either. Wilson probably won't win OROY, but his career resume is going to be festooned with Pro Bowls, All-Pro Selections, and MVP awards (both regular season and Super Bowl). The really scary thing for the rest of the NFL? What happens when the game slows down for him? On top of that, he's such a talented passer that he'll still be incredibly effective later in his career after his foot speed wanes.
It's worth noting that I wasn't an "early adopter" when it comes to Russell Wilson. I actually wrote this on October 3, 2012:
Did too many of us take that Bill Simmons article on Wilson as gospel? Did we swallow all of Jon Gruden's fawning praise uncritically? Did we fall in love with the seductive tale of a QB lacking in height but brimming with confidence and "intangibles?
Ugh. That's out there forever, and I have to own it. But now I love Russell Wilson with the zeal of the converted. I couldn't be happier to be proven DEAD WRONG, and only three months after I wrote MULTIPLE blog posts demanding that Matt Flynn start at QB for the Seahawks.
Russell Wilson is going to be our quarterback for the next decade or so, and he is going to bring us boundless joy. I love Matt Hasselbeck. I adore Dave Krieg... But the WolfBadger is going to pretty much make both of them look like John Friesz. There will be a price, though. At a certain point, he won't just be "ours" anymore- He'll belong to the world. People who couldn't give less of a crap about the Seahawks, folks who don't know who Steve Largent or Walter Jones are, will buy Wilson's jersey. Your Grandma is going to know who he is, for fuck's sake! Those of us who have bled bright green for years will get annoyed, but it's going to be totally worth it. I'll gladly endure the minor irritation of dealing with fawning bandwagoners in exchange for the Championship glory Russell Wilson is fixing to deliver.
Nirvana didn't become a shitty band after everyone started loving them, after all.
HOLY CRAP!!! WE HAVE A FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK! AINT IT FUCKING COOL????
What do you think, sirs?