Russell Wilson has only five 300-yard games in his career. He has averaged only 26 attempts and 17 completions per game. In his three seasons, he has never contended for All-Pro honors.
Yet, it’s hard to argue that the Seattle Seahawks quarterback isn’t one of the best in the league at his position.
Wilson sports a 42-13 record, including a 6-1 postseason mark. He owns a Super Bowl ring and plays for a second Sunday.
No quarterback has done what Wilson has in his first three seasons.
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“In terms of my legacy on the field, I want to be considered a winner,” Wilson said. “That’s ultimately the goal in terms of playing quarterback, is win, win, win. That’s all that really matters at the end of the day.”
Wilson, 26, has a 10-0 record against Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers has lost to Wilson’s Seahawks three times, including in the NFC Championship Game when the Green Bay Packers inexplicably blew a 16-0 lead.
Wilson was intercepted four times and had a 44.3 passer rating two weeks ago against the Packers, but he was at his best when it mattered most. He pulled out a second career postseason comeback by completing 7 of 8 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown with four rushes for 19 yards and a touchdown on the Seahawks’ final three possessions.
Wilson, overcome with emotion, broke down in tears after his 35-yard touchdown throw to Jermaine Kearse in overtime.
“He really takes control, and when you have a guy like that, you’ll have guys that follow,” Kearse said. “And we follow. You see it game after game. When things aren’t going quite well, he rallies us together and guys follow his lead.”
Wilson outplayed Peyton Manning in Super Bowl XLVIII last year as the Seahawks won 43-8 and draws Tom Brady, loser of his past two Super Bowl appearances, in Super Bowl XLIX. The Seahawks beat the Patriots 24-23 in the only previous meeting between the quarterbacks.
“Obviously to play in the Super Bowl two years in a row, and I’ve only been in the league for three years, it’s been exciting,” Wilson said. “It’s been an exciting three years of my life, but this year has been really special. To win the Super Bowl last year, to go against a great quarterback in Peyton Manning who I have so much respect for, plays the game the right way, does it better than anybody could probably ever do it, and then to face Tom Brady this year — two guys that I’ve looked up to since I was a little kid, it’s a tremendous honor, a tremendous honor to be on the same field, to play the great game of football, to play in Super Bowl XLIX.
“That’s history, and hopefully we can make some history. Hopefully Tom doesn’t play too good. I know he’s one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, but hopefully we find a way to win.”
Wilson doesn’t look the part of pro quarterback. He stands under 5-foot-11 — 5-10 5/8 to be exact — and weighs 206 pounds. It’s why he lasted until the third round of the 2012 draft. It’s why the Seahawks drafted him as a backup, having signed Matt Flynn to a three-year, $26 million deal with $10 million guaranteed.
“[General manager] John Schneider had a feel for Russell early on and he had a sense that maybe he was really, really special, and he wasn’t wrong,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He was right from his first impressions of him, and from that point when we started to really study him, we just kind of improved upon that evaluation. There was really nothing along the way, except for how tall he was, that would make us think anything other than that. We found it easy to overlook that because he was so special.”
It didn’t take the Seahawks long to determine Wilson had “it,” whatever “it” is. The rest of the league discovered the same shortly thereafter.
The Seahawks traded Flynn after one season and have never looked back. They now have to find a way to reward Wilson as a franchise quarterback, something Schneider calls “a challenge” as it relates to the salary cap and free agency.
Wilson’s statistics might not say how good he is, but everything else about him screams it.
“He’s very special,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “I think his record speaks for itself. This is his second time getting us to the Super Bowl in his third year. He’s the winningest quarterback of all time in his first three years. You could go on and on about the player he is, but he’s as good of a person as he is a player.”
Russell Wilson sports a 10-0 record against Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks: