By Jim Moore
Whenever I mention that Russell Wilson is the best quarterback in Seahawks history, I get all kinds of heat from those who think that one season isn’t long enough to make that claim.
I’m not sure what it will take to qualify – two seasons? Three? Four? Seven?
I’m baffled. I use the eye test. The eye test told me last year that Tarvaris Jackson was one of the worst starting quarterbacks in franchise history. Yet I think he’s a good backup and that Buffalo made a good decision by signing him to a one-year contract Friday.
I’ve been using the eye test since 1976 when an expansion team called the Seahawks came to Seattle. I was 19 then. I’ve seen every quarterback who has taken a snap for this team.
In the beginning and to this day, I was and still am a huge Jim Zorn fan. I absolutely loved him. No. 10. Left-hander out of Cal Poly-Pomona. The perfect quarterback for an expansion team because he was mobile, able to escape pressure that was often in his face because of a thrown-together offensive line.
Later on I loved Dave Krieg, too. Loved his story, coming out of a little school in Wisconsin, Milton College, that doesn’t exist anymore. How good was he? Good enough to be named to three Pro Bowl teams and have his name in the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor. In 1984, he led the Seahawks to a 12-4 record, throwing for 3,671 yards and 32 touchdowns.
But until Wilson arrived, Matt Hasselbeck was my all-time favorite Seahawks quarterback. Like Krieg, he was selected to the Pro Bowl three times. He also holds the franchise record for passing yards. More than any of that, Hasselbeck is the only quarterback in franchise history to lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl.
Mobility helps give Wilson the edge over Matt Hasselbeck. (AP)
Before Wilson got here, I would’ve rated Hasselbeck No. 1 in franchise history, Zorn No. 2 and Krieg No. 3, understanding that you would have a good case for making Krieg No. 2 – it’s just a personal preference I have with Zorn.
But Wilson changed those rankings. In my book, he’s already No. 1, slightly ahead of Hasselbeck. It won’t be long before he’s miles ahead of Hasselbeck. Zorn and Krieg will be specks in the distance, barely detectable.
Wilson led the Seahawks to an 11-5 record and within 30 seconds of the NFC championship game. If the defense had stopped either Detroit or Miami during the regular season, the Seahawks would’ve won the NFC West, played two playoff games at home and probably would have gone to the Super Bowl. It was the defense’s fault that that didn’t happen, not Wilson’s.
Wilson’s season stats are some of the best in Seahawks history, and to think that he produced them during his rookie season:
A 64 percent completion rate, 26 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, a 100.0 QB rating, 3,118 passing yards, 489 rushing yards with four TDs, including three in one game against Buffalo.
Ratings-wise, he was the best quarterback in the NFL in the second half of the season, which means he was better than Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and anyone else you want to name.
At what point did that ever happen during an eight-game stretch for Hasselbeck or Krieg?
At what point did Hasselbeck or Krieg offer the threat to run and extend plays like Wilson does?
They could occasionally buy time, but Wilson bought more time this season than Hasselbeck and Krieg did combined during their careers.
This isn’t meant as criticism of Hasselbeck and Krieg; it’s just to point out how good Wilson was this season in every aspect of the game – from decision-making to leadership to accuracy to downfield throws to whatever else you want to see from your quarterback.
I don’t know what your eye test told you, but mine told me that after only season, Russell Wilson already qualifies as the best quarterback in franchise history.