Gallant: Seahawks’ Russell Wilson is where Tom Brady was 15 years ago as a QB
I don’t know why it triggered me so, but on Sunday, I found myself getting worked up when Troy Aikman made a completely innocuous comment about Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
“Yes, Troy, you sAw ThAt RiGhT,” I condescendingly told my inanimate television. “Thanks for explaining to Russell that great performances are fun!”
My television just sat there, judging me, continuing to be a television.
Obviously, I was being a crazy pants. Maybe it was all the smoke in the air or that NFL games before noon still don’t make sense to me. Seahawks games done by 1 p.m.? What am I supposed to do the rest of the day?
But then it hit me. I’m right back where I was 15 years ago, a part of another football cult.
More on that in a moment. Can someone please explain to me why Troy Aikman – or anyone who’s heard of Russell Wilson – would be surprised by a 31-for-35, 322-yard, four-touchdown performance?
I’m not even sure these Sasquatches exist. My hope is that this entire post is just me setting a straw army on fire. Slowly. Because Russ has been doing this in spurts for nearly five years:
• 2015: A five-game stretch where he completed 74% of his passes for 19 TDs and no interceptions, leading the Seahawks to five wins.
• 2016: His masterful 348-yard, three-TD performance to beat the Patriots in Foxboro, the last L of the year for the eventual Super Bowl 51 champs.
• 2017: The 452-yard, four-TD, one-interception dismantling of the Texans en route to a 41-38 victory.
• 2018: An 82.4 completion percentage, three TDs and a perfect passer rating against the Lions.
• 2019: A 22/1 touchdown to interception ratio over the first nine games, featuring an 82.9% completion percentage against the Steelers, a borderline perfect performance on a Thursday night against the Rams, and a 378-yard, five-TD outgunning of the Bucs.
But you already knew that dominant Russell Wilson performances aren’t surprising, just like you know that those stat storms come rarely when compared to Aaron Rodgers in years past (though he may be back after Sunday vs. Minnesota) and Patrick Mahomes today. Pete Carroll’s Seahawks offense is one that preaches balance, sometimes even a little too much. And while nifty numbers are neato, stats are ultimately for losers. The final score’s for winners.
“Sick cliché, PAWL, did you cut off your sleeves while mumbling that?”
No. I got it from the last football cult I was a part of: The cult of Tom Brady.
Their playing styles are completely different, but there are a ton of similarities between Brady and Russell Wilson:
• They had college coaches that weren’t 100% sold on them.
• Both were good enough at baseball to actually be drafted.
• Along with Joe Montana, they’re arguably the biggest steals in modern NFL Draft history.
• Both have a legendary worth ethic, to the point of insanity, and have remarkable poise.
• And both got better with age, gradually transforming from game managers backed by powerful defenses to the best quarterbacks in the game.
Now, 15 years ago, I wasn’t quite bullying people online to “Let Tommy Cook.” I was doing the next closest thing, yelling at everyone that Brady – not Peyton Manning – was the league’s best quarterback. Why? Because you KNEW that Brady WAS going to step his game up in the biggest of moments. You KNEW he wasn’t going to lose you the game with a backbreaking mistake. And you KNEW – even when he was down multiple scores – that he’d emerge from the depths to make it a game again.
In 2020, that’s no longer Tom Brady. That’s Russell Wilson. And in a world with little football certainty, I consider his every-week excellence to be the founding principle of my football dogma.
So I’ve got a better cliché for 2020: Death, taxes, and surgical, mistake-free, elusive, spectacular, DOMINANT days from Russell Wilson. Rolls right off the tongue, get the T-shirts ready. And based on Sunday – a day where the Seahawks “Let Russ Cook” in an offense now featuring jet sweep motions, screens, and the occasional fourth-down attempt – the rest of the country will have it stuck in their head like a 1-877-Kars4Kids jingle.
Because Russell Wilson is going to win MVP.