Maybe it’s anger you feel. At the quarterback for (seemingly) wanting out. At the organization for dealing him. At the universe in general for ruining your Tuesday.
Or maybe it’s heartache. Breakups are the worst. An out-of-nowhere end to a 10-year relationship would have anyone feeling dejected.
Perhaps it’s bewilderment. Who on earth saw this coming? Just last week, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider all but assured that their future Hall of Fame signal caller would be back for another season. In terms of shock waves, this essentially broke the Richter scale.
But once you’ve processed all the emotions — and there are a lot of them — try to focus on this one: appreciation.
Russell Wilson is no longer a Seattle Seahawk. News broke Tuesday morning that the team is trading him and a fourth-round draft pick to the Broncos for quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, two first-round picks, two second-round picks and a fifth-round pick. It’s a monster story — perhaps the most surprising in Seattle sports history. Concern that the Seahawks’ return to glory will be indefinitely delayed is justified.
Still, you have to acknowledge the following — Wilson was the best thing to happen to that football team. His arrival in 2012 was the catalyst to the Seahawks becoming a model of sustained excellence. There is no Super Bowl parade without No. 3 behind center. There aren’t eight playoff appearances in 10 seasons, either.
Apologies to Steve Largent, Walter Jones, Cortez Kennedy, Kenny Easley, Bobby Wagner Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, but Wilson was the best to ever wear the blue, green and silver. What are your favorite memories?
Was it his rookie season, when as a third-round pick he unseated assumed starter Matt Flynn with a spectacular preseason before vaulting Seattle to an 11-5 season? There were myriad components to that team’s success: A top-three rushing attack and the league’s stingiest defense were what grabbed most headlines. But Wilson’s 100.0 passer rating and command of the zone-read offense was instrumental in Seattle advancing to the second round of the playoffs.
Was it the Super Bowl season in 2013? Wilson’s passing wasn’t utilized in the same fashion as that of a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady — his 407 attempts ranked 22nd in the league — but he was efficient enough, elusive enough, that he finished fourth in the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year voting.
How about the attempt at a repeat in 2014? Granted, it didn’t end well. Wilson’s interception at (in?) the hands of Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler will be what the general public remembers. But that season might have been Wilson’s magnum opus.
Pro Football Reference keeps a stat called “approximate value,” which is the football equivalent of baseball’s WAR. Wilson posted an AV of 19 that season — tied for a career high — which essentially ranked him as the third-most-valuable player in the league. That’s a stat-geek number, though. What most people remember is Russell leading two drives in the fourth quarter and overtime vs. the Packers in the NFC Championship Game, which culminated in Wilson connecting with Jermaine Kearse on a 35-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to send Seattle back to the Super Bowl.
What about 2015? It might not pop into most people’s memories, but that was the season Wilson engineered perhaps the greatest five-game stretch in NFL history. That’s not hyperbole.
Look at these numbers: 138.5, 147.9, 146.0, 139.6, 128.3. Those were Wilson’s passer ratings from Week 10 to Week 14. It’s unreal. The season ended with a second-round playoff loss to Carolina in what was a typical Super Bowl hangover year, but the tail end of that year was when Wilson showed his talent rivals that of anybody who’s ever played the game.
Russell’s impact in Seattle went beyond what he achieved on the football field. Every Tuesday — often to no media attention — he would visit Seattle Children’s Hospital and touch families in a way few people in the world can do. A lot of folks would make fun of the Pollyanna way Wilson would conduct himself during news conferences — and I was one of them — but I always said the world was better with Wilson in it. I stand by that today.
March 8, 2022, is a day that hundreds of thousands of Seahawks fans will remember forever. It was the day one of Seattle’s brightest stars — maybe the brightest — left for the Denver Broncos.
Every hurt feeling is understood. Sports bring joy but also pain.
But Wilson made this city better. Fans might want to move on from Wilson right now, but they can’t forget what he did for this city.