For years, Russell Wilson has realized that taking the same approach every day can pay off big.
RENTON — This is weird to think about, but Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is now the one giving advice. He’s the guy younger quarterbacks pester with questions, just as he peppered Drew Brees and Peyton Manning a few short (long?) years ago.
This week, second-year Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston said Wilson helped him with his offseason preparation at the Pro Bowl last season. It reminded Wilson of his own offseason after his rookie year, in 2012, and offered a little glance at one of Wilson’s best traits.
Wilson went to New Orleans for the Super Bowl that season and spent the week talking with former and current players and coaches. He asked all of them the same question.
“I remember asking Bill Cowher and other NFL players: ‘What takes a player from good to great and great to elite and from elite to a Hall of Famer?’ ” Wilson said. “A lot of those people were Hall of Fame coaches and players that I asked. All of them said the biggest difference is those who can be consistent on and off the field on a daily approach, how they approach the game, how they approach practice, how they approach life, their attitude.
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“I gravitated towards that.”
Watching Wilson play is thrilling. He can throw from any angle. He spins and chucks beautifully arced deep passes and slips in and out of trouble.
But Wilson craves routine and order everywhere else. He is drawn to repetition, and it seeps into everything he does: The way he answers questions, the clichés he uses, the way he practices and watches film.
OK, that’s not as exciting as what he does on the field. It’s actually kind of boring. But think about how hard it is to truly be consistent. You get sick, you’re annoyed with your bosses, you don’t feel like working, you get bored. Consistency is so important because it’s so difficult.
“The absolute best gift he has as a person and as an athlete is he’s consistent,” Dana Bible, Wilson’s offensive coordinator at North Carolina State, said a few years ago. “When he’s having a bad day, you don’t know it. I know when he shows up at the facility there, I know they get a great day of work out of him. The four years he came to sit in the meetings and to practice and to games in college, every day you got a great day out of Russell. He was going to win that day. His consistency and his ability to stay strong even through tough times or not feeling good, whatever the obstacles were, every day was a productive day. That’s so rare.”
That mundane Wilson is inseparable from the other, thrilling Wilson. He gravitated to consistency years ago because he has always been that way; his parents raised him that way, and it has defined his career ever since.
“I know this is probably super boring because I’m not giving you great awesome new stuff,” Scott Pickett, one of Wilson’s childhood friends, said at the Super Bowl two years ago, “but his foundation of football, of his life, of how he wants to treat each day, that’s been ingrained in him from his father. It wasn’t college when it happened or with the Hawks. It was back when he was a young guy.
“That’s why you see the similarities in interviews or with anything. Because what he wants to talk about is what he’s talked about for years. It’s how he was programmed and how he compartmentalized what he needs to do now, what he needs to do tomorrow, what he needs to do the next day. There’s not a lot of change in that.”