Russell wilson III

Russell Wilson: Magician at Work

 Spinning That Old Black Magic that he Weaves so Well

The reason I’m going against the smart money and picking the Seattle Seahawks to win the Super Bowl is because of Russell Wilson. I find it amusing that among those who give the Seahawks a chance to win they quickly point to the play of running back Marshawn Lynch, or cornerback Dick Sherman.  While no knowledgeable observer can minimize the importance of Lynch running over people in “Beast Mode” or Sherman and “The Legion of Boom,” as hard hitting ball hawking defensive backfield of Seattle is known, it wouldn’t mean a thing without the spectacular play of quarterback Russell Wilson.

In sports you are what the numbers say you are, and the numbers say that Russell Wilson – along with Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburg – is the winnings quarterback in the history of the game over their first two years in the pros.   And as coach Herman Edwards points out: “you play the game to win!”  Hence I find it beyond annoying to listen to the chatter of those who want to talk about things like total passing yards which, if it does not put you in the championship game and you win it is an irrelevant statistic, a meaningless ornament.

Such numbers would insure a championship if they were engaging in a passing contest where the objective was to test passing skill, but if it does not lead to victory in a football game its much ado about nothing.  This self- evident fact manages to escape many of the sports pundits that dominate the discussion evaluating quarterbacks.  In the case of Peyton Manning, the Quarterback Wilson will be facing in the Super Bowl, the tremendous numbers in the passing game has put him in the Championship game, and we shall see if he wins it.

However Peyton puts up tremendous passing statistics every year, but in over a decade in the league he has gone to the Super Bowl only twice and won it only once.  Russell Wilson, a third round draft choice who was originally intended to be nothing more than a bench warmer to the starter, won the starting job in practice and took the Seahawks to the playoffs for the first time in years during his rookie year.  Now, in only his second season, he has guided his team to the Super Bowl…and there is no question that without spectacular plays from him they would not be there.

Although it was a great play from cornerback Richard Sherman that won the game which put them there, without some great throws from Wilson, made possible by his spellbinding ability to run around outside the pocket and give his receivers an opportunity to make big plays, they would be sitting home watching San francisco in the Super Bowl.  Russell is also very fast and the threat of his keeping the ball and running downfield provides opportunities for the powerful and elusive running back Marshan Lynch to make plays.

They run the “read option” better than anyone in the NFL, and if the defense loads the box to stop Lynch from running up the middle, or going off tackle, Russell will keep the ball and burn them by running outside. And if the defense concentrates on stopping the run, Russell will scorch them with passes down field.  A myth has developed that Seattle cannot put points on the board, but I will remind such critics that this is a team that scored fifty points in back to back games this season.

He’s a Dangerous Passer too!

russell-wilson IV

He makes some great throws…and rarely throws picks

By any objective measure Russell Wilson is special, a little man in a big man’s game; a marvel in a league filled with gifted athletes – a stand out amidst a spectacular collection of driven personalities striving to always perform on the highest level.  The uniqueness of their talent is verified by the millions of dollars they are paid to perform, and the multitudes who spend hours watching them do what they do…ranging from the presidents and kings, wise men and fools, plutocrats and paupers.

The importance of sport as the measure of the character of a society was demonstrated by CLR James, one of the most original political theorist and cultural critics of the twentieth century, in his path breaking book on the British sport of Cricket.  After studying the game as a reflection of the values of the Victorian society in which the game was perfected he remarked “He knows no Cricket Who Only Cricket Knows.”

The same thing can surely be said about American football, for there is no truer reflection of the values cherished by most Americans.  That’s why major college football games often resemble some form of pagan religious ritual and pro football seem like symbolic warfare between city-states.  However since I have already written about this elsewhere I shall simply quote from that earlier essay “On the Cusp of History,” which was written when two black coaches – Tony Dungy and Lovey Smith confronted each other in the Super Bowl for the first and only time.

One cannot fully understand Americans and our society if one does not understand the game of football.   It is no accident that football is the most popular national sport…Football is the perfect metaphor for American civilization.  If Jazz, our nation’s great contribution to fine art, embodies the best American values – love of liberty, exaltation of democracy, and promotion of invention – football symbolizes some of our fundamental vices: the conquest of land through organized aggressiveness, and imposing our will on weaker adversaries by brute force.  The teams are organized like military platoons and their tactics are described in military metaphors, with the quarterbacks routinely referred to as “field generals” and the long pass labeled “the bomb!”  

Thus football is the ideal sport for a civilization born of genocide and slavery, a nation whose national anthem is a war song, and whose symbol as a nation is a vicious bird of prey – the great Bald Eagle!  And it is no accident that the Bald Eagle resides in the West, that theater of some of the bloodiest American aggressions fueled by a hunger for other peoples land.  It is also the incubator of the great American myth of “Manifest Destiny” and the noble mountain man and cowboy, those paragons of American “rugged individualism “- an ideal which is embodied in the football player for many fans. “

Thus one could argue that football is a steam valve that allows Americans to vent their aggressive impulses on the playing fields, which is certainly preferable to violent crime, civil conflict, or war.  And when the game is represented by a mild mannered well-spoken gentleman like Russell Wilson, who embodies the essence of sport – to lose without rancor and win with grace – it can indeed become a cathartic experience for some violence prone personalities in our midst who might otherwise commit aggressive acts if there were no football games to watch.

Both Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning are soft spoken sportsmen who did not come up in the hard way that makes some football players potential felons if not saved by the game.  Hence their play is not fueled by anger or rage.  Peyton Manning grew up the son of a pro-quarterback, Archie Manning of the New Orleans Saints, and lived a life of fame and fortune in one of America’s most beautiful cities.  Russell Wilson grew up in a family that treasured education and intelligence.

His grandfather and grandmother on his father’s side held PhD’s and his father was a Dartmouth grad and college football star who went on to a distinguished law career in Richmond Virginia.  It is from his father, that he learned the game of football and acquired his tenacity, mental toughness, work ethic and eternal optimism.  As a wide receiver good enough to get a tryout with a pro team Russell’s dad knew all the throws a quarterback would have to master in order to play at the highest level, and he was running routes for Russell to throw since he was a little boy.

This is why Russell never gets rattled when the game is on the line; it’s like he has ice water flowing in his veins as he calmly makes great plays where others might lose their poise.  And he does it over and over again!  He is highly intelligent and supremely self-confident without being braggadocios, barely ever raising his voice. But he is an extremely competitive and gifted athlete who was  good enough at baseball to have played the game professionally.  Unlike most players, he loves to come from behind with the clock running out.  With his ability to run, throw, and improvise while thinking on his feet….it is no wonder that Russell Wilson’s nickname is DANGEROUS!

A True Dual Threat

Russell wilson II

Pick Yo Poison!


Double Click on Link to watch Russell “The Magician”
Witness a quarterback that can do it all!!!!
Listen to Wilson discuss quarterback play with coach Gruden
Witness wilson’s high intelligence and supreme confidence
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
Super Sunday 2014

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