Frequently asked questions about #AllRussellWilsonEverything
Posted January 28
Welcome to the sports media grind known as “Super Bowl Week.” Oh sure, any number of possible story lines have already been discussed thanks to the extra week between the AFC and NFC championship games. However, the NFL didn’t become the dominate American sport by doing things with a subtle touch.
The Super Bowl buildup features loud words about Peyton Manning’s legacy and rumors of his retirement should the quarterback win it all on Sunday. Richard Sherman continues to spawn think pieces on the societal implications of his staged WWE shoot promo. “Real journalists” will critique the clown show known as Media Day. Amateur meteorologists will dish out hot weather takes, while pampered members of the football media will lament the logistical nightmare of getting to MetLife Stadium and why a game of such magnitude should never be played in the rough elements.
And who knows, maybe the actual game between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will come up for discussion by the time they kickoff Sunday evening.
Then there’s the curious case of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. A 3rd round selection from the 2012 NFL who quickly ascended to starter his rookie season, Wilson is a football robot programmed to work hard and always say the right thing. The city of Seattle loves him. So does the media, who find his college backstory endlessly fascinating.
As with all legends in the making, part of Wilson’s path to success has been subject to oversimplification.
Q: Wait a minute, you mean O’Brien didn’t pack Wilson’s bags before shoving him out of the Murphy Center?
A: Not really.
Q: So what happened?
A: The Colorado Rockies drafted him as a second baseman in 2010. They thought highly enough of Wilson to pick him in the 4th round and throw some cash is way. After a stint in the club’s farm system, he returned to Raleigh for the upcoming campaign.
Wilson lead the Wolfpack to a 9-4 record, falling just short of finishing tied atop the Atlantic Division with Florida State after losing at Maryland in the regular season finale. The Wolfpack ended up in the Champ Sports Bowl where the beat West Virginia 23–7. Wilson threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
Q: And that’s when O’Brien shoveled him off to Wisconsin, right?
A: Not exactly. O’Brien was of the mind Wilson would go on to have a successful baseball career and wouldn’t come back for a senior season. He thought so highly of Wilson that he made sure to honor the quarterback during Senior Day for the final home game against Wake Forest as a redshirt junior.
Q: But Wilson wanted to come back, correct?
A: Wilson said repeatedly that he wanted a chance to compete.
Q: Why didn’t O’Brien let him come back and compete for the starting gig?
A: Partly because Wilson wouldn’t commit full-time to football, unlike his other quarterback Mike Glennon. Wilson also kept his future plans vague.
Q: So football was a backup plan if baseball didn’t pan out?
A: Perhaps, but Wilson also wanted to keep football in the mix because he truly wanted to do both. It also fulfilled the wishes of his ailing father.
Q: This really is more nuanced than the national media portrays it. Still, couldn’t Glennon just wait for his senior season to finally shine?
A: After being recruited by O’Brien to be the starter and doing all the necessary work while Wilson was playing baseball, would you wait?
Q: Well, when you put it that way. But...
A: It’s also important to note Glennon could have transferred with two years of eligibility remaining.
A: Exactly. Bottom line for O’Brien was running a football program. Having two years of Glennon was better than having one year of Wilson.
Q: But come on, O’Brien has no regrets over how this all played out?
A: O’Brien said in a teleconference last Friday his one regret was not playing Wilson as a true freshman in 2007. NC State’s starting quarterbacks that season were Harrison Beck and Daniel Evans. Had Wilson never redshirted, he could have played all four years for the Wolfpack. Glennon would have played his redshirt junior and senior seasons like before.
Q: Maybe O’Brien would still be coaching at NC State if that happened?
A: Probably not. Keep in mind NC State replaced athletics director Lee Fowler with Debbie Yow. Any time there’s a change in management, the clock starts ticking for current coaches. Yow wanted a coach who was younger and recruited at a higher level. She didn’t see those traits in O’Brien.
Q: Probably best for Wilson that he ended up at Wisconsin anyway. The NFL wouldn't have noticed him at NC State.
A: Kinda like they didn't notice Philip Rivers when he played at NC State?
Q: The guy in the bolo tie?
A: Yes, the guy in the bolo tie.
Q: Considering Wilson is in the Super Bowl and Glennon is the starting quarterback for Tampa Bay, didn’t it all work out for all parties involved?
A: Yes. It’s something O’Brien wishes fans and pundits could recognize.
“We were lucky to have those kids for five years,” O’Brien said. “People ought to be happy about that.”
Q: So why aren’t people happy about it?
A: Because people are easily trolled.
Q: What do you mean?
A: Drop a “Wisconsin Legend Russell Wilson” joke on an NC State fan.
Q: Oh my. But Wilson said “Whole Pack of Badgers” on Sunday Night Football, why are people salty?
A: Because college fans crave ownership of their pro products.
Q: Totally understandable, but Wilson has come back to Raleigh for his camp and for university functions, hasn’t he?
A: Yes. In fact, all parties involved communicate and remain cordial at the current moment. O’Brien talked with Wilson from the draft process all the way through the NFC Championship game. Yow said she texted with Wilson before and after the game.
Q: So everyone seems chill?
A: Indeed. The only people who aren’t chill would be fans and media.