Torn between two Super Bowl quarterbacks
Posted January 30
Updated January 31
You may have seen, or soon will see, my Super Bowl pick somewhere on this website. I'm taking the Broncos 21-14.
Ask me who I would LIKE to see win and I have a more difficult time. I'm not a fan of either team but I do have an interest in several of the players – two in particular.
Having played quarterback in high school (Al Bundy reflection) my interest immediately gravitates toward the quarterbacks. There is not a more difficult position to play, with so much responsibility, in any other sport. Win-loss records in football are kept for teams, coaches and quarterbacks.
It's difficult for me to pick which quarterback I would like to see lift the Lombardi while the other one tries to get off the field before drowning in celebratory confetti.
Russell Wilson or Peyton Manning?? I have thoughts on both.
First of all, I have been a Peyton fan since he slung it at Tennessee. I like how he respects the game, prepares for it and makes last second changes once the action begins. He is a man of great character and compassion. Just read the story Mandy Mitchell did on a young Wake Forest cancer survivor, Harrison McKinion, who made a promise with Peyton when Manning was going through neck surgery and uncertainty of his future.
The man who brought Manning and McKinion together was Duke coach David Cutcliffe. To be sure you know that Cutcliffe was Peyton's position coach at Tennessee. And if David Cutcliffe thinks you're a good person, you're a great person.
Peyton Manning has won one Super Bowl. You hear chirping that he needs to win another one to solidify his position as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. PHUULEEZZ!! That's a bag of flaming hot sshh...stuff. Stomp on that paper bag!!
He doesn't have to win another Super Bowl to be on my list of top 5 quarterbacks who have ever taken a snap.
So a lot of what was said about Peyton Manning can be applied to Russell Wilson. Respects the game, prepares for it and is a man of great character and compassion. Just take a look at this video that the young patients at Seattle Children's Hospital put together. It's a thank-you for Russell and his wife Ashton for visiting them every Tuesday, come rain, shine, win or loss.
I have a more personal investment in Russell having covered him when he played football and baseball at NC State. Head baseball coach Elliott Avent played a major role in bringing Wilson to NC State and he raves about him. And if Elliott Avent thinks you are a good person, you're a great person.
Russell was a little guarded in his interviews at NC State but has since blossomed into a charismatic and engaging interview. During his Wolfpack days, I saw Wilson and his future wife at a restaurant near NC State. He said he wanted to come by WRAL because he was interested in sports broadcasting. We never got to connect before he transferred to Wisconsin. Hey Russ, feel free to swing by WRAL the next time you're in town! I think he would be OUTSTANDING as a football analyst.
Since Peyton already has a ring, I'm leaning toward Russell to win on Sunday. It would be another chapter in the book of doubt. Former NFL coach Brian Billick said he was in the room at the combine when it was announced that Russell Wilson was 5-10 and a quarter. "You could hear the groans," Billick said. Seattle decided to take a chance and boy has it payed off.
I hope Russell Wilson can celebrate this Super Bowl championship and point to the sky to a man who never doubted Russell, his late father, Harrison. He was strong father-figure who taught his son work ethic, leadership, preparation, how to win with dignity and lose with class.
Just like Peyton Manning's dad did.