Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, through the first four weeks of the NFL season, is putting up a set of mind-boggling numbers.
And Sunday’s 31-23 Seahawks win over the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami only enhanced that.
The 31-year-old Wilson, who has been the Seahawks’ starting quarterback since his rookie season of 2012, completed 24 out of 34 passes for 360 yards and touchdown passes to David Moore and Travis Homer against one interception against the Dolphins.
His statistical line for the season through four games, as the Seahawks stayed perfect at 4-0 – 103 complete passes from 137 attempts, a 75.2 percent completion percentage, 1285 yards, 9.4 yards per attempt, with 16 touchdown passes to just two interceptions – already ranks as among the best statistical starts of all-time, even in a season where a perception exists that many NFL teams’ offences are far ahead of opposition teams’ defences to date.
Some perspective to those statistics:
Wilson’s 16 touchdown passes through the first four games of this season represents an NFL record – actually tied with Peyton Manning, done in the 2013 season, for such an output in that clip
his back-to-back five-touchdown-pass games against New England and Dallas in Weeks 2 and 3 put Wilson in select company, as only Tom Flores, Daunte Culpepper, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have accomplished the same feat
he’d have 64 touchdown passes at his current pace, which would shatter Manning’s current record of 55, set during the 2013 season
any further projections of his current season statistics would far exceed his 2019 outputs of a 66.1 percent completion percentage, 4110 yards passing and 31 touchdowns against just five interceptions – outstanding numbers by anyone’s standards
But despite holding virtually every Seahawks team passing record over the course of his career, and averaging close to eleven wins per season for coach Pete Carroll’s team through his first eight seasons – a whopping 86 in eight full seasons, tied with Brady for the most over that span for one team – and winning a Super Bowl in his second season in the NFL, it remains astonishing that an NFL MVP award has eluded him.
In fact, Wilson has never even garnered a vote to his name for the league’s highest individual honour.
While this fails to register in the “crimes against humanity” category, this would rank up there with – for the movie afficionados – Paul Newman failing to win an Academy Award for Best Actor until winning for “The Color Of Money” in 1986, despite a prior resume accounting for many years of outstanding movies and acting.
Except in Wilson’s case, unlike the case of comparison to Newman’s legendary film career, his 2020 season has so far served to be far superior to his prior body of work, and he would be very deserving of an MVP honour based on his first month’s worth of play.
Winning an MVP award would not serve as a type of “lifetime achievement award”, like fans and movie critics felt Newman’s Oscar was. If – and at this moment, it’s a foregone conclusion that Wilson will be anointed as the NFL’s best player for 2020 – he does win it, it’s because he will have earned it, and earned it with one of the greatest individual seasons in NFL history.
Mind you, unlike the AFL’s Brownlow Medal or the NRL’s Dally M Medal in Australian sport that are determined by objective votes, MVP honours in American sport are more subjective in nature, where beat writers’ votes are debated a lot more intensely around the country’s sports bars and sporting talkback radio shows, and – it has to be said – quite geo-political at times.
Compared to players who play for teams in the major U.S. television markets of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, the Pacific Northwest often pales in comparison. Seattle ranks 13th among American media markets, below Phoenix and Tampa but just ahead of Detroit, Minneapolis and Miami.
Which means that athletes like Wilson and others in smaller markets, through no fault of their own, fail to garner media attention as easily as those in the markets in the nation’s top ten.
However, Wilson’s dominance for the 4-0 Seahawks exists as something extremely hard to ignore on the global stage, as he keeps firing a majority of his passes to primary receivers such as D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Greg Olsen.
Yet to Wilson, he feels that if he wins the MVP award or even gets a vote for it that has so far eluded him, that’s one thing – but he won’t lose sleep over it if he doesn’t.
“I don’t want a vote. More importantly, I want to win,” Wilson said last month, referring to mere football games.
And he has a point. After the first four weeks of the NFL season, the 4-0 Seahawks are a game in front of the Los Angeles Rams, and are one of two remaining undefeated NFC teams at present, thereby putting them among the NFL’s elite and definite contenders to reach Super Bowl LV.
Winning games, for Wilson, regardless of personal statistics, would be a prerequisite for team success, which he feels represents his real worth to his football team.
“Hopefully I can win enough games and do enough special things as a team to be able to do that,” said Wilson, referring to the ultimate personal honour of the MVP award.
“It’s a team award, really, in terms of the MVP. It’s really a special award because everybody’s involved in it, and hopefully I can be a part of that and hopefully we can be a part of that as team,” he added.
And ultimately, in the big picture, Wilson has a point.
When Wilson quarterbacked the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances after the 2013 and ’14 seasons, Carroll’s team was considered to get to the NFL’s peak not on the stream of Wilson’s right arm, but rather due to the running of halfback Marshawn Lynch and the legendary intimidating force that was the “Legion Of Boom” defence.
But as players have a way of spanning eras, if the Seahawks make it to the Super Bowl at the end of the current season, that would serve as a just reward for Wilson’s outstanding season – and the testament of the MVP award would naturally follow.