Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has emerged as one of the NFL’s best at his position.
Although Wilson’s passing numbers don’t necessarily jump off the screen, he’s an accurate passer who delivers in big games, and he’s the NFL’s most efficient dual-threat player at a time when similar players such as Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Girffin III are taking the league by storm.
Wilson has had unprecedented success in his 1st three NFL seasons — he has made the playoffs in each season — and become one of the league’s most recognizable players. He was No. 1 in the NFL in jersey sales in October 2014.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. Wilson Has a Unique Background and a Strong Christian Faith
Wilson grew up in Richmond, Virginia, which he noted in a 2014 MMQB column was the capital of the former Confederacy. Growing up there was “a little bit different,” he wrote, as the son of two proud African-American parents.
In the column, Wilson talked about being proud to be only the second African-American quarterback to win the Super Bowl — the Redskins’ Doug Williams was the first — and being equally proud that the accomplishment wasn’t even deemed to be a big deal, signaling America’s progress on race relations.
From the column:
It’s a great story that probably is even greater because America isn’t talking about it. I knew that only one black quarterback, Doug Williams, had won a Super Bowl before our victory. I know history, and I know football history. I didn’t want to win the Super Bowl just because of the racial element, although I know that is significant. The Seattle Seahawks winning their first Super Bowl—that was the most important thing to me. Not me being such a young quarterback, or beating Peyton Manning, or not being the prototypical size for a quarterback. Nothing like that. I wanted to win because I wanted to win for my team.
Wilson comes from a profound Christian family, and is regularly proactive in helping his community and fans (Make a Wish), doing extra charity work and taking time out for special one-on-one visits — a good place to see this would be his Instagram (@dangerusswilson). He also started his own anti-domestic violence campaign.
2. He Was Selected by the Seahawks in the 3rd Round of the 2012 NFL Draft
Wilson spent four years at NC State from 2007-10, and because he redshirted his freshman season, he gained an extra year of playing eligibility, which he used by transferring to Wisconsin before the 2011-12 season.
Wilson was the 75th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. He dropped in the 2012 Draft strictly due to his size — he is only 5-11 — and there were doubts about his ability to come in and play in Seattle’s offensive system. The Seahawks had a 1st-round grade on him anyway, and would have taken him sooner, but knew they could get him later in the draft and use other picks to fill needs elsewhere.
Wilson was also a standout baseball player who as drafted three times by Major League Baseball teams: By the Orioles in 2007, the Rockies in 2010 and the Rangers in 2013, after he’d already begun his NFL career.
He played two seasons in the Rockies’ farm system and reported to Rangers spring training in 2014, shortly after leading the Seahawks to the Super Bowl title.
3. He was Married to Ashton Meem for Less Than 2 Years
There was speculation that Meem had cheated on Wilson with former teammate Golden Tate, who stoked the fire by tweeting about the rumors. But everyone involves vehemently denies the affair took place.
4. Wilson is One of 6 Quarterbacks to Play in the Super Bowl in Just His 2nd Season
The list of quarterbacks who played in a Super Bowl in their 2nd season include:
Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins, 1984 — Lost Super Bowl XIX against the San Francisco 49ers 38-16
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams, 1999-00 — Won Super Bowl XXXIV against the Tennessee Titans 23-16 *Named MVP*
Tom Brady, New England Patriots, 2001-02 — Won Super Bowl XXXVI against the St. Louis Rams 20-7 *Named MVP*
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2005-06 — Won Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks 21-10
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers, 2012-13 — Lost Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens 34-31
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, 2013-14 — Won Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos 43-8
5. Through 3 Seasons, He is 2nd on the All-Time Winning Percentage List
In Wilson’s three seasons, his record as a starter are 11-5, 13-3 and 12-4, an overall record of 36-12 and a winning percentage of .750. Wilson’s playoff record is 4-1 (including the Super Bowl XLVIII victory) with his only loss being a last-second 30-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons back in January 2013.
In comparison to the 50 quarterbacks with the most wins regular season wins since 1949, Wilson would be 2nd on the list behind Tom Brady — ahead of great names such as: Joe Montana, John Elway, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Ben Roethlisberger, who all won multiple Super Bowl championships.