Well I bet many of you didn't see that one coming. In this offensive driven passing league brand of football the NFL has so desperately been trying to push down our throats to increase scoring, at the end of the day it was still (defense) that won the big one. Most sports critics and analysts picked the Broncos to be this year's SB winner even before the season started. Those odds didn't change leading up to game day even after the Seahawks became their eventual opponent. In a game that rarely features two teams at the top of the league on opposite sides of the ball going head to head, what most of us thought would be a treat to watch turned out to be a boring blow out of drastic proportion. While Colts and Manning fans alike were rooting for Peyton due to his Indy ties, most wanted him to win in order to silence the critics who will forever judge QBs by the number of rings they get. Hello Trent Dilfer and Joe flacco. You two are now in the conversation with Manning as one of the all time greats (sigh). For the smart fans out there who know how to use critical thinking without being biased know that regardless of what the "experts" say, Manning's legacy was etched in stone long before this latest SB setback. He is one of the greatest of all time. Period. That said, it is time for all of the pocket passing fans out there who said that "running QBs can't win the big one" and "This is a QB driven league" to rethink the wineskins. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks just debunked your theory.
The Seahawks didn't get a big game from Wilson and didn't need one. Actually, they haven't needed Wilson to go out and win games all by himself all year. When you have a defense that can consistently shut down the opposition you can win the way the Hawks have. Russell Wilson's numbers were pedestrian at best (as they have been all year) in this year's SB. Yet he was efficient and did all the things that any QB labeled a "game manager" does to earn that title in the 1st place: "Take care of the football, move the chains, and make plays when you need to." That said, as I watched this game something stood out to me that related to previous discussions I've had with people who've been critical of scrambling QBs and have held on to the notion that "only pocket passing QBs like the Mannings and Bradys of the world win championships." Manning and his offense looked the part of a dying breed, while Wilson and the Seahawks looked as if they were revitalizing an old school formula that not only still rings true in today's game, but also gives a glimpse of the not so distant future of the QB position in the NFL: "Defense still wins championships, and QBs who can extend plays when nothing is there have an advantage over pocket passers who can't." Over the last 4-5 years we have seen more mobile QBs enter the league than at any time in the NFL. It started with Michael Vick and his electrifying (yet limited) style of play as he showcased a level of athleticism from his position that the world hadn't seen before. Fast forward to the 2011 NFL draft and we now have Cam Newton, followed by RG3, and Russell Wilson a year later. All three have been to the post season and have done so while still in the early stages of their careers. Newton, Wilson, and RG3 have surpassed Vick in that they are not just "running QBs." They are QBs who can run. That means they can beat you from the pocket as well as with their legs. Newton led the Panthers to their 1st playoff appearance since 2008. Wilson just won his 1st SB in only his second year in the league.
The most intriguing thing about Wilson is in how he not only debunked the notion that "athletic, running QBs never win championships on the pro level," he also destroyed the myth that QBs under 6 FT can't make it in the NFL. A lot of people were saying the same things about Wilson that were said about Drew Brees coming into the league regarding his height. Russell Wilson's accomplishments will now make a lot of NFL scouts take longer looks at QBs coming out of college who otherwise wouldn't be paid much attention to due to the standards previously reserved for only those who met the "prototypical measurements" of their predecessors. Regardless of the truths I just pointed out in this article, I know that a lot of readers will say "Wilson is the only athletic QB to win a SB vs a long list of SB winning pocket passers." To that I will simply say that the reasoning behind that is only due to the fact that the NFL has been a league built on pocket passers from the beginning while the infusion of athletic QBs has just begun over the past few years. Have we seen athletic QBs throughout the history of the game? Sure, but the few spots here and there throughout time don't compare to the overall lopsided numbers of the type of players picked as the norm for the position. Kudos to you Russell. You've earned it.