Right now the front-runner for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award is Russell Wilson. The veteran Seattle Seahawks quarterback is playing head and shoulders better than his peers. Wilson has been spectacular with his play and has to lead the Seahawks to a 5-0 record going into Week 7.
Wilson is 31-years-old. He’s been in the league since 2012. He’s been voted to six Pro Bowls, and yet Wilson has never received one vote for MVP in his career. Wilson might as well be known as the Comeback Kid as he went through the motions of producing the 30th game-winning drive of his career in Seattle’s 27-26 comeback win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5.
His three-touchdown afternoon against the Vikings was just another day at the office for Wilson, who is making a habit of turning the extraordinary into the routine. That’s pretty much what he’s been doing all season with 1,502 passing yards and a 72.8 percent completion rating in just five games. When it comes to the MVP race, Wilson should be called the lead dog.
Those game-winning drives are just the tip of the iceberg for Wilson. Wilson has shown he has winning DNA in his blood with a Super Bowl victory to back up that claim. His resilience to not give up against shows he is an MVP-caliber player. But why he has never received an MVP vote is anybody’s guess.
Wilson addressed this matter in the summer and he made sure to make it clear he wants to be known as a winner and team player rather than team worry about individual platitudes like league MVP.
“For me, the number one and important thing is the winning part,” Wilson said. “The MVPs and stuff like and hopefully the votes — maybe I’ll get one, one day — but the reality is that I wake up to win it all and I wake up to be the best, too,” Wilson said. “I’m not going to shy away from that. If I do win MVP, it’s because we’re going great as a team and guys are making plays and we’re all doing it together. Hopefully, we can do that this year.”
Wilson’s numbers are staggering as he is one of the top names on the stat chart not just for Seattle, but also for the league. Wilson has been known to be a gunslinger and runner with the ball, so this year seems to be the year where he stands out above the rest. He has played so well that he was named National Football Conference (NFC) Player of the Month in September.
Wilson leads the NFL with 19 passing touchdowns. His main targets on the filed for the Seahawks are Tyler Lockett, who has 30 receptions for 342 yards, and DK Metcalf with 22 receptions for 496 yards. His receivers have helped Wilson improve his completion percentage which is the highest percentage out of the last five quarterbacks who have won MVP.
The record-setting first-quarter numbers he has produced measures up to recent NFL MVP greats that include the likes of Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Tom Brady. Wilson is currently ranked third in passing completions and third in the league in passing yards.
Although Wilson can be considered a throwing machine, he is also known to be light on his feet and an avid scrambler when needed. He does not have a rushing touchdown yet, but he does have 153 rushing yards on the season thus far.
In comparison to his stats from last season, Wilson is on pace to surpass those numbers. In 2019, Wilson completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 4,110 yards, 31 touchdowns and a career-low five interceptions. His passing yards were the second-most of his career, second-best in franchise history and sixth in the NFL. Wilson only has three interceptions on the season and has been sacked 15 times.
Wilson has proven he is the best Seahawk quarterback the franchise has ever had. The Seahawks signal-caller is the only person to play quarterback to have recorded 75 wins in their first seven seasons in the NFL.
In the most recent episode of DangerTalk, a podcast hosted by Wilson on ESPN stated he wants to leave a legacy as great as Seattle Mariner icon, Ken Griffey Jr, who he was speaking to that day.
“I think about my life and where I am at today with the legacy I want to leave here in Seattle,” Wilson said. “One that’s never been done before, besides you (Ken Griffey Jr.).”
Wilson’s time with the Seahawks since Seattle picked him with the 12th pick in the third round (75th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft, 19 different players in that span have received at least one MVP vote.
The list consists of 13 quarterbacks, four running backs, and two defensive players: Lamar Jackson (2019 MVP), Patrick Mahomes (2018 MVP), Drew Brees, Tom Brady (2017 MVP), Todd Gurley, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan (2016 MVP), Derek Carr, Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Cam Newton (2015 MVP), Carson Palmer, Aaron Rodgers (2014 MVP), J.J. Watt, Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Bobby Wagner, Peyton Manning (2013 MVP), Adrian Peterson (2012 MVP).
If Wilson somehow does not get a vote after the season, let alone not win the award at all, he will join a very short list of other Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks not to be crowned the NFL’s MVP such as Jim Plunkett, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning.
After coming off their bye week, the Seahawks will face Arizona Cardinals, the first team that Wilson went up against in the regular season after he was given the starting role. The Seahawks hope that Wilson will continue to keep up with his consistent play for the rest of the season as they look to return back to the top tier of the football food chain.
“There is just so much character that goes into being able to have that much poise, to be that clear, to function like that so beautifully throughout those opportunities,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said of Wilson after the game in a press conference. “He’s just as good as you can get. I don’t know how anybody could ever be better than what he continues to show us in those situations. He’s as good as you can get.”