It shouldn’t be too surprising to see more and more people sporting Russell Wilson jerseys in Seattle these days. What might be surprising is that the rest of the football universe seems to be following along. According to a recent CNBC.com report, Russell Wilson has the second best selling jersey behind San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Although the Seahawks don’t like coming in second to the 49ers under any circumstances, this should be recognized as an impressive feat for the young Seahawks quarterback.
Historically, Seahawks players haven’t drawn widespread appeal outside their loyal fan base. Being tucked up in the Northwest tends to limit national exposure but that apparently hasn’t hindered Russell Wilson’s popularity. Aside from the obvious popularity that comes from on the field success, why are so many casual football fans rushing to buy a number 3 jersey?
For starters, it might be Wilson’s story. He was a successful college quarterback that was drafted in the third round and managed to win over his coaches and teammates before grabbing the starting job in week one of the 2012 NFL season. A quarterback, who then went on to lead his team to one of the best regular season records in his franchises history. And finally, he’s a quarterback who led his team to victory in a wild card playoff game before turning in one of the all time great rookie performances in a divisional round loss. It’s been said many times that people love to see an underdog succeed. and Russell Wilson fits nicely into that role.
Another possible explanation for Wilson’s popularity can be explained by the last physical exam I had. Don’t worry, I’m only talking about the moment where the nurse told me I’m 5′ 9″ and I begged her to lie to me and say I’m 5’10″. Unfortunately my begging did not work.
The reason I’m bringing up this embarrassing story is to show how people might connect with Russell Wilson. Wilson is in no way average, but his average size and stature makes him identifiable to a wide array of sports fans. People are always excited to see a seemingly ordinary person do extraordinary things because it shows us all what we are capable of.
One more possibility for the growing buzz surrounding Russell Wilson may lie in his ability as a role model. Children are always going to look to athletes as their personal heroes. Thankfully, it appears Wilson is a person parents can be glad their kids look up to. Thus far in his career, he has consistently been recognized as an individual of high character with a great work ethic (the film room has been dubbed, “his office”).
Knowing this, it’s reasonable to assume that many parents are more than happy to outfit their kids in a Russell Wilson jersey. He has rapidly become a fine example of what hard work and dedication can accomplish.
No matter what the reason, Russell Wilson has quickly become one of the most popular players in franchise history. Provided he stays in the league for awhile, he will likely become a regular name on the “top selling jersey” list. Hopefully that top seller will always be a Seahawks jersey. While we’re at it, can we hope that my nurse will humor me by telling me I’m 5’10″? I didn’t think so.