3 reasons to be thankful for Russell Wilson. Seriously.

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

For ten years, Russell Wilson was at the helm as the play-caller for the Seattle Seahawks. In the 2022 offseason, Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos, and Hawks Nation bid farewell to one of the franchise’s greatest players.

With such a long tenure, Seahawks fans were expected to miss the 33-year-old quarterback, however, the 12s seem happy about his departure. It looked like he was entering a possible decline in 2021, putting up some of his lowest numbers since his early seasons with 259 completions and 3,113 yards. In addition to a dip in performance, his off-the-field antics left a sour taste in some fans’ mouths.

After preaching how he wanted to stay with the Seahawks and having a no-trade clause in his contract, Wilson continuously preached about being willing to be traded to one of the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders, and the Chicago Bears. Even with his list, he waived his no-trade clause to head to the Mile High City.

With all the chatter about Wilson’s time outside of Seattle dominating the conversation around him, there are some reasons for Seahawks fans to be thankful for Wilson during his time with Seattle and out of the Emerald City.

Super Bowl XLVIII wouldn’t have happened without Russell Wilson

No, Wilson was not the primary reason the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII. In fact, his two touchdowns in that contest came after leading 29-0. However, Wilson was still a huge factor in getting the team to the Super Bowl. He elevated receivers Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and especially Jermaine Kearse to perform in the game’s toughest moments.

In Kearse’s second year in the league, he grabbed 134 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs in 2013, including the touchdown to give the Seahawks the lead in the 2013 NFC championship game against the 49ers. 2013 was arguably Baldwin’s best postseason, where he grabbed 202 yards over the three game span. During week nine of the 2013 regular season, Tate caught one of his most memorable catches from Wilson, taunting defensive back Rodney McLeod.

Yes, the Legion of Boom was a significant reason for the Seahawks’ success in both Super Bowl runs. The team’s offense was led by Beast Mode in Marshawn Lynch. However, to give Beast Mode some running room, Wilson’s ability to make big plays down the field made a bigger impact than most would realize.

In 2013, Wilson had a passer rating of 101.2, threw for 3,357 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also rushed for 539 yards and one touchdown, where he began to explore his dual-threat abilities. According to Pro Football Reference, Wilson was ranked 16th in passing for quarterbacks. In just his second season, that boded pretty well for the signal caller at the time. Although a stout defense and powerful running back truly led the way, the team’s passing game wouldn’t have been the same without Wilson’s big play ability.

Let Russ Cook led to iconic moments

According to Sports King, “Let Russ Cook” is a catchphrase that showed just how much Seahawks fans wanted Wilson to throw the ball early and often. After imploring a run-first offense for most of Wilson’s tenure, head coach Pete Carroll listened to the fans after a disappointing loss in the 2018 NFC Wild Card playoff game. Although a low-scoring affair, the run-first scheme dominated Wilson’s trying abilities to make big plays in the air. He missed a big opportunity to Baldwin right before halftime of the game, which could have shifted the tide for the Seahawks.

In 2019 and 2020, Wilson put up 4,110 and 4,212 yards up respectively, throwing 31 and 40 touchdowns in each year. He gave iconic moments like this dart to Freddie Swain in the closing seconds of a close game. It didn’t lead to a victory, but it did give the Seahawks some hope in a game that was seemingly lost. Wilson had a career-high 40 touchdowns in 2020. When the reigns were off, Wilson was able to deliver big in the biggest of moments.

In his career, he delivered on 27 fourth-quarter comebacks, including 35 game-winning drives. In 2019, Wilson had five such feats, the most in one season of his career. Russell Wilson also had four postseason fourth-quarter comebacks, each one coming on a game-winning drive. When down in the fourth, and needing a win, Wilson was one of the clutchest players to grace the field.

Russell Wilson’s current performance is benefiting the Seahawks

After his departure, Seahawks fans boo’ed Russell Wilson in his return to Seattle during week one of the 2022 NFL season, and are also reaping off his failures for the Broncos. In the trade that brought Drew Lock, Noah Fant, Shelby Harris and draft picks to Seattle, the talk of the town is now the 2023 pick from the Broncos. With the Broncos doing worse with Wilson under center, the Seahawks have a better chance of a higher draft pick alongside regular season success.

At the time of writing, the Broncos are 3-7, tied with the Las Vegas Raiders at the bottom of the AFC West. The Seahawks are sitting second in the NFC West, tied with the 49ers with a 6-4 record. Few thought the Seahawks would have a better record than the Broncos at this point in the season, as it was thought to be a “rebuilding” season.

With quarterback Geno Smith leading the team with a top passer rating, two elite receivers in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, and up-and-coming running back Kenneth Walker III proving his chops, the Seahawks are sitting pretty with a chance at a top pick coming in 2023. The defense has been improving every week, while the Broncos have been blowing fourth-quarter leads or are unable to come back after being down. Wilson has turned into the opposite of the player he once was.

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Former teammate Richard Sherman had some choice words about Wilson’s recent performances, and even though he is a great passer and clutch performer, sometimes it might just be better to hand it off to the team’s bruising running back. While maybe not intentional, Wilson’s performance is still helping the Seahawks out, one blown fourth-quarter loss at a time.