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Russell Wilson: Master and Commander

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In a scene from the first film Iron Man, which I believe by far is still the best of the three, billionaire weapons inventor/industrialist Tony Stark is about to give a presentation to top military brass at a location outside of Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. This is, before he becomes Iron Man. And just before giving a demonstration of his newly advanced missile system, he begins with a speech in which he opens by asking, "Is it better to be feared, or respected and I say, is it too much to ask for both?"

Were the Seattle Seahawks ever both feared and respected throughout the 2013 NFL regular season, or even up to the day before the Super Bowl? But see that also begs a follow-up question. Were there ever a moment when the man who helms the Seattle Seahawks' offense was both feared and respected throughout the 2013 NFL regular season, or even up to the day before the Super Bowl?

Well, at least sports columnist Peter Schrager of FOX Sports had gone on record that he recanted. And he didn't even wait till after the Super Bowl was over on February 2, 2014, or on the next day. His recant came the day before on Saturday, February 1, 2014 in his well-written web article titled, "Super Bowl XLVIII Cheat Sheet: It's time to believe in Seattle."

Much had been spoken of and written about quarterback Russell Wilson's five-eleven height, although some have said he's shorter than that at five-ten. And this went on, ad infinitum. On the other hand, much had been spoken of and written about quarterback Peyton Manning, his records on passing yards stats, touchdowns, and completions. And of course there's the mentioning of his legacy, which it is said he frowned upon whenever hearing, all leading up to the Super Bowl.

Then there are Peyton Manning's awards, among them, being awarded his fifth career NFL MVP Award on the day before the Super Bowl. Furthermore, much had been spoken of about his ability to read defenses, especially by a former NFL coach while a guest on ESPN's SportsCenter. And the way I heard him describe this about Peyton Manning, you'd think the Denver Broncos quarterback was also some Cray supercomputer, who is able to sight multiple threats from the defense in nanoseconds before his quick release of the football. Now all of such, is well-deserved for the outstanding individual that Peyton Manning is.

But it appeared to me that is, that there were just an inordinate amount of media coverage not only on the Broncos but also on Peyton Manning that was lopsided, versus the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson immediately after both teams had won their championships. Excluding if you will, what was endlessly covered of the Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman's boast shortly after.

Again this does not in any way fault Peyton Manning. He cannot control the media. But only that it appeared to me, that there were people whose sentiments had reached a level of deifying Peyton Manning. Such as one former NFL coach on SportsCenter, who had described the Denver Broncos quarterback's height of six-five as if he came from central casting. Whereas, Seattle safety Earl Thomas had said in the recent Sports Illustrated February 10, 2014 issue in an article titled "XLVIII Super Bowl Champions - Angry Birds" by S.L. Price on page 36, "But I want to prove to everybody around that he's just a man. Omaha."

There's a scene from the film Moneyball where assistant Peter Brand, acted by Jonah Hill, talks to General Manager of the Oakland A's baseball team Billy Beane, acted by Brad Pitt, about choosing baseball players. It's where Peter Brands says, "People are overlooked for a variety of reasons and perceived flaws, age, appearance, personality. Bill James (baseball statistician) and mathematics cuts straight through that." Then he concludes:

Billy, of the 20,000 notable players for us to consider, I believe that there's a championship team of 25 people that we can afford. Because everyone else in baseball undervalues them, like an island of misfit toys.

And it's this term 'misfits,' that is also mentioned within Nancy Armour's USA TODAY SPORTS article Monday February 3, 2014 titled, "Carroll's inexperienced Seahawks stifle doubters, Broncos Offense." For within the article on page 4C cornerback Richard Sherman is quoted as saying, "We're a bunch of misfits." That is, in referring to those Seattle Seahawks players who were overlooked or also perceived not worth signing on to other NFL teams. This could also just as well refer to hiring situations, of anyone perceived as a misfit as suggested by Peter Brand, in today's market place.

Recently while a guest on Gruden's QB Camp, hosted by former NFL coach Jon Gruden on ESPN, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson answered a question about how difficult it was to learn the University of Wisconsin's system of play, after having left North Carolina State. Or did he manage to keep both in his head? He said he easily kept both. This suggested to me at least, that instead of being mentally, deductively methodical, that he's ambidextrous.

Also, Jon Gruden asks Russell Wilson, "What about this Russell Wilson, what kind of a leader am I going to get out of that guy?" Russell Wilson smiles while he replies, "Every time I get into a huddle, it's all about having confidence, poise and determination." So he answered that, about being a leader and not about being 'a game manager.'

This was why I was so happy about sportscaster Joe Buck in his talk with fellow sportscaster and former NFL great Troy Aikman, during Super Bowl XLVIII. And coincidentally I also chose him, along with Peyton Manning, as one of my 10 honorable mentions in my previous HuffPost blog titled, "The Seattle Seahawks: Incontestable Dominance and Honorable Mentions." For it was at a moment during the game that Joe Buck stated that he found the label 'game manager' as derogatory and unfairly placed upon Russell Wilson. Because frankly, any quarterback would find it derogatory.

There's a very good web article titled, "The Difference Between Managers and Leaders," on May 29, 2013 by Ilya Pozin, CEO and founder of Open Me, a social greeting card company. Within the article he states, "Every leader may not be a manager, but every manager should be a leader." And then later, he gives forth five differences. Now this is not to say the world does not need managers because good managers are needed. But in article after article of differences between leaders and managers, there is usually listed one key difference at least, and that's the ability to take risks as a leader. That of which, is called upon by a quarterback. For as retired Starfleet captain James T. Kirk had said to a young Starfleet captain on his first voyage in the film Star Trek: Generations, "Risk is part of the game if you want to sit in that chair."

And now that Super Bowl XLVIII is over, people will now have to grapple with at least one unassailable fact. And that is this: that it took Peyton Manning nine years before he had won a Super Bowl since the start of his rookie season in 1998 with the Indianapolis Colts, winning in 2007 against the Chicago Bears. Yes, you cannot place it all upon his shoulders. But the sports world can be a less forgiving lot. Whereas, it took Russell Wilson only two years before he had won a Super Bowl since he began his rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, all with the help of his fellow players that he so readily praises, as a leader, all an island of misfits.

 
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