Will Russell Wilson Be A Hall Of Famer?

It feels insane to even ask this. Even one year ago, I would’ve told you, “Absolutely, 100%!” But, after that 2022 season, it’s probably a fair question. I mean, shit, people are going to debate Eli Manning’s worthiness up until (and probably even after) he gets in, and the dude won two Super Bowls and is in the top ten of all time passing yardage leaders; you don’t think people are going to debate someone as polarizing as Russell Wilson?

If Russell Wilson was having this career 30 years ago, it’d be a no-brainer. He’d already be a lock to get into the Hall of Fame. But, times have clearly changed. Guys are passing for more and more yards; it’s easier than ever to be an NFL quarterback! I no longer think it’s a simple matter of hanging around for a long time and passing for a ton of yards. I think you need titles, plural. I think you need an MVP or two. I think you need to make a significant impact upon the NFL, ideally with playoff appearances and victories.

Let’s take Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan, for instance. Both have thrown for over 60,000 yards; only 8 players have ever done so (Aaron Rodgers will be the 9th, if he plays again next year). There’s even a legitimate question about those two guys, though! Ryan has one Super Bowl appearance (that he famously lost), and Rivers doesn’t even have that. Ryan probably has a little bit of an edge, given that he was the Rookie of the Year and later an MVP, but he’s also only cracked the Pro Bowl four times in his career, and has had plenty of infuriating and underwhelming seasons to his credit.

Wilson, right now, sits at 21 in total passing yards with 40,583. Even if he just repeats his abysmal 2022 season, he’ll get to around 18th in 2023. He’s only 34 years old and has every intention of playing until he’s 40 or beyond. Presumably, even it if means bouncing from team to team, taking whatever chances to start that he can get. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t get to at least 50,000 yards passing, and if he does find a way to start for another six years, that probably gets him over the hump of 60,000. But, again, will that – and one title – be enough?

We’ll have to take into consideration what the league looks like by the time Wilson hangs ’em up. Mahomes will be skyrocketing up the passing yardage rankings, as will Burrow, Allen, Herbert, and maybe even Lawrence. He almost certainly will have played an entire career without so much as an MVP vote, let alone an MVP award. And, with the way he’s playing as he ages, I’m finding it harder and harder to believe he’s got another ring in him. The longer that goes on, the more people are going to recognize that 2013 Seahawks team for what it was: the genius of Pete Carroll and John Schneider, and the dominance of Marshawn Lynch and the L.O.B. It’s already swinging back in that direction after years of trying to shoehorn Wilson in there as the catalyst (of which I bought in as much as anyone).

And then there’s the Popularity Contest part of the Hall of Fame voting. You need a media person to plead your case to the committee. Is he well liked by the media? Given his boring, robotic quotes in literally every single interview, I’m guessing not. Is he liked at all? If Kyle Brandt’s not-even-hot take is at all representative of the greater American football media, it wouldn’t shock me if Wilson doesn’t have someone champing at the bit to vouch for him. Jake Heaps isn’t even on the radio anymore, for crying out loud!

I’ll admit, I’m really torn. There’s part of me that wants to see Russell Wilson succeed again, but I think in general I’m going to have a hard time rooting for him in a Broncos uniform. I think a lot of that has to do with me just not liking that particular team. I also have very little love for the Walmart family just based on their business practices alone. But, there’s also that need for the Seahawks to be correct in their decision-making. If Russell Wilson bounces back and leads the Broncos to the Super Bowl, that makes them look better than us. But, if he bounces back with his next team, then we’re an organization removed from this trade, and I can start to see myself rooting for a Wilson comeback (unless he returns to the NFC West to play for one of our rivals, then fuck him).

If I just take the last couple years out of it and stick to the good ol’ days, there are a TON of fond memories. All I would have to do is search Russell Wilson Seahawks Highlights on YouTube and there’d be countless compilation videos of him doing amazing, wonderful, magical things. You look at the Seahawks’ records in those seasons, you look at his records on the stat sheet, it all boils down to the best quarterback this organization has ever had.

When Russell Wilson retires, I’m sure we’ll get right back there. But, you can’t disregard what’s gone down the last two years. His vocal discontent in the media. His talking about a trade demand, followed by the next offseason actually following through on that demand. The way he made things miserable for this organization in his final season here. The way every contract he signed hamstrung this team in ways Tom Brady’s never has. Our worst nightmare – once it became clear Wilson was a star in this league – was him turning into a Me First diva. That’s exactly what happened, and it made the Seahawks actively worse as a result.

It’s not totally unforgivable, but it’s going to take some time to get over. You learn a lot about what kind of guy someone is the longer he stays around with the same team. I think we wanted to desperately to believe Russell Wilson was infallible, that we couldn’t see he was actually the cancer in this organization all along.

But, getting back to the original question, I would say right now, he is not a hall of famer. If he doesn’t win another title, he probably needs another 10-15 thousand more yards. And, even if he does manage to win one more, I’m guessing it’ll be more about the team around him than what he’s able to do slinging the ball. If that’s the case, I think he’s Eli 2.0, and it might take him a while to get over the hump.

Then again, he got his ultimate wish of having Sean Payton becoming his head coach, so I definitely won’t rule out a crazy Russell Wilson Second Act!

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