How Many Titles Can We Expect From The Seahawks & Russell Wilson?

The NBA has obviously been on a lot of minds recently, with the Michael Jordan documentary (still haven’t seen it, still probably won’t see it) coming to a conclusion. When you think about the greatest players in NBA history – Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan, Shaq – you’re talking about guys with multiple championships (somehow, of the guys on that list, Bird has the fewest titles with three). One guy in the NBA can change things SO DRAMATICALLY for a franchise; you look at these players with their careers spanning 13-20 years and it would be fascinating to go back in time and be able to tell those fanbases: with this guy, you’re going to witness anywhere from 3-6 championships during his career.

It obviously doesn’t work that way in the NFL. The most important player is obviously the quarterback, and of the best all-time (since the merger in 1970), there have only been four NFL quarterbacks who’ve won more than 2 titles: Tom Brady (6), Joe Montana (4), Terry Bradshaw (4), and Troy Aikman (3) (I don’t count Steve Young here, because he was only the starter for one of his three championships).

For what it’s worth, you see A LOT of guys with 2: Peyton Manning, John Elway, Roger Staubach, Ben Roethlisberger; A LOT of guys with 1: Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Ken Stabler, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees; and A LOT of guys with 0: Fran Tarkenton, Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Philip Rivers.

In the middle of all of that, we have Russell Wilson with his one championship (the same number as Patrick Mahomes, probably the only quarterback most people would take over Russell Wilson if they had to start a franchise right now and could pick any player). Wilson is smack dab in the middle of his prime; he was the best he’s ever been in 2019, and we can expect right around that level of effectiveness for the next few years at least. He still hasn’t even surpassed 10 years in the league yet! And quarterbacks nowadays can play 20+ years.

But, it’s SO. FUCKING. HARD to win a championship in the NFL. Even for the very best players in the league! So much harder than it is for the very best NBA players. Which makes it reasonable to ask: how many more championships can we expect from Russell Wilson while he’s still in a Seahawks uniform? If Future Steven were to come back in time from 15 years down the line, how many Super Bowl titles would he be able to tell me I have to look forward to?

Odds are that number is ZERO! Odds are, I’ll have up to 15 more years with Russell Wilson (at the MOST; probably closer to only 10 more years) and I will see zero more championships for the Seattle Seahawks in that span. That feels just so damned demoralizing to think about, but that’s the nature of the beast. The Tom Bradys of the world are a once-in-a-generation breed. Wilson has played eight seasons; by this point in Brady’s career, he’d already won three championships. Montana had won twice. Bradshaw had also won twice and Aikman had nabbed all three of his. Wilson, again, just the one (and we’re all super-impressed that he’s already been to the Super Bowl a second time, but that fakakta play-call at the goalline obviously screwed the pooch).

I’m a firm believer that Russell Wilson will – when it’s all said and done – have a Hall of Fame career under his belt. That’s why I’m talking about him among these other all-time greats. I’m almost assuredly biased, but I think Wilson is a better player than all of those QBs I mentioned above who have one or fewer championships. I would like to think Wilson is among the elite level that Manning and Elway reached, which means I would HOPE he has at least one more title in him before he hangs ’em up.

If I’m right, then I think it’s reasonable to expect another Seahawks championship at some point in the next decade. Obviously, it’s unfair to put all of that on one guy; this is the NFL after all, there are 50+ other players on the team that need to pitch in to make this thing work. But, make no mistake, the quarterback gets all the credit and all the blame for a reason. The all-time greats find a way to come up big in the biggest moments. If Russell Wilson aims to be lumped in that category, then he’s going to need to find a way to take this team on his back and will them to victory.

I’ll say this: he’s on the right track. You can complain about play-calling and how the coaching staff is hamstringing him, but this is the organization we’ve got, and they’ve proven they can win in this league with their system. We’re not the Kansas City Chiefs, we’re not the New England Patriots; we’re the Seattle Fucking Seahawks, and Russell Wilson is being put in situations to succeed nearly every year. And, quite frankly, we haven’t been able to get it done in recent seasons. We haven’t been able to win enough regular season games to take the NFC West and lock down one of the top seeds in the conference, and we haven’t played our best on the road in these playoff games. At some point, we have to talk about Russell Wilson the way we talk about all of the other all-time greats, and stop making excuses. As everyone else needs to be better, so does Russell Wilson. Yes, he’s the best thing going for the Seahawks right now, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be better!

All I know is, I don’t want to wake up this time in 2030 and see the same number of championships next to Russell Wilson’s name. The clock is ticking. Yes, the Seahawks need to take advantage of Wilson’s prime, but you know who else does? Russell Wilson.

Who Was The Better Sonics Player: Tom Chambers, Spencer Haywood, or Dennis Johnson?

The last time I did one of these posts, it was over a month ago.  I’m still sitting on my post about the greatest Sonics by jersey number, but I had to get this other post out of the way first.  As I mentioned before, most of the numbers are easy to determine who wore it best.  #34 was a challenge, because Ray Allen and Xavier McDaniel were so close to one another, statswise.  Well, #24 is quite the bear itself, with three guys who were pretty damn good in a Sonics uniform.

A Scoring Machine

Another Scoring Machine

And A Champion

This one is tough for me, mostly because all three were before my time (“my time” started sometime in 1993).  So, like I did before, I’m going to work my table magic and provide the raw data needed to decipher this riddle.

Tom Chambers (PF) Spencer Haywood (PF) Dennis Johnson (SG)
Seasons 1983/1984 – 1987/1988 1970/1971 – 1974/1975 1976/1977 – 1979/1980
Games 393 326 323
Games Started 294 (unknown) (unknown)
Minutes Played 13,210 13,156 9,530
Minutes per Game 33.6 40.4 29.5
Points Scored 8,028 8,131 4,590
Points per Game 20.4 24.9 14.2
Field Goals 2,886/6,150 3,168/6,849 1,708/3,918
Field Goal % .469 .463 .436
Free Throws 2,150/2,603 1,795/2,207 1,162/1,572
Free Throw % .826 .813 .739
Three Pointers 106/336 (unknown) (unknown)
Three Point % .315 (unknown) (unknown)
Rebounds 2,577 3,954 1,884
Rebounds per Game 6.6 12.1 4.3
Assists 931 769 965
Assists per Game 2.4 2.4 3.0
Turnovers 1,123 (unknown) (unknown)
Turnovers per Game 2.9 (unknown) (unknown)
All Star Games 1 (1986-1987) 4 (1971/1975) 2 (1978/1980)
Team Record 187-223 190-220 195-133
Reg. Season Win % .456 .463 .595
Best Reg. Season Finish Third (2 times) Second (1 time) First (1 time)
Playoff Appearances 3 (Lost 1st Round 83/84, Lost in West Finals 86/87, Lost 1st Round 87/88) 1 (Lost 2nd Round 74/75) 3 (Lost in Finals 77/78, Won Championship 78/79, Lost in West Finals 79/80)

Obviously, we run into a problem comparing these three guys, since the powers that be didn’t keep very accurate stats before 1979, but I think this one is probably easier to determine than the Ray Allen/X-Man debate.

Now, if we were going by Best Overall Career, you have to look long and hard at Dennis Johnson.  The guy won three championships!  He was Finals MVP with the Sonics, he was in five All Star Games, and he received high marks for his defensive abilities throughout his career.  Unfortunately for him, this isn’t a question of who had the best career, but who has the best SONICS career.  And while he certainly gets a lot of credit for his overall team record, his 1979 NBA championship, and his teams’ performances in the playoffs, I don’t think he really makes a dent when it comes to the other two guys.  Primarily because he was a Sonics draft pick in 1976 and his first two seasons, statswise, weren’t all that impressive.  When you look at D.J. in a Sonics uniform, you look at his final two seasons, and then you see he went on to continue his solid, steady play for Phoenix and Boston for many years to come.

So, pretty much, this is a 2-man race between Tom Chambers and Spencer Haywood.  Haywood was a true superstar, known all over the country thanks to his lawsuit granting him admission into the NBA when it was illegal at the time for a player to bypass college (or simply wait less than 4 years from when they graduated high school).  And when he hit the scene with the Supersonics, he was a man on fire!  In his five seasons in Seattle, he averaged nearly 25 points a game and a hair over 12 rebounds.  Granted, he wasn’t on the best of Sonics teams, but he did lead them to their first-ever playoff appearance in 1975.

Chambers, on the other hand, was much lesser-known.  The Sonics grabbed him from the San Diego Clippers and he sort of had an up & down tenure with the Sonics.  BUT, his 86/87 season (where he won All Star Game MVP when they played in the Kingdome), alongside Dale Ellis and Xavier McDaniel was a thing of beauty:  23 points, 6 and a half boards, 3 assists, all while helping this team reach the Western Conference Finals (where they lost to Magic, Kareem, Worthy and the eventual NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers, 4-0).  Nevertheless, his overall career with the Sonics (more playoff appearances, better field goal percentage & free throw percentage than Haywood) isn’t anything to sneer at.

One could argue the Sonics never used Chambers properly, as he would go on to have his two very-best seasons upon signing as a free agent with the Phoenix Suns (averaging 26.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, while shooting 48.6% from the field), but that’s neither here nor there.  As an individual, I have to confirm that the best player to wear the jersey number 24 for the Seattle Supersonics was indeed Spencer Haywood.

Haywood went to the All Star Game in his final four seasons with the Sonics (compared to just one for Chambers).  He was Seattle’s first true superstar.  Hell, he’s the only one of the three to have his jersey number retired!  And, really, he gave all he had to the Seattle Sonics.  After he was traded to the Knicks in 1975, he was never the same.  Declining skills, but especially injuries, forced him into being a role player.  He finally got his ring, with the 1980 Los Angeles Lakers, while only playing 20 minutes a game (and averaging under 10 points for the first time in his career).

As far as the Seattle stats are concerned between the two, Haywood has it all over Chambers.  Yes, points, but also rebounds.  That rebounding discrepancy is HUGE.  He also averaged more minutes (and, I would wager, probably started more games).  The field goal and free throw percentages aren’t all that different from one another.  And Chambers shooting 30% from behind the arc (compared to Haywood’s near 0%) isn’t enough to tip the scales.  I’d rather have the guy who almost never shoots a three because he knows he can’t make it, over the guy who shoots poorly (as all of his three point attempts would surely be ill-advised).

So, that’s that.  Spencer Haywood, #24.  One helluva Sonics player.