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Jan. 17, 2022

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Micah Rice: Wilson reveals himself just a bit

Commentary: Micah Rice

By , Columbian Sports Editor

SEATTLE — You don’t often see him in public, but he’s there.

He sometimes gets lost behind the polished positivity of a press conference or an insurance commercial.

He’s often hidden by a prodigious football pedigree that has seen him win more NFL games in his first three seasons than any other quarterback.

But he’s there — Russell Wilson the human being.

We saw two shades of that man on Sunday.

On the football field, Wilson was all too human for most of the NFC Championship against Green Bay.

He threw four interceptions and couldn’t lead Seattle’s offense to a first down until seven minutes remained in the second quarter. That was four minutes before he completed his first pass.

But after leading one of the most improbable comebacks in NFL postseason history in Sunday, Wilson was the most genuinely human we’ve seen him be.

27 Photos
Seattle Seahawks players celebrate after winning thel NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Seattle.
Packers at Seahawks, NFC championship game Photo Gallery

On the field with confetti pouring down and NFC Championship T-shirts being passed around, Wilson wept.

He wept while taking about the “honor” of playing with his teammates. He wept when talking about his father. He wept while talking about God.

Team, family and God. They’re not new themes for Wilson to talk about.

But the raw emotion we saw from Wilson on Sunday was.

That’s what the roller-coaster that was Sunday’s NFC Championship will do to even the most even-keeled athletes.

But there was more to it for Wilson. For once, he let us peek behind his steeled curtain.

Wilson already has one Super Bowl ring. In the offseason, there’s a good chance he could become the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback. With a playoff record that is now 6-1, he has beaten the best in the game on the biggest stages.

But in the past year he also went through a divorce. More influential, however, he still mourns the loss of his father, who died in 2010 at age 55.

“Just thinking about that game but, I don’t know, just the ups and downs of life in the past year,” Wilson said. “I think about my dad right away. I wish he was here. But he’s got the best seat in the house.”

Wilson’s resiliency isn’t often lauded. Seattle’s defense has played so well over the past two seasons that he’s rarely in a position where he must mount a late rally.

But when he has to be, Wilson is one tough cookie.

Tony Dungy has been around some great quarterbacks, having coached Indianapolis and Peyton Manning to a Super Bowl win in 2006.

Resiliency is one of the first things Dungy praised when asked about Wilson on Sunday in the CenturyLink Field press box.

“The first time I ever saw him was in the (2012) Rose Bowl,” Dungy said. “They lost, but at the end of the game he led Wisconsin right down the field, just like he did today. I knew then, that kid is special.”

From looking so lost in the first half, the touch on Wilson’s passes were nearly perfect in the second half and overtime. He dropped in a touch pass on a wheel route to Marshawn Lynch to set up the touchdown that brought Seattle within striking distance.

He showed similar finesse on a 35-yard lob to Doug Baldwin on third-and-7 on the game’s next-to-last play.

His 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse that ended the game was perfectly thrown despite tight coverage.

In two-plus minutes and the overtime, Wilson changed the whole offseason narrative for the Seahawks. A loss Sunday would have cast a pall over the season and ushered in an offseason of questions, especially after Sunday’s mostly abysmal showing on offense.

Now, the Seahawks will try to become the first repeat Super Bowl champions since New England in 2003-04.

Perhaps we should no longer be surprised when Wilson does something extraordinary. But then a moment comes along to remind us that he is, after all, human.

And that’s makes what Wilson and this Seahawks team did on Sunday all the more remarkable.