Let Russ Cook? No, Let Russ Live

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 08: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks stands on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field on August 8, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie/Getty Images)

When Russell Wilson got unflatteringly smash-sandwiched between Ciara and Roger Goodell, talking to each other, over him, Wilson had a sour look on his face. Wilson steaming, while his seat mates conversed vivaciously, all during an extended and weirdly specific high-resolution cutaway shot normally reserved for panning through the raucous crowd at the Super Bowl, I felt a deeply sharpening unsettled chill. Wilson was not only heated, furious; he was cynical. Wilson looked like he wanted to leave. I said, “Bet he wishes he were playing down there right now.” 

Then a distant and visceral but vicarious alarum howled in my thought stream – pure panic – when Wilson confirmed about as much as I suspected, during a now infamous interview with Dan Patrick this last week. In no minced words, whatsoever, Wilson said, “There’s a picture of Ciara and Roger talking; I’m sitting there pissed off. I’m watching this game, wishing that I was in there playing. I think that ultimately you watch the games, you want to do everything you can to be there. That’s why we play this game.”

And that is just the tip of the iceberg because Russell Wilson is a god among mere mortals. Wilson is clearly a far more powerful god among other football gods, and quarterbacks, absolutely too. And yeah, sure, there is but only the one grand Super Bowl victory to his name. Yet Wilson also has more regular season wins than any other quarterback in history – including recent Hall of Fame inductee, Peyton Manning – through his first nine seasons: 98. Wilson’s career playoff record is not pedestrian, nor is not Mahomes or Brady caliber: 9-7. And, so – yes, he’s slightly flawed, alright, but a world class superstar athlete. All things considered, nationwide, the number 3, adorned in Seahawks regalia, that fantastically handsome, navy and rave green, will indubitably signal an endorphin rush in many NFL fans’ brains at once, as we all know we can’t help but haul up and blurt out the catch phrase, “Let Russ Cook.” 

Before we go any further, I have to throw your eyes and minds through Wilson’s outrageously extra-long, impressive resume details. (And I’ll do it again later because you should know about it all.) I’m doing this so we can agree we know who exactly, again, we’re talking about, not just on paper, sports and social media – but on the field. (The best of all time.)

Wikipedia, ESPN and the many NFL websites claim and agree, that in Wilson’s NFL career to date his primary quarterback numbers are excellent. 

Passing attempts: 4,335
Passing completions: 2,820 
Completion %:  65.1 
Passing yards: 33,946 
TD–INT: 267–81 
Passer rating: 101.7 
Rushing yards: 4,506 
Rushing touchdowns: 21

And all of this is good enough to have earned the following accolades:

Super Bowl champion (XLVIII), 8× Pro Bowl (2012–2015, 2017–2020), Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2020), 3× Steve Largent Award (2012, 2018, 2019), NFL passer rating leader (2015), NFL passing touchdowns leader (2017), NFL Rookie of the Year (2012)

The man is decorated, and beyond reproach, from a purely competitive perspective. Even the pseudo-sonorous catchphrase, “Let Russ Cook” implies Russell Wilson is so remarkably swift on the ground, on the move, anytime danger is afoot; and he is so agile, elusive, impossible to pin down, bring down, tackle, and sack – and that basically hitting Wilson hard cannot or does not happen because he’s too good at what he does. Nicknames are sales pitches when we distill their root impulse. Wilson’s now clever swaggering catch phrase proclaims exactly the opposite of what Russell Wilson only recently hinted at, alluded to, and suggested during an interview with sports commentator, Dan Patrick. (I’m sure you know what I’m talking about if you’re reading this.) But just to recap the now infamous, click-baiting interview transcript, Russell Wilson’s words were instantly hyperbolized after a (very highly sought out and googled, I’m sure…) Dan Patrick segment aired. And for a thirty six hour window of time while I watched college basketball and NBA games, ESPN ran ticker tape quotes of Wilson’s words hinting at not leaving, but reconsidering his career path – and more or less finally putting his foot down to request backup, protection, safety, security, good health (and a longer life once he retires) under the clanking, cloaked style of player interview rhetoric that says, our team must win this way because it’s the best way to win, look at what Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning have had in strengthening their side, part, portion of a football team’s community building and player acquisition strategy. Then Wilson said to Patrick, “I want to be able to be involved, because at the end of the day, it’s your legacy, it’s your team’s legacy, it’s the guys you get to go into the huddle with — and at the end of the day, those guys you’ve got to trust.”

And just like that, Wilson broke the NFL offseason news cycle, and dominated the now Matthew Stafford-less quarterback carousel conversation that features a list of names including but not limited to, Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rogers, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, and Sam Darnold – all because of not just his recent complaints, but we could then remind everyone of Wilson’s staggering on field accolades. 

So now, I beg you, if you’re a Seahawks fan at all, read then hold this list sacred, because it is beloved by stat heads, sports writers and avid fans for one good reason – it is gospel. It does not befit any other hype loaded terms than, football miracle, gift from the football gods, the greatest, etc.

Wilson has accomplished the following: Most passing yards in a playoff game by a rookie: 385, Most regular season wins by a quarterback in his first two seasons (24); First quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards and rush for at least 100 yards in a single game (vs. the St. Louis Rams on October 19, 2014), Most touchdown passes thrown through first three games of a season: 14 (2020), Most touchdown passes thrown through first four games of a season: 16 (tied with Peyton Manning) (2020), Most touchdown passes thrown through first six games of a season: 22 (tied with Peyton Manning) (2020), Most games with at least one passing touchdown, single season (tied with twelve other players): 16, 2015, Most consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions: 5, 2015, Fourth-highest passer rating, career (minimum 1,500 attempts): 101.7, First and the only quarterback to have a passer rating of 128.3 or higher in five consecutive games, First and the only quarterback in NFL history to have 4,000+ passing yards, 30+ passing touchdowns, and 500+ rushing yards in the same season (2015). And the first African American quarterback to start in multiple Super Bowls. 

So when Wilson said if that he gets hit hard again soon, (and he’s got a good point because he’s been pressured, hurried, hit and sacked more than any other quarterback through his first decade in the league) he’s going to consider a trade request, was the implication, at least. He sat through a clarifying, follow up interview with reporters via Zoom and said, “Like any player, you never want to get hit. That’s the reality of playing this position; ask any quarterback who wants to play this game… But at the same time, it’s part of the job and everything else. I think that the reality is that I’ve definitely been hit. I’ve been sacked almost 400 times, so we’ve got to get better. I’ve got to find ways to get better too.”

Read between the lines here, Wilson has made an ultimatum clear: save my body or I abandon everyone aboard this flagship, marquee, fantastic NFL franchise. 

At five foot eleven and change, Wilson is still head and shoulders above any and all Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks to have come before him. He is the best thing this franchise has ever discovered, drafted, developed, invested in, and most obvious to you and I, has right now, ready to win.

Unparalleled – uncanny, and actually unimaginable just one decade ago – are the countless statistical gold nuggets to support the theory Hawks Nation will never pay witness to this superlative quality of excellence at the quarterback position for the rest of our football loving lives. 

So for the love of the Football Gods, let this extraordinary brilliance lend the Seahawks front office some good sense this off season, because it does not, and cannot get better than this, so far as Hawks Nation knows or can imagine. The grass is not greener with anyone else under center at Lumen Field. Number 3 must call shots, make plays, and calls in the front office and in our backfield because he deserves it. Give the man whatever he wants, please, and stop making him beg for his life and body and mind in public. This is ridiculous. I should not have to say, Let Russ Cook now must emphatically signal and mean Let Russ Live, but I am and I hope, along with millions in Hawks Nation, I never have to repeat this doofy, fun, weird, heavy-handed tagline ever again. 

About Jackson Pappin 38 Articles
Jackson Pappin is a freelance writer. A 2018 WSU Edward R. Murrow College of Communication alumni, he writes fiction, journalism, columns, essays and poetry. His work has been published in Anastamos, The Oregonian, The Spokesman Review, The Seattle P.I. Reader Blogs, The Daily Evergreen, The Central Circuit, LandEscapes and at the Spectra Art Gallery. His writing is available at https://jacksonpappin.blogspot.com

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