All of the talk about rookie quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL season surrounds the Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck and Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III, the top two overall picks in the draft and the Offensive Rookie of the Year favorites.
However there is another rookie leading his team on a playoff drive and putting up better numbers than Luck and RG3 in some cases: Seattle’s Russell Wilson, a third-round pick out of Wisconsin. Wilson had a terrific collegiate career at NC State and then for one season as a transfer player with the Badgers. He was considered too small to be a top NFL prospect at 5-foot-11, and that’s considered a rather generous measurement. Why the Seahawks took Wilson at all in the draft was somewhat of a surprise because they had just given big free-agent dollars to former Packers backup Matt Flynn, who was penciled in for the starting job.
However, Coach Pete Carroll surprised everyone by naming Wilson his starter in training camp, and the QB has the Seahawks at 8-5 (9-4 ATS) and in control of their playoff destiny entering Week 15. Seattle finishes with two of its final three games at home, where it is unbeaten this year (6-0 ATS) thanks in part to a controversial Hail Mary call on a Wilson TD by the replacement officials in a Monday night game against Green Bay.
Wilson is the seventh-rated quarterback in the NFL and has more touchdown passes (20) than either Griffin III or Luck. Ironically, the Colts planned to draft Wilson later in the third round of the 2012 draft to back up Luck. Plus the Redskins had plans to take Wilson if he was available in the fourth round to back up Griffin. It was the Seahawks who pounced first (No. 75 overall).
No rookie quarterback has won a Super Bowl, and it would be difficult for Wilson as the Seahawks will likely face three straight road games to get out of the NFC. Seattle is just 2-5 on the road (3-4 ATS) in 2012. Wilson’s road quarterback rating of 80.7 is nearly 40 points lower than his home number, and he has eight road interceptions compared to one at home. Seattle is currently 20/1 to win Super Bowl XLVII – ahead of teams like the Ravens, Steelers and Bears – and 17/2 to win the NFC.
This is Carroll’s third year as coach and Seattle has yet to finish with a winning record, going 7-9 his first two seasons. However, the Seahawks did make the 2010 playoffs with that mark, becoming the first NFL team to win a division title with a losing record. They upset the New Orleans Saints in the wild-card round but were beaten the next week in Chicago.
The Seahawks franchise has reached one Super Bowl, losing SB XL at Ford Field in Detroit 21-10 to Pittsburgh, which was a four-point favorite (total 47). Seattle was plagued by mistakes and penalties in the game but only trailed 14-10 entering the fourth quarter. The backbreaker was a Hines Ward 43-yard touchdown pass from Steelers receiver Antwaan Randle El on a trick play with 9:04 left. It was the first TD pass in Super Bowl history by a receiver, and Ward would be named MVP. The Seahawks’ Mike Holmgren failed in his attempt to become the first coach to win Super Bowls with two franchises as back in 1997 he won with the Green Bay Packers.