Take a moment and think about how fantastic Russell Wilson has been since entering the league in 2012. Wilson has made play after play during his nine-year career. But, has he ever been the top player, or even the top quarterback in any given season?
The league MVP award is given to the player who is considered “most valuable” to his team. In recent years, the award may be given based more on numbers.
But, when talking Russell Wilson, I don’t think a player gets much more valuable to his team.
We all know what Wilson did last year. He was in the running for league MVP for a good majority of the season until Lamar Jackson ran away with the award late in the year.
Weirdly enough, Wilson has never received a single vote for MVP, entering 2020.
In light of Wilson’s play this year, let’s look back at some of his best seasons as a Seahawk to see if he deserved any MVP votes in years past.
Before turning the page backwards, we have to look at this season. Obviously, the 2020 NFL season is not yet finished. That said, Russell Wilson has come out of the gate firing on all cylinders. Through five games, Wilson has amassed 1,502 yards, 19 touchdowns, and only three interceptions so far. He is completing a career-high 73% of his passes, and has the Seattle Seahawks sitting at 5-0 on top of the loaded NFC West. If Wilson can keep this pace throughout the season, there is no reason why he won’t be the MVP at the end of the year — or at least get a vote for the first time in his career.
Russell Wilson has been an MVP-caliber player throughout his career as a Seahawk. To think no one has even given Wilson a vote for the award is mind boggling. Hopefully, Wilson turns the corner this year and gets the recognition he deserves.
Russell Wilson’s 2019 stat line was 4,110 yards, 34 total touchdowns, and only five interceptions, while completing 66% of his passes. All of that while carrying the Seattle Seahawks to an 11-5 record, and getting them into the playoffs. Is this not enough to warrant at least a single MVP vote?
In comparison, Lamar Jackson threw for 3,127 yards, and tallied 43 total touchdowns to only six interceptions. Jackson also ran for a record breaking 1,206 yards, shattering Michael Vick’s previous record for rushing yards by a quarterback. The Ravens were also a league-best 14-2. There is no doubt Jackson deserved this MVP award, but at the same time, Wilson deserved at least a vote.
The 2018 NFL season was a little different than most. Patrick Mahomes earned the 2018 NFL MVP award with 5,097 passing yards, 52 total touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, while completing 66% of his passes. Mahomes did all this while leading Kansas City to a 12-4 record in his first year as a starting quarterback. The Chiefs also went to the AFC Conference Championship round, and fell just a game short of reaching the Super Bowl.
Mahomes obviously had an incredible season for a quarterback, but let’s also look at the runner-up.
Quarterback Drew Brees finished second in the MVP race, and for good reason. Brees threw for 3,992 yards, 32 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. Brees had a 74.4% completion percentage, while leading the Saints to a 13-3 record. Patrick Mahomes certainly was on a different level during the 2018 season, but did Russell Wilson do enough to warrant at least a vote during that season?
Wilson’s stat line was very similar to Dree Brees during the 2018 season. Wilson threw for a then-career-high 3,448 yards, 35 passing touchdowns to only seven interceptions. He completed just under 66% of his throws and led Seattle to a 10-6 record on the season. I would say Wilson’s year was very similar to Brees’ year, and should’ve been enough to warrant at least one MVP vote.
The 2017 league MVP was none other than quarterback Tom Brady. Brady was deserving of the award, throwing for 4,577 yards, and 32 touchdowns to eight interceptions, while completing 66.3% of his passes. Brady led the Patriots to a 13-3 record. No doubt, Brady was the clear winner, but consider the runners-up in the race: Todd Gurley and Carson Wentz.
Todd Gurley had his best season as a pro, racking up 1,305 rushing yards and 788 receiving yards, while scoring a league-high 19 total touchdowns. For his efforts, Gurley received eight MVP votes.
Carson Wentz threw for 3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He completed 60.2% of his passes and led the Philadelphia Eagles to 11 of their 13 wins. However, Wentz was also injured and wasn’t able to finish the season after playing 13 games, with the Eagles going 2-1 without him.
Both Wentz and Gurley had great 2017 campaigns, but Russell Wilson also had a great season in his own right. Wilson threw for 3,983 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He also completed 61.3% of his passes and led Seattle to a 9-7 record. In addition, Wilson ran for 586 yards, which marked the second-highest rushing total for a season in his career, and three rushing touchdowns. This gave Wilson 37 total touchdowns on the season. His 2017 season was not his best, but it was another great season for Wilson, and definitely could have received at least one of Wentz’s two votes that year.
Finally, the 2015 NFL season. Cam Newton had his best year as a pro in 2015, and ultimately won the MVP award. Newton had 4,473 total yards with 45 total touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. He also completed 59.7% of his passes, and led the Carolina Panthers to a league best 15-1 record. No doubt, this was Newton’s MVP award, but could Russell Wilson have gotten a vote over the other runners-up?
Both Tom Brady and Carson Palmer received one vote apiece for MVP during the 2015 season. Brady threw for 4,770 yards, 36 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He also completed 64.4% of his passes and led New England to a 12-4 record. A great season from one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play.
Carson Palmer is where the argument for Russell Wilson could be made. Palmer threw for 4,671 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Palmer also completed 63.7% of his passes and led Arizona to a 13-3 record. Wilson had a very similar year to Palmer, throwing for 4,024 yards, 34 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Wilson also completed 68.1% of his passes and led the Seahawks to a 10-6 record. With very similar production, a case could be made for Russell Wilson receiving Palmer’s vote during the 2015 MVP race.
Russell Wilson is one of the most talented quarterbacks I have ever seen play the game of football. His talent and leadership qualities are undeniable. A player of his talent shouldn’t have been disrespected for so long, but here we are.
In a year full of unpredictability, Wilson could finally get the MVP vote that he’s never received — and possibly, win it all. Wilson has had an amazing career, but it is time he gets the recognition he deserves.
If Wilson can stay healthy, then there is no reason why he should not stand alone as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player at the end of the season.
(Featured Image Credit: Composite Photo // Source Credit: Seattle Seahawks)