There are few more popular — or pointless — debates in NFL circles that the continuous argument over what quarterback is best, which ones are elite, most valuable, etc. Peyton Manning or Tom Brady? Is Eli Manning surpassing his brother? (No, really, that was a thing once). Is Joe Flacco elite? Is Peyton Manning the best ever? Who’s better, Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick? Andrew Luck or RGIII? Luck or Wilson? What’s sexier, Charlie Whitehurst’s hair or Kyle Orton’s mustache? (OK, I made that one up). The list goes on and on.
With each Seahawks victory and each impressive performance by Russell Wilson, the debate only grows as to just how good Wilson is relative to his peers. After a Super Bowl title and a very good start to this season, Wilson is getting more and more respect from the rest of the country after earning it as a rookie it around these parts. And at this point, almost everyone, save for a few grumpy, get-off-my-lawn curmudgeons who refuse to believe that top-level quarterback play can come from anything other than a 6-foot-4 statue who stays in the pocket, realizes that Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
But darn it, “one of the best” isn’t good enough anymore! We need definitive rankings! We must know if Wilson is better than Luck or better than Manning or even a top five quarterback. The people demand lists and rankings!
OK, so in case the sarcasm hasn’t come through by now, I’m obviously not that concerned about who is the consensus No. 1 or 2 or 6 or 10 quarterback right now, but the point of this, before a long tangent completely derailed me, is that regardless of what outsiders think about Wilson, the players facing him are consistently impressed. That’s nothing new, but it’s been very evident after two great games by Wilson.
Following Seattle’s Week 3 win over Denver, Broncos cornerback Chris Harris told reporters in Denver’s locker room, “Keep talking up Andrew Luck. Russell Wilson is better than Luck. No question.”
On Monday night, following Seattle’s 27-17 win in which Wilson threw for a pair of touchdowns and rushed for another score, along with a career-high 122 yards, another opposing defensive back was heaping even greater praise upon Wilson.
“We got beat by a better team,” safety Ryan Clark told the Washington Post. “We got beat by, as far as I’m concerned this weekend, the best player in the NFL. Russell Wilson made every play he had to make for his team to win, and we didn’t.”
Best player in the NFL.
Hyperbole? Probably a little bit, but even so, it’s a good reminder that Wilson, while a somewhat divisive player among fans and media trying to calculate his value, clearly has earned the respect of his peers.