Monday, February 3, 2014
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson stood in the huddle and asked his teammates to remain focused.
That is not unique, but receiver Percy Harvin started laughing when he told the story after Seattle’s 43-8 victory Sunday against Denver in the Super Bowl. And for good reason.
“There were like three minutes on the clock ticking, and he’s still in our face to stay ready,” Harvin said. “We’re like, ‘Man, the game is pretty much over.’ He just wants to be great that much.”
The moment stuck out for another reason: In the fourth quarter of Seattle’s victory against San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game two weeks ago, Wilson and the Seahawks were rattled. Wilson fumbled a handoff. He botched another snap.
“We couldn’t tie our shoes there,” quarterback coach Carl Smith said.
Seattle’s coaches preached a simple message to Wilson and the offense heading into the Super Bowl.
“We’re coldblooded in the clutch,” Smith told them.
One of the big questions in the endless buildup to the game was how Wilson would handle the moment. He had managed to stay poised and level throughout his two-year career, but the Super Bowl is different from anything he’d experienced.
Wilson answered with one of his best games in his biggest moment. He completed 18 of 25 passes, threw for 206 yards and had two touchdowns and zero interceptions. It was the crisp, mistake-free game Wilson delivered for much of the season but that he struggled to turn in of late.
He sailed a pass past wide-open Zach Miller on his first throw, but after that he was at his best in critical spots. In the first three quarters of the game, with the outcome still somewhat undecided, Wilson converted on six of nine third downs.
“What he did tonight was indicative of his whole career,” general manager John Schneider said.
Wilson recalled a players-only meeting from before the season, when he told his teammates something he has spent his whole life chasing.
“I told them a story my dad used to tell me,” Wilson said. “He always used to tell or tap me driving in the car and say, ‘Russ, why not you? Why can’t you be a world champion or whatever you want to be?’ ”
In only his second year in the NFL, Wilson answered that question.
“He’s a world champion,” Smith said. “How about that one? They can say a lot of stuff, but one thing they’ve got to say now is he’s a world champion.”