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Monday, 2 February 2015

Where Does Russell Wilson Rank After This Super Bowl?

Somewhere, former Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood must be thinking he understands the plight of Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.

With eight seconds left in the game, Norwood's Buffalo Bills trailed the New York Giants by a single point. They chose to try a 47-yard field goal, which would win the game and the championship for the Bills. However, 47 yards was considered near the limit of Norwood's kicking range, particularly on a grass field, according to comments during the original game broadcast.

Bills head coach Marv Levy also noted that fewer than 50% of such attempts succeeded. In fact, during his career, Norwood was 1 of 5 for field goal attempts of more than 40 yards on grass, and with his longest field goal being 48 yards in that season.

The kick, although it had sufficient distance, passed about a foot to the right of the right-hand goalpost and the field goal attempt failed. Sportscaster Al Michaels announced the occurrence to a stunned television audience, "No good...wide right."

The New York Giants took possession with four seconds left and ran out the clock for a 20–19 victory, making this Super Bowl the closest ever.

The game between the New England Patriots and the Seahawks in Super Bowl 49 may not have been the closest game ever played, but it might be the most controversial of all time. How a team that uses the ground game as effectively as the Seahawks had done in the playoffs, fail to use what got them to the moment in the first place will be studied for decades – much like Norwood’s miss, which is considered one of the biggest whiffs in Super Bowl history.

Wilson’s blunder wasn’t his call, but the “fairy tale” of Wilson’s existence in the NFL makes this one of those resume items that cannot be ignored.

There is a story here in Jacksonville of how the Jaguars passed on Wilson with the 70th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to select Bryan Anger, a punter of all positions because he was a “weapon.” While 30 other teams made the same decision for two rounds to let the 5-foot-11 quarterback from Wisconsin sit and wait for his name to be called, it only magnifies how his star has risen in the NFL in such a short time. The good-looking, wet-behind-the-ears star who looks like a neighbor’s kid with a cannon arm and quick feet could have made some history of his own on Sunday night – winning a second consecutive Super Bowl title. He could have also been the answer to this trivia question …

“Name the only quarterback to have beaten Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in consecutive Super Bowls.”

It doesn’t get much better than that for anyone who is a signal caller in the NFL. And for everything but a minute of a Super Bowl, Wilson’s legacy as a “giant killer” was cemented.

Until he threw the pass at the 1-yard line. The win was there for the taking, the history was there to be had and the future of the kid who everyone thought was too small to play quarterback in a league of giants was set for Canton.

Now, with one Super Bowl win and a Super Bowl loss of epic proportions, Wilson will live with the moment for the next three months until OTAs and training camp opens. Yes, a lot of Wilson’s current legacy is tied to this one moment – which may or may not be fair to him as Pete Carroll was the one calling the play. But high pressure situations with a superstar in the making following orders is exactly why the game is played.

No one will forget the last minute of Super Bowl 49. No one will forget how the running game was churning or the miraculous catch by Jermaine Kearse on is back. But no one will certainly forget the blunder that cost Seattle a chance to join elite company in post season history.

Does this change Russell Wilson’s legacy? I don’t think so. He is still too young to fall into the pit of oblivion that happens to some who err when the game is on the line. Hopefully the lesson learned will remain, the image forgotten and the future will continue to shine.

One moment in time is etched forever. Wilson’s career still has the ability to overcome one wrong play.


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