Sports Spectrum Weekly

20 NFL players to watch in 2020: Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

Through Sept. 13, the first Sunday of the 2020 NFL season,
Sports Spectrum is highlighting one Christ-following player each day for 20 days.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a player who’s had a better start to his NFL career than Russell Wilson.

He entered the league in 2012 as a third-round draft pick out of Wisconsin, but earned the Seattle Seahawks’ starting quarterback job as a rookie. He’s started every single regular-season game since (128), in addition to 15 playoff games. He’s won 86 of those regular-season games, tying him with Tom Brady for the most wins in a quarterback’s first eight seasons.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

Wilson has led the Seahawks to a winning record each season he’s been at the helm, and to the playoffs seven of the eight years. They’ve gone 9-6 in the playoffs with Wilson, advancing to the Super Bowl after the 2013 and 2014 seasons, winning Super Bowl XLVIII over Denver.

Furthermore, he’s been named to the Pro Bowl six times. About the only thing Wilson has left to accomplish is win the NFL MVP award.

Entering 2020, he’s certainly a leading candidate to earn the prestigious honor. In the NFL’s most recent Top 100 list, Wilson came in at No. 2, behind only Lamar Jackson, the reigning NFL MVP. The voting for the Top 100 is done by players.

Since Wilson’s arrival in Seattle, the Seahawks have stayed steady among the upper echelon of teams. But they haven’t won the NFC West since 2016, and the past two NFC representatives in the Super Bowl have been NFC West rivals (L.A. Rams and San Francisco 49ers). So among the goals in 2020 for Wilson and the Seahawks will be to take the West.

Wilson will look to build on a 2019 season that was among the best of his career. His 4,110 passing yards last year were good for sixth in the NFL, and his 31 touchdowns ranked third. His career highs are 4,219 yards in 2016 and 35 TDs in 2018.

Because of his position, talent and success, Wilson is also tasked with being a leader. He’s been voted offensive captain by his teammates in every year of his career except his rookie season.

Yet, Wilson is also a leader off the field, showing his heart to serve in the community. Late last year, as the Seahawks were closing in on a playoff berth, Wilson took his weekly Bible study group, which consists of around 40 pro and college athletes, to donate clothes, jackets, toiletries and more to the Seattle community. After distributing the goods, Wilson led a group prayer.

“Jesus, You call us to love,” he said. “I pray we would love more like You, to speak more like You and sound more like You, and to not judge, Father God, but to just love one another.”

Wilson, who is very public about sharing his faith in Christ, also called out to God in prayer in late March. Not long after he and his wife, pop singer Ciara, donated 1 million meals to those in need in the Seattle area during the onset of the coronavirus, the couple joined Christian artist Tauren Wells in an Instagram Live conversation to discuss faith amid the pandemic.

“Jesus, thank You for who You are,” Wilson closed in prayer. “We’re in some valleys right now. We’re all going through different stuff — anxiety, worry, stress and pain and frustrations … God, I pray that You do the miracles that You’re known for. I pray that we have faith, unrelenting faith, in what You’re going to do … I thank You for love. I thank You for forgiveness. I thank You for joy. I thank You for the peace that You give us, Father God. I thank You for Your sacrifice. You took nails in Your hands and nails in Your feet and thorns in Your head, for all of us.”

Wilson and the Seahawks open the 2020 season Sept. 13 at Atlanta.

RELATED STORIES:
20 NFL players to watch in 2020: Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons
20 NFL players to watch in 2020: Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz
Russell Wilson, Tauren Wells, Stephen Curry discuss faith amid pandemic on Instagram
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, wife Ciara to donate 1 million meals to Seattle families
Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson leads his Bible study group to bless, pray with community