Scouting Russell Wilson on Super Bowl Media Day? We’re here to help
The Seahawks quarterback’s responses to reporters’ questions will be robotic, relentless and, yes, sincere.
Seattle Times columnist
PHOENIX — John Moffitt, the former Seahawks lineman, once had an amusing segment on Michael Robinson’s “Real Rob Report” video show pondering whether Russell Wilson is a robot.
Sources have confirmed that he’s not. But Wilson can be robotic, in that earnest way of his that has endeared him to Seahawks fans. OK, truth be told, it’s reaching two Super Bowls and winning one title that have REALLY endeared him to Seahawks fans. But earnest helps. Earnest is good.
Tuesday is Media Day at Super Bowl XLIX, which means that a certain category of reporters will discard every ounce of dignity, dress in ridiculously garish outfits and pose questions like, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” or, as Kurt Warner was once asked, “Do you believe in voodoo and can I have a lock of your hair?”
But there also will be a lot of legitimate football questions asked of the Seahawks quarterback, and his answers will be earnest. And robotic. The crowd around Wilson will be huge, because Super Bowl quarterbacks are magnets.
For the benefit of those in the back of the scrum who won’t quite be able to hear Wilson’s comments — been there, and it ain’t fun, especially with a TV camera grinding against your neck — I hereby offer, from three years of front-line experience, to decipher what Wilson will say.
For starters, Wilson will politely rephrase each question at the outset of his answer (i.e., “In terms of whether I believe in voodoo, I’d have to say I’m skeptical”). It’s a tactic he no doubt perfected when he was, according to legend, doing mock interviews as a youngster with a hairbrush acting as a microphone and his father asking the questions. Though some might consider it cheesy, I find it vastly preferable to “What kind of bleeping question is that?” Or the ever-popular, “I’m not answering preschool questions.”
Early in Tuesday’s interview session, Wilson will note that “the separation is in the preparation,’’ most likely in the same melodramatic, hushed tones he usually reserves for insurance commercials. Awesome concept, but maybe just a wee bit tired. I’d like to humbly offer an alternative: “The opponent’s besmirching is in the tireless researching.” No charge, Russell. I’m here to help.
Speaking of which, there will be lavish tales of Wilson’s indefatigable film-study sessions that begin at 3 a.m. and end at 2 a.m. He will note that there’s “no time to sleep.” Reporters, please note: That must be written as “#NoTime2Sleep.” In addition to speaking in clichés, Wilson has a tendency to speak in hashtags. Excuse me, #DangerRuss has a tendency to speak in hashtags.
Here’s a biggie: Wilson will try to downplay the magnitude of the game by noting that’s it’s still contested on the same field as always. This statement is always — no exceptions — emphasized by reciting the dimensions of the field — 100 yards long and 531/3 yards wide. John Madden, among others, has recommended that the NFL field be widened as a means to prevent injuries. If they ever do this, or if Wilson ever joins the CFL (with a 65-yard-wide field), he will have to be reprogrammed.
Along those lines, Wilson will note that the Seahawks’ sole goal is to go 1-0 Sunday, and that he doesn’t care if they win by one point, so long as they win. Rest assured, the Seahawks are taking it one game at a time, one play at a time, one day at a time, one practice at a time. This is what Wilson will refer to, ad nauseam, as “a championship mindset,” which might be mockable if the Seahawks weren’t, you know, champions.
Fellow reporters, rest assured if you ask Wilson a question about a specific teammate, you will get a thoughtful, glowing response. But that won’t be the end of it. Mindful of not singling out any particular player, Wilson will then proceed to praise every player on the unit, including those on injured reserve, practice squad, or cut in training camp. On days he’s feeling particularly magnanimous, Wilson will laud Seahawks alumni and selected college and high-school teammates, as well as defensive players from the movie, “The Longest Yard.”
When he is inevitably asked about Tom Brady, Wilson will provide a touching anecdote about how he worshipped Brady as a kid, had Brady posters up in his room and watched all his tape. That will segue into a discussion of Wilson’s height, or lack thereof, and Wilson will declare that he “never let my size define me.” The answer won’t change the next 33 times he’s asked that during Media Day.
The Wilson canon Tuesday also is bound to include these phrases: “Why not us?” “ignoring the noise,” and “the calm in the storm.” He will relate the story of how, before the draft, he put the names of all the NFL teams in a hat and pulled out the Seahawks. And at the very end, Wilson will call out, “Go Hawks!” as he is leaving the podium, having charmed the masses again.
All this is not to say Wilson isn’t sincere. He’s very sincere. Nor is it to say he doesn’t occasionally let his guard down, as he did in his tearful postgame interviews after the NFC Championship Game.
Wilson simply has a message he wants to convey, and he is relentless in his execution. Some would define “robotic” simply as “perpetually on point.”
In terms of what kind of tree Russell Wilson would be, it’s a sturdy, unwavering oak.
About Larry Stone
Larry Stone gives his take on the local and national sports scene.