NC State and the Russell Wilson complication

sruinsky@newsobserver.comFebruary 3, 2014 

Russell Wilson tells the story of how his father would turn to him and say “why not you?” when they talked about his becoming a pro athlete.

In the frenzy before and after the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl win Sunday, the former N.C. State quarterback told reporters how he turned the question on his teammates to rally them before the start of the NFL season, asking, “Why not us?”

For a variety of reasons, Wilson was replaced at quarterback by Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien before the 2011 football season. He went on to play at Wisconsin, was later drafted in the third round by the Seahawks and on Sunday helped lead his team to the championship.

So, Wolfpack Pride, right?

That depends on your world view. If you are a Wolfpack fan, here are two possible interpretations of Wilson’s catch phrase.

1) “Hooray! Our quarterback won the Super Bowl! If Russell Wilson can win it all, anything’s possible.”

2) “Uh, great news about Russell Wilson. Tell me again why we ran a Super Bowl caliber quarterback out of town?”

Wilson is one of three former Wolfpack players on the championship Seahawks. Another played for the defeated Denver Broncos. Wilson is also one of three former State quarterbacks who start in the NFL (including Mike Glennon, who took over at State in 2011). Seattle head coach Pete Carroll was a former defensive assistant in Raleigh.

State has plenty of talent and brainpower.

Yet the football team is coming off a 3-9 season (0-8 in the ACC) under coach Dave Doeren, who succeeded O’Brien. Doeren struggled all last season to find a starting quarterback.

What would it be like if Wilson had never left? Would his NFL success be sweeter if Wolfpack fans didn’t have to hear how he was the one who got away?

Happy as State alums might feel about Wilson, it’s s hard not to think of one more question fans might ask as their quarterback celebrates at Wednesday’s planned Super Bowl Parade in Seattle.

“Why us?”

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