What we can learn from the Russell Wilson/Matt Flynn debate of last year

Matt Flynn was released by the Raiders a couple of weeks ago, after a truly abysmal game where he played much worse than his numbers might show. Flynn was sacked 7 times, and fumbled it twice, and threw an interception in there for good measure. He is still, at this point, unemployed.

It's funny how just a year ago, people were begging, PLEADING the Seahawks to replace Russell Wilson with Matt Flynn. I followed the debate closely in those days, and here is how many of those early arguments went:

  • "Matt Flynn is clearly the better quarterback because he has more experience."
  • "He played in a regular season game where he threw for almost 400 yards. "
  • "He is smarter than Russell Wilson, won't make rookie mistakes, and is more accurate."
  • "Pete Carroll is only starting Russell Wilson because he doesn't want to look bad for making the early quarterback choice. He would rather lose games than look bad."
  • "Pete Carroll is a defensive coach who knows nothing about offense. "
  • "Pete Carroll only likes Russell Wilson because of his go getter attitude."
  • "The Russell Wilson experiment failed, and we need Flynn to save our season. He never got a solid chance for the starting job."
  • "Russell Wilson is losing our locker room. Our players have no faith in a rookie quarterback."

At this point, you get the idea. I would say that of all the Seattle fans, it was about 50/50 in terms of favoring keeping Russell Wilson, and the other half for replacing Matt Flynn.

I will go on record as saying that I always supported Russell Wilson. Not because I knew he was going to be as good as he is today (or that Flynn would be as bad), but I decided to continue to support Wilson for several reasons. So here is something that all of us fans should remember, next time we get into a debate such as this.

Football fans-You know nothing.

I will include myself in that boat. It's not that we don't know anything...but we really have no idea a vast majority of the time. Pete Carroll has been playing or watching football for about 50 years now. They have coaching and scouting staff that outnumbers the players, whose sole job it is to scout NFL players. They spend countless hours watching game film. They see these guys every day practicing, most of the time behind close doors to the media and the public.

Yet, for some reason, we as fans still sometimes feel like we know more than they do. I don't know what its based on exactly. Perhaps its the gut instinct that takes over. Or the fantasy football/Madden generation, where we feel like simply replacing a player at quarterback is as easy as it is to reset your lineup in Yahoo Fantasy football.

I supported Russell Wilson when he struggled last year, because I trusted that Pete Carroll and staff knew what they were doing. They gave me no reason to not trust them, and really that's what it came down to. They likely saw, in the offseason, Russell Wilson's scrambling ability, pocket awareness, beautiful deep ball, strong, accurate arm, and intangibles off the charts, and loved what they saw as much as we do today. Then they saw Matt Flynn....and while he had an accurate arm, it wasn't especially strong, and his limited mobility didn't give him as much of an X-factor as Russell Wilson.

Not to mention-Russell Wilson was taking first team snaps all pre-season, so replacing him with Flynn wouldn't have put Flynn in a good situation anyhow.

So that is my message with this particular post. We, as fans, need to give the coaches of our teams the benefit of the doubt, especially when it comes to personnel decisions, until they prove that they no longer deserve to earn our trust. You only have to look across the street to Safeco field to contrast the difference between trusting a staff/organization, and not trusting it.

Trust in Pete, trust in John, and win forever.

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