So if you've made it to this article, you probably already know that Russell Wilson was named as a "tier 2 quarterback" per what 35 "NFL Insiders" told Mike "Sando."
(Maybe those last quotes weren't necessary, but "Sando" has to be like an acronym or something, right?)
My reaction to that leans pretty heavy on "Eh, okay. Whatever." It's not an egregious error, if it is an error at all. The funny thing about human nature is how much we accept what others tell us to be true. Why is "Offensive Lineman A" a great player? Because he made four Pro Bowls. Why did he make four Pro Bowls? Because we voted him in. Why did we vote him in? Because he made one Pro Bowl. Why did he make that Pro Bowl? Well, maybe it was because he's really great. Maybe it's because he was a top-five pick and we expected him to be great.
Not a lot of people expected Wilson to be great. So to adjust the narrative at this point, it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of people eventually changing their opinions as to how good he actually is.
Don't forget that Tom Brady pretty much lived this same narrative for the first few years of his career. The Patriots had a great defense and winning one Super Bowl wasn't going to change Brady's sixth round draft status. There were "issues" with him going into the draft and that stigma stuck to him like Matt Damon on Greg Kinnear. (Yeah, who else had forgotten that movie?)
[interjection: if you want to check out MY indieGoGo campaign, I'll pop off an incentive for "I'll write the Russell Wilson article of your choosing" for donations of $12 or more. Even if he signs today, I'll just keep going based on how many end up in the hopper. God bless. And emphasis on "or more."]
Even after three Super Bowls it was still had for Brady to shake off the doubters. It took awhile. Consistent winning over many years and then eventually putting up league-leading numbers. For three seasons, Wilson has been winning. However, he doesn't lead the NFL in things like passing yards and touchdowns.
Andrew Luck, in addition to being the golden boy of the draft, did lead the league in passing touchdowns and was close to the lead in yards. His propensity for interceptions notwithstanding.
So when is Wilson going to be among the leaders in passing stats? Well, as you have probably guessed by now, he already is. Here's just one example. (Need to save some for later, should this contract situation drag on.)
Over the last three years, Wilson is averaging 8.16 Adjusted Yards per Attempt. If you don't know whether that's a good number or a fair number, I can't blame you. It's not an oft-cited number. If you know regular yards per attempt, then you know that anything above an eight is great. Anything below a seven is certainly not heaven. Six for dicks.
Yards per attempt is exactly what it sounds like. But of course there is more to quarterbacking than just accumulating yards. Touchdowns are good. Interceptions are bad. So those are also taken into account and the formula is (Passing yards + 20 x Touchdowns - 45 x Interceptions / Attempts) It adjusts how valuable your yards gained are and then divides it by how many attempts it took you to get there.
So where does Wilson's 8.16 rank?
1. Aaron Rodgers 8.98
2. Peyton Manning 8.63
3. Russell Wilson 8.16
4. Drew Brees 7.80
5. Ben Roethlisberger 7.80
Rodgers, Manning, and Wilson are the only quarterbacks above 8.0 over the last three seasons combined. Brady is at a 7.50. Phil Rivers is at 7.42. Alex Smith, a very efficient quarterback who many compare to Russell, is only at a 7.21. Which is still higher than Matt Ryan and Cam Newton ... and Luck, of course. Who has a 7.03 and is ranked 15th overall.
I think the interesting alternate universe would be the one where Wilson was drafted first overall and Luck went 75th but their careers were exactly the same as they are now. Would Wilson still be a tier 2 quarterback if he had come in and seemingly gone above and beyond all expectations? Or would it be the same because Luck had the yards and touchdowns?
I honestly don't know. But that contract situation would probably be a little easier to figure out.