“Don’t get bored with consistency.” – Russell Wilson
Post-game dinners at Met Grill, Tuesdays at Seattle Children’s, and “Go Hawks” after every interview. Russell Wilson is a creature of habit. He embodies what is arguably Pete Carroll’s most coveted quality in his players: grit.
The ability to sustain consistent effort towards a long term goal.
Not surprisingly, that consistency has also manifested itself on the football field. There are a plethora of statistics we could use to demonstrate this, but arguably none better than the Approximate Value (AV) stat, developed by the great folks at Pro-Football-Reference.com.
What is AV?
AV applies a single number to the seasonal value of every NFL player based on a detailed but relatively straightforward formula: offenses are credited with AV points based on offensive points per drive scored relative to league average, and those points are distributed amongst individual offensive players based on their volume of contribution. Similarly, defenses are credited with AV points based on defensive points allowed per drive relative to league average, and individual defensive players are credited with AV points based on games played as well as sacks, fumble recoveries, interceptions, TDs, and tackles. Players can earn bonuses if they are particularly efficient, or if they earn a spot on the All-Pro team.
As is the case with any NFL statistic, AV is by no means perfect (and it stresses this by literally including “approximate” in its name) but as is also the case with many other NFL statistics, over large sample sizes, AV tends to mirror the consensus opinions we have about players. For example, the three Seahawks players with the highest career AV just happen to be the three Seahawks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Steve Largent (140 AV), Walter Jones (127 AV), and Cortez Kennedy (122 AV). So where does Russell Wilson stand in Approximate Value?
NFL Quarterback Approximate Value, seasons 1-6
In his first 6 seasons, Russell Wilson has earned 100 AV points. No other QB has earned more than 94 (Peyton Manning, Cam Newton) and only one other QB has earned more than 90 (Dan Marino).
Not only is Wilson the most valuable QB through his first 6 seasons, he is the 3rd most valuable player – from any position:
NFL player Approximate Value, seasons 1-6
2017 marked the fifth season of his career that Russell Wilson earned 16 or more AV points. Only 17 players in post-merger NFL history have ever had 5 or more seasons with 16+ AV points; Wilson becomes the 18th - and the first Seahawk - to appear on that list:
Most seasons with 16+ Approximate Value points
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Wilson’s Approximate Value is that he’s never had a “bad” season by AV. In 2016 (Wilson’s worst season by AV), he still earned 14 points. Manning, Newton, and Marino all had seasons with 11 points or fewer at some point in their first six years. Wilson’s AV consistency is so rare that he and Lawrence Taylor are the only players in NFL history to earn 14+ AV points in each of their first 6 seasons.
Wilson’s career AV of 100 also makes him the 5th most valuable player in Seahawks history:
Most valuable Seahawks by Approximate Value
After a 9-7 season and missing the playoffs, it might be easy for Seahawks fans to not be that impressed by all of this. But like Russell says, don’t get bored with consistency. The wins and rings will come, and nothing can change this reality:
Through his first six seasons, Russell Wilson is the most valuable QB by Approximate Value in NFL history.