Stepping into the batter’s box used to be a part of Russell Wilson’s normal routine. The Colorado Rockies drafted Wilson in the fourth round of 2010 MLB Draft.
Wilson had two solid seasons in the Rockies farm system but he had an urge to play football that he couldn’t shake.
Wilson left the Rockies organization in the winter of 2011 and enrolled at Wisconsin to play football.
Wilson had a successful season for Wisconsin throwing for over 3,000 yards, 33 touchdowns and led the Badgers to the 2012 Rose Bowl.
In the 2012 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks gambled on Wilson.
Many sources didn’t like the Seahawks decision to draft Wilson and Seattle was given an ‘F’ for the selection. At the time, drafting Wilson didn’t make sense, Seattle had just spent $25 million on free agent quarterback Matt Flynn.
But when Wilson stepped on the field, it was obvious why the Seahawks gambled on Wilson. Wilson has a strong arm, functional mobility and great downfield vision.
Those skills led Wilson to a stellar rookie season- 26 passing TDs, 4 rushing TDs, 3,118 passing yards and 489 rushing yards.
Unlike many NFL players, Wilson didn’t suffer through a sophomore slump, he followed his rookie season with an equally impressive 2013 season- 26 passing TDS, 1 rushing TD, 3,357 passing yards and 539 rushing yards.
As Wilson prepares for this weekend’s super bowl, the Seahawks can rest easy, their gamble paid off.
For Manning, it’s been a clear cut path to NFL success. Son of NFL great Archie Manning, Peyton has football in his genes.
Manning was a coveted high school recruit who chose to play for the Tennessee Volunteers. Manning played all four years for the Vols.
During his senior season, Manning threw for 3,819 yards and 36 touchdowns. Manning was awarded the Davey O’Brien award and the Johnny Unitas Award.
Manning was picked first overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1998 NFL Draft.
During his 13 seasons with the Colts, Manning won four MVP Awards, appeared in two super bowls and won one.
Now, with the Denver Broncos, Manning has an opportunity to win his second Super Bowl in his third appearance.
Two Paths Collide
The 12-year gap between Manning and Wilson is the largest age gap between competing Super Bowl quarterbacks in the history of the game.
And while they may have taken different paths to get to this Super Bowl, they have one thing in common - work ethic.
Both quarterbacks are known for being the first ones into work and the last ones to leave.
Wilson has made an impression on the players and coaches in the Seahawks organization.
“Man, around 6:15 a.m. It's hard to beat (Wilson) here,” Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith said. “It rubs off on guys. You don't want to be slacking when you know he's in here getting better."
“Russell is fabulous in everything we have asked him to do. He's done a great job of managing all of the situations, and he's come up big just about every time," Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said.
During his fifteen years in the NFL, Manning has been admired for his hard work.
“Peyton's attention to detail, that's probably what separates him from other guys and other people that have played this game," tight end Julius Thomas said. "Every day, I see how much he prepares, I see the little things that he does to make sure he's on top of his game.”
While Super Bowl XLVIII brings these quarterback’s paths together, this game will also send them in different directions.
For Wilson, his career is still young and with his skill set, this probably won’t be his only Super Bowl appearance. A win would put Wilson among the NFL’s elite.
Manning’s career is at its twilight. This Super Bowl is an opportunity for Manning to silence his critics and cement his place as one of the all-time best NFL quarterbacks.