Wilson stands tall in Seattle victory
By Cass Teague
Article featured in Nashville Pride on January 11, 2013
At 5’10 3/8” Russell Wilson is the shortest starting quarterback in the National Football League. But no player stood taller in the Wild Card weekend of the NFL playoffs. Wilson is the rookie sensation signal caller for the Seattle Seahawks, and his improbable backstory is not only notable for his size, but for his Nashville roots and those of one of his favorite targets, Golden Tate II. First, the football games, including Sunday afternoon, then his family ties and community connections.
The NFL saved the best for last during Wild Card weekend, the first series of two playoff games per day in the championship tournament. Saturday, the Texans dispatched the Cincinnati Bengals 19-13 at home in Houston. The Texans travels to New England to face the Patriots Sunday at 3:30 in Foxboro. Also in the AFC, the Ravens prevailed over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday in Baltimore’s home stadium, and travel to Denver to face Payton Manning and the 13-3 top-seed Broncos Saturday at 3:30 pm. Both AFC games air live on CBS / WTVF Newschannel 5 locally.
In the NFC, the Vikings traveled to Green Bay to face the Packers, whom they had beaten in Minnesota in the final week of the regular season to get into the playoffs. Playing in Lambeau Field, however, the Packers prevailed 24-10 and travel to San Francisco to face the top-seeded 49ers on Saturday evening at 7:00 pm on Fox / WZTV locally.
The best matchup and game of the weekend was the eagerly anticipated meeting of the two best rookie quarterbacks in the NFC. The Heisman Trophy winning, high-flying much touted leader of the resurgent Washington Redskins best known as RG3 – Richard Griffin, III had home field advantage and a seven-game win streak. But he also had a knee injury sustained against the Ravens on December 9 that proved to be his and his team’s Achilles heel in a 24-14 home loss, blowing a 14-0 lead.
Russell Wilson had quietly worked his way and brought his team in riding a five game win streak, putting up phenomenal ratings and winning 11 games in 2012, including the Green Bay Packers, the #2 AFC seed New England Patriots, and a 42-13 blowout of the #1 NFC seed 49ers.
Ironically, Wilson’s NFL career took off in Nashville on August 11. Wilson took over in the second half in his first preseason game against the Titans, completed six consecutive passes at one point, including a 39-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards, and had a solid statistical night in a 27-17 win.
Locally, Wilson’s grandparents were faculty at TSU back in the 1970’s, where his Dad’s dad, Harrison B. Wilson, Jr. sent this author on his Engineering Co-op assignment. AND, Wilson, Jr.’s mom Marguerite Ayers and head football coach ‘Big’ John Ayers Merritt’s mom Grace Ayers were sisters. As for Golden Tate, II, his dad Golden Tate was a standout wide receiver under Merritt at TSU, and his mom is former TSU womens basketball coach Edna Overall’s daughter Yolanda Overall Tate.