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Wilson has faith on his side
By Shawn Clarke, Contributing NFL Editor
(SportsNetwork.com) - Russell Wilson's helmet fits more snug nowadays since he's been growing out his thick locks.
The Seattle Seahawks quarterback hasn't occupied a barber's chair in quite some time, a gesture to commemorate his late father, Harrison, who died from complications of diabetes in 2010.
"When I was in 11th grade, we won the state championship. I had my hair grown out," Wilson said. "I didn't cut my hair the whole year for that season and my dad didn't either, so it kind of inspired me for this year."
Wilson compared his coif to Michael Jackson or Bruno Mars during Super Bowl Media Day, and the Seahawks are hoping his performance Sunday against the Denver Broncos will be a "Thriller" or a "Treasure" -- hits from the aforementioned pop stars.
Seattle's franchise quarterback is a devout Christian, so fans should hope he doesn't cut his hair prior to Sunday and lose strength much like Samson in the Old Testament book of Judges. Samson got power from his flowing locks until the temptress Delilah took shears to his dome piece.
If there are any nervous Seahawks fans out there, don't fret. Wilson will not be getting a fade or a high-and-tight any time soon.
Wilson puts his trust in the Lord and may be a bit superstitious as well. It has helped Wilson both on and off the football field, and there is no better time than now at the Super Bowl to have faith in what he believes in. Scroll through Wilson's Twitter page and you will be reminded where his heart and soul reside.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
That was taken from the book of Matthew and perfectly defines Wilson, who has been searching for success in sports and as a human being. The former Wisconsin star takes excerpts from various books of the Bible and uses them in his every day life. He takes the time to comfort the less fortunate such as ill children or the elderly. He plays a predominant role in the Seattle community with his beautiful wife, Ashton.
He is also the beacon of light in Seattle's prolific offense.
"We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Those words from the book of Romans inspire Wilson, who believes enduring hardship is a form of discipline and lets perseverance finish its work so that he may be mature and complete. Wilson's firm belief in Christianity is what carries the second-year quarterback and gives him hope.
Wilson even visualized playing in the Super Bowl one day.
"I'm big into visualizing and this moment right here is exactly what I visualized," Wilson said. "Being here in this moment is one of those things I truly believed going into the year, after we played the preseason game against the Denver Broncos that we may play them."
One characteristic Wilson wasn't blessed with was height, but he makes up for it with a lot of heart and determination. Barely 6-foot and just over 200 pounds, Wilson has excelled with a strong right arm and quick feet. He's not bothered by being a foot or more shorter than his offensive line and often is compared to Super Bowl-winning QB Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.
Brees is barely 6-foot as well, but it doesn't show in the stat sheet.
"Well, Drew Brees was a guy that I looked up to ever since my dad really told me about him, back when I was in middle school and high school, 'Hey you have to watch this guy at Purdue, or you have to watch this guy play,'" Wilson said. "Just studying his craft, studying his game. I've read his book several times, and he's just great inspiration. He's a guy that does things right, a guy that is a great leader and he's so poised in big situations. That's the thing you notice about him."
People have noticed similar traits with Wilson, especially on the field.
Wilson is one of four players in NFL history to pass for at least 20 touchdowns in each of their first two seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Andy Dalton. He has 52 touchdown passes in his first two seasons, which is tied for second with Sunday's opposing quarterback in Manning.
He has ingested offensive coordinator's Darrell Bevell's system to lead the Seahawks to an amazing 20-4 record since Week 9 of his rookie season. Known for his leadership and poise under pressure, Wilson has the Seahawks in the Super Bowl with receivers not too many have heard of. Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, Jermaine Kearse and hardly used Percy Harvin will be catching most of Wilson's passes at MetLife Stadium.
Luckily, Wilson has running back Marshawn Lynch to hand the ball off to.
Just days away from becoming just the sixth second-year quarterback (3-2) to start a Super Bowl, Wilson has recorded a 3-1 record and a 96.9 passer rating in his postseason career. He is a firm believer that separation is in the preparation and it's not how you start but how you finish.
That couldn't be more evident when Wilson took the starting QB job away from Matt Flynn during 2012 training camp. Flynn came in with the big bucks and Wilson proved he had the bigger heart by Week 1 and won over head coach Pete Carroll. Flynn could pretty much serve french fries to Wilson's family at a drive-thru on the way to a skiing trip.
The winningest quarterback in the first two seasons of his career in NFL history, Wilson has been composed the moment he started his NFL career and his condor hasn't wavered during Super Bowl week.
That hasn't surprised Carroll.
"We've never seen anything from Russell that wasn't a consistent, direction, support, mindset, character, work habits; he's never changed at all. Nothing's ever changed," Carroll said. "The way we deal with him has been very consistent because he's been so rock solid consistent. He's ready for this opportunity. He's been readying himself throughout his playing career in all sports."
Carroll believes with Wilson's savvy and faith he will continue to show that he is always prepared for the moment because of his work ethic. Carroll doesn't expect anything to change on game day or in the film room because Wilson has shown no reason for the coaching staff to think differently.
Baldwin has no worries either about his QB in the big game.
"He's quiet, he's to himself a lot. He's one of those guys that he likes so much to be dialed into the game plan and into the film that it's kind of hard to pull him away from it at times because he's so focused and so involved," Baldwin said. "He does open up, he's just like everybody, he's a big teddy bear. He likes to joke around and have fun; but he's so serious about his craft."
Baldwin doesn't feel the distractions surrounding the Super Bowl will alter Wilson's thought process or mentality, and believes he is going to be "the same Russell Wilson that he's been the entire season."
Wilson is trying to join Kurt Warner, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger as the only quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl in his first or second season.
"To get to the Super Bowl, we're excited about it," Wilson said. "But at the end of the day, we haven't done anything yet. We won the NFC West, which was one of our goals. We won the NFC Championship Game, which isn't easy. But only one team gets the prize."
Wilson has the right mindset, which comes from years of steadfast belief in faith, family and doing unto others as he would have them do to him.
From the book of Revelations: "To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations."
Sunday could be the day Wilson has authority over the NFL.
01/29 14:43:27 ET