Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a past president and member of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
LIKE IT IS:
Wilson, the other quarterback, is no slouch
Super Bowl week is one of suspense, fun, great stories and excellent reporting.
Reporters from all over the world have gathered in the New York City area, and each is looking to find his own story. It can be dramatic, humorous or even sad, as long as it evokes an emotion.
The headliners will not be overlooked. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning can escape the New England Patriots’ blitz, but he will be nailed by microphones and tape recorders every time he is required to speak.
Seattle defensive back Richard Sherman has become something of the villain of Super Bowl XLVIII because of his post game rant after the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC championship.
Sherman knows exactly what he is doing. He is a Stanford grad with a degree in communications. His motor mouth is going to result in more money for him somewhere down the line.
Those are the easy stories.
The Associated Press dug a little deeper for Tuesday’s papers with a detailed story of nonsuperstars who have major roles in Sunday’s game.
Other publications went back a couple of years and retold the story of Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, whose mother and grandmother will watch the game from a Florida prison.
Thomas was 11 when police raided his home and arrested his mother and grandmother for distribution of cocaine.
Thomas ended up with an aunt and uncle. The uncle was a minister and Thomas became spiritual, eventually finding forgiveness for his mom, whom he talks to by phone on an almost weekly basis.
Thomas played at Georgia Tech and was the 22nd pick of the first round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Broncos and, by the way, he scored an amazing 34 on the Wonderlic test given at the NFL Combine camp.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston could learn a lesson from Thomas, whose only brush with controversy came at a party where a lot of drinking was going on and a girl reportedly offered to have sex with him, or his buddy. Thomas left the party immediately.
The untold story so far this week has been Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who currently makes $526,217, a little less than the deep snapper. That’s for the season, not one game.
Wilson graduated from North Carolina State after a redshirt year and then completing three years of eligibility. He transferred to play for Bret Bielema at Wisconsin. Of interest to Arkansas Razorbacks fans is that Wilson completed 225 of 309 pass attempts, so Bielema is not just 3 yards and a cloud of dust on every down.
Wilson, who is reportedly religious and unassuming, was not invited to the NFL Combine, but the Seahawks took him with the 12th pick of the third round. At 5-11, his lack of height was supposed to be the biggest issue working against him, although he has run the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds.
As a rookie he beat out big-money free agent Matt Flynn and former Razorback Tarvaris Jackson for the starting quarterback job and led Seattle to the playoffs. The Seahawks beat the Washington Redskins before falling to Atlanta, one game short of the NFC Championship Game, but Wilson passed for 385 yards and rushed for 60 in the loss to the Falcons.
This season the Seahawks went 13-3 in the regular season, with most of the credit going to the NFL’s No. 1 defense, but Wilson creates problems for defenses with his arm and his legs.
If you are looking for a comparison, think of a stronger and perhaps smarter Michael Vick.
Wilson, who is married to his college sweetheart, has handled his mandatory news conferences easily and confidently but without giving up any bulletin board material.
He’s a success story waiting to be written.
Sports, Pages 19 on 01/29/2014