While he might not have the winning resume of Tom Brady or the incredible arm of Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson is a pretty talented quarterback. During his time in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks signal-caller has done just about everything possible, barring one exception. He’s never won the NFL MVP title and, even more bizarrely, hasn’t even received a single vote.
While it’s no fun to be consistently overlooked, Russell Wilson isn’t the only star who failed to claim NFL MVP honors. In fact, a few gridiron legends also fell short of the crown.
Russell Wilson has had an impressive NFL career
At this point, Russell Wilson has become the face of the Seattle Seahawks. That familiarity, however, doesn’t make his continued success any less impressive.
During his time in college, Wilson showed talent on both the baseball diamond and the gridiron. He ultimately decided to go pro in football and entered into the 2012 NFL draft; due to concerns over his height, the quarterback slipped into the third round.
Wilson joined the Seattle Seahawks, however, and, despite his draft status, beat out free-agent signing Matt Flynn for the starting job. That series of events ended up changing the course of NFL history. With Wilson under center, the Seahawks claimed victory in Super Bowl 48; they would have won another championship, too, if Pete Carroll trusted his offensive line.
On an individual level, the quarterback hasn’t disappointed, either. Through the first four weeks of the 2020 season, Wilson has posted an overall record of 90-41-1. He’s also thrown for just over 31,000 yards and completed 243 touchdown passes. If you needed a quarterback to build a franchise around, he’d have to be near the top of the list.
Russell Wilson hasn’t received a single NFL MVP vote
Despite that success, there’s one gap in Russell Wilson’s resume: the quarterback has never claimed NFL MVP honors or, even more surprisingly, received a single MVP vote.
So how does that happen? In all likelihood, two main factors are to blame. First, Wilson has had the misfortune of going up against some legendary players during his time in the NFL. Since the quarterback entered the league in 2012, Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Lamar Jackson, and Patrick Mahomes have taken home the MVP title; even if you want to argue the merits of each individual award, that’s still quite a group of competitors to go up against.
Wilson has also been hurt by the fact that each elector only casts a single vote for MVP. If media members could select their top three candidates, as happens in other sports, the Seahawks signal-caller would have surely ended up with at least a few by now.
Some legitimate legends have also failed to win an NFL MVP award
Based on his past comments, it’s safe to assume that Russell Wilson isn’t thrilled that he hasn’t received any NFL MVP love. The quarterback, however, is in some pretty good company.
Believe it or not, Jerry Rice never won an NFL MVP award; he did get the nod from both Newspaper Enterprise Association and the Pro Football Writers Association titles, but the AP’s MVP award is the title of record. Some other greats, like Deion Sanders and Dick Butkus, also failed to claim MVP honors, primarily due to their status as defensive players.
Based on his career to date, though, Russell Wilson should eventually earn NFL MVP honors; he consistently excels and, unlike Rice, Sanders, and Butkus, has the advantage of playing quarterback. Even if he doesn’t make it over the hump by the time he retires, though, the Seattle Seahawks signal-caller will remain in some pretty good company.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference