Why I’m not too worried about Russell Wilson’s “questionable” decision-making

I’ll admit that in the past I’ve expressed concern regarding Russell Wilson’s questionable decision-making. See, “The narrative is wrong: Russell Wilson makes questionable decisions, too“, and “The one guy Russell Wilson needs to stop taking advice from“. But here’s the thing: both of those posts deal with his decision-making ability off the field. I have yet to question (so far as I can recall) his ability on the field. Which is why scaremongering headlines like this one — “Russell Wilson’s Decision-Making Is a Concern Heading into Super Bowl” — don’t have me too worried heading into Super Bowl Sunday.

In fact, in case I wasn’t confident enough before, the article itself actually helped reassure me. Here’s how its author, Sean Tomlinson, spins Wilson’s performance against Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game into his source of primary concern:

The human mind falls victim to recency bias far too easily, so foremost in our memories right now are Wilson’s two overtime throws that sealed an improbable comeback. It’s convenient to forget that until the 3:52 mark of the fourth quarter Wilson had eight completions, and he was the reason a series of miraculous events were needed to resuscitate title defense hopes.

Tomlinson has a point: there’s always a danger of remembering the good times — especially when they’re most recent — and forgetting what came before. Anyone can fall victim to this sort of hubris, but it’s especially dangerous for the players who will actually take the field Sunday. If Russell believes he’s invincible — that he can throw sexy deep balls against the Patriots with impunity, or that his team can climb out of any hole he digs — and consequently fails to adequately prepare for the big game, the Hawks are in trouble.

But here’s the thing: he won’t. I can’t believe I even have to write this. He’s Russell Wilson. Just read how he opened his recent article in Derek Jeter’s The Player’s Tribune:

When we were down against Green Bay in the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship Game, it seemed like everything that could go wrong had gone wrong. Personally, I was having one of my worst games of my career. But after every single throw — whether it was a tipped ball or an incompletion or a touchdown — I’d turn back toward the huddle, close my eyes and think of a table in an empty room. On that table was a big red RESET button, just like in the movies. I’d imagine pressing the button. Boom. On to the next one. What’s the situation now? How can I make a play?

Don’t let DangeRuss fool you. That big red RESET button he described? He’s lying. You won’t find it on some table in an empty room — it’s located somewhere on Wilson himself, between the motherboard and the motor. I often call him Russell ‘the man’ Wilson* (a cross between Dan ‘the man’ Wilson and Fran ‘the man’ Tarkenton), but it would be far more accurate to call him Russell ‘the robot‘ Wilson. Sure, Tomlinson may be correct when he notes that “[t]he human mind falls victim to recency bias far too easily” but the RW-3 isn’t programmed to suffer from human recency bias.

It is, on the other hand, programmed to end with this: Go Hawks.

*Coincidentally, I did that for the first time when he made a name for himself with the Patriot game.


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