Russell Wilson is preparing to play in the biggest football game in his life on Sunday when he leads the Seattle Seahawks into Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos, but in the meantime many NFL teams are kicking themselves for not drafting him out of Wisconsin.
One of those teams could be the Chicago Bears who had former offensive coordinator Mike Tice lobby for the team to move him up on the team’s draft board despite the presence of Jay Cutler.
“Mike believed in him and said he was trying to build a case for him in Chicago,” Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told Sports Illustrated. “He was saying he was trying to give him more value on our draft board, saying he could play Wildcat quarterback for you, or be a wing back.”
Tice’s son was a member of the Badgers football team and took in a number of games and even practices while Wilson was there as pointed out by Adam Hoge of CBS Chicago when he helped lead the team to the Rose Bowl.
But how much clout does an offensive coordinator–who was terminated half a year later– hold over a first-year general manager looking to make his imprint on a team?
Wilson ultimately was drafted 75th overall by the Seahawks, four spots before the Bears used their third round pick on Brandon Hardin who never played a down in the NFL and the rest is history.
But how could NFL history been rewritten had the Bears traded up in the third round to take him? The Seahawks would not be in the Super Bowl this year, would Cutler have signed an extension this season, would Wilson have developed in Chicago and would Matt Flynn be the Seahawks quarterback?
All of these what-ifs make for an interesting discussion and a maddening proposition if you’re a Bears fan and not a Cutler fan, but for the Seahawks, they have one of the best young quarterbacks in NFL history and are four quarters away from their first Super Bowl win.