Plenty of cities across the country have bad blood. New York and Boston. Philly and Pittsburgh. Los Angeles and San Francisco. Those long-standing local squabbles have all hardened the identity of their respective metropolises.
On the surface, the rivalry between Seattle and Green Bay is a bit of a random conflict. It is nearly a 2,000-mile drive between the pair, and the Emerald City has over a half-million more residents than its Wisconsin brother.
But in recent memory, the blood feud between the two cities has heated up, as the Packers and Seahawks continually pound heads on the gridiron. Several high-profile instances come to mind: 2004’s infamous "We Want the Ball and We’re Gonna Score." 2012’s Fail Mary. 2015’s Brandon Bostick Fumble. Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Holmgren resigned from his position with Green Bay to join the Seahawks in the late 1990s. Seattle was even used as the boogeyman to put pressure on Wisconsin lawmakers when the nearby Milwaukee Bucks were looking for taxpayer funding for their new arena in the middle of the previous decade.
But no matter the game situation or the inter-city political machinations, there remains one shining light who will always overpower any ill will between Washington and Wisconsin sports fans: sweet, curly haired Russell Wilson.
Wilson has made a habit of quickly worming his way into the hearts of his team’s fans. He has already cemented his status on the Seahawks’ Mount Rushmore in just eight seasons, but that’s nothing compared to the fan favorite status he holds in Wisconsin after just one year quarterbacking the Badgers. Following three years at NC State, Wilson spent his grad transfer season in Madison, where he posted the finest statistical season in Badgers history (191.8 rating). For the 2011 campaign, Wilson racked up over 3,500 yards and 40 total touchdowns to just four interceptions.
Wisconsin’s season ended with an all too familiar refrain – a Rose Bowl loss – but the regular season run-up was truly memorable. From the 50-point highs of the first six weeks to the stunning Hail Mary defeat at Michigan State to the late season rebound against no. 19 Penn State and the back-and-forth Big Ten Championship victory over the aforementioned Spartans, that Badgers season was as entertaining as any Wisconsin fan could draw up.
And with names like Montee Ball, James White, Melvin Gordon, Jared Abbrederis and Nick Toon dotting the roster, that 2011 squad – led by Wilson – was as talented as any offensive group in Wisconsin history. No matter how many times Wilson stands on the opposing sideline as a pro, that lone season in Madison will forever be etched into the hearts of Wisconsinites.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Wilson sports only an 81.9 career passer rating against the Packers, his worst mark against any opponent. Wilson so fondly remembers his time in America’s Dairyland that he is willing to turn into Ryan Fitzpatrick (a career rating of 81.6) anytime he faces the green and gold. That’s true kinship right there.
And if you need another Seahawk to cheer for, Whitefish Bay's Nick Bellore is also on the team.
When Brian's not writing about sports, he is probably prattling on about Marquette hoops, digging through statistics, or re-binging his favorite television series. Any conversation that begins with a quote from "The Office" or "West Wing" is a surefire way to grab his attention.