He has to be in on the joke at this point. Russell Wilson is playing with our feeble little minds. That’s the only explanation for the Denver Broncos quarterback to keep leaning into this personality that feels straight out of a “How to Act Like a Quarterback for Dummies” book.
At every turn, Wilson is catching heat from the media, teammates, and the public for a perceived inauthenticity. The only correction that he has made in response to that is to stop punctuating his interviews with “Let’s ride,” the same way he would do it with “Go Hawks,” when he played for the Seattle Seahawks.
While talking to the media on Wednesday, Wilson gave an hour-by-hour account of how he spent the Denver Broncos’ trans-Atlantic flight to London, and yes it was insufferable. He was asked how he spent the trip and the first sentence out of his mouth was, “I don’t really get jet lagged too often.”
Wilson then went on about how he divided his time between watching film and working out. He wasn’t watching “Gladiator” or catching up on “Abbott Elementary.” While the team was asleep, he was putting in the work.
“The first two hours I was watching the film, watching all of the cut-ups and everything else,” Wilson told the media. “And then for the next four hours, I was doing treatment on the plane. I was walking up and down the aisles. Everyone else was knocked out. I was doing high knees and working out my legs and everything else, making sure I’m ready to rock.”
Sure Wilson is dealing with a hamstring injury, but the Broncos have professional trainers and equipment. None of it he said he used. No Theragun, no stim — just high knees up and down the aisles while the rest of the organization is trying to get some shuteye. Surely that’s what will keep K.J. Hamler from spiking his helmet in frustration after a future blown opportunity.
How did social media respond to Wilson’s “how I spent my flight to London” report? It roasted him like a s’more. Endless hyperbolic tweets about what he looked like working out and making noise on the plane. Disturbing all of the Broncos staff who don’t want to win as badly as Wilson because, for them, an eight-hour flight to a different country does require some R&R to properly do their jobs.
Wilson is like The Rock’s first character in the then-WWF, Rocky Maivia. He came in all smiling and cheerful, just happy to be in the ring as a third-generation wrestling star. However, the cotton candy got too sweet and he began to get booed. When that character stopped working, The Rock was invented. The snorting, trash-talking, full of Miami football swagger wrestler became a fan favorite turned movie star.
I’m not saying that Wilson should start calling the crowd 60,000 pieces of trash, or threaten to shine up his cleat and shove it straight up the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roody-poo candy asses, but he should stop leaning into whatever this manicured babyface image he has been creating for 10 years is.
Trying to be liked is never the best way to make friends — and it hasn’t worked for the signal-caller. Especially, when there appears to be another side to him. The side that might require Marshawn Lynch to speak to a representative in order to contact his former teammate, or Kyle Brandt going viral for saying that Wilson is “the least authentic person in the NFL” and a “poser.” That’s two NFL personalities with very high Q scores not saying that they dislike Wilson, but certainly painting him in a negative light.
If Wilson is going for being the first heel in sports by pressing the gas on the “say your prayers, eat your vitamins,” personality that went out of style back when he was a child, then he is in the middle of a scientific study that needs to be presented to a panel. I’m choosing to believe that’s the case, because it makes more sense than him acting the way that he does because it somehow benefits him.