He goes by many names. “Wall-Crawler.” “Web-Slinger.” “The Human Spider.” But he is most famously known as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. This guardian of New York City in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is famous for striking from a distance while subduing opponents with his agility and frustrating them with his escapability. Moreover, the Spider’s secret identity, nerdy A+ student Peter Parker, is known as an awkward youth with a heart of gold that understands “with great power comes great responsibility.” Of all the installments of The Sports Fan’s Guide to Nerd Culture released by NGSC Sports and Hilarity by Default thus far, this may be the most spot on as we explain why the Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is like the one they call the “Web-Head.”
In order to get the perfect visual comparison between the amazing Spider-Man and the Pro Bowl Game Manager, one merely needs to see Wilson maneuvering his way out of danger in his backfield.
When Wilson was an upstart third-round pick that shocked the NFL landscape by becoming the starter over Tavares Jackson and Matt Flynn, he had moments where he looked less like the established superhero protector and more like Peter Parker learning how to adjust to his newly found powers.
Those powers would be helpful after the 2013 regular season as his Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl and he teamed up with the Legion of Boom – much like Spidey did with some of The Avengers in Captain America: Civil War. Although, like the Wall-Crawler fighting with Iron Man and company, he had a relatively small role in that championship game (technically speaking, Spider-Man’s team loses in the big fight, but Russell Wilson also lost a Super Bowl later in his career).
In addition to their grace and finesse in the field, the Spider and the Seahawk both sport a similar personality. Wilson comes off as somewhat awkward, but it’s because of his tendency to not seek the spotlight much like his arachnid-themed counterpart. Both focus first and foremost on their neighbors and the people they care for. Heck, what says “friendly neighborhood” more than an NFL quarterback repeatedly hosting Nickelodeon’s Kid Choice Awards?
That’s not to say these two aren’t without their critics. I myself, the Student of the Game, was critical of the young passer when he first hit the top of the depth chart as a rookie (which I predicted in the 2012 preseason) much like the head of the Daily Bugle newspaper, J. Jonah Jameson. Yet as time passed by, I warmed up to the fact that Rusty improved his game to more than just some menace running around the turf waiting for an opportunity to save the day. Even J.J. Jameson came around to supporting Spidey in certain circumstances where his best interests were to be served.
But at the end of the day, Russell Wilson and Spider-Man are both positive icons that often times get entirely too much flak. Nothing proves that like the snubbing of the Seahawks team captain from winning the MVP for the 2017 season. With an injury-plagued offensive line that often failed to protect him, poor production from his running backs, a mediocre receiver corps, and a defensive that had to medically sideline a handful of stars, the only thing keeping Seattle playoff competitive throughout that year can be summarized in this legendary scene from the second Sam Raimi movie.
Comparing these two is simple on and off the field. They both use speed, smarts, and tenacity to achieve victory while also being an everyday average Joe in an extraordinary situation. Their communities are enriched by their existence in print and in real life.