One of the greatest days of any football fan's offseason is when the NFL schedule is released. One of the worst moments of my offseason seemingly yearly is seeing the Seattle Seahawks on the Eagles' schedule.
Reuben Frank laid it out: Seattle unquestionably owns the Eagles. Whether it was that disgusting 42-0 slaughter on Monday Night Football in the snow in 2005 or Russell Wilson running circles around defensive linemen in 2014, there is instant nausea that comes with knowing the Birds have to play the Hawks.
While the Giants game in the Meadowlands broke me for this season two weeks ago, I'm generally an Eagles optimist. On nearly every Sunday, I convince myself by 12:30 p.m. that the team will prevail no matter what. There is a lone exception that comes with that misplaced hope: Russell Wilson's reckoning.
Wilson's shadow has loomed large over the Eagles franchise ever since the team infamously passed on him during the 2012 NFL Draft. Considering taking him in the second round, the front office brass thought they'd be able to land them in the third round, opting to take Vinny Curry instead. Wilson was gone by the time the Birds picked again.
Yes, the Eagles ended up with Nick Foles in that draft, so it can be considered a wash, but neither Foles nor Carson Wentz are guys who'd be in the Hall of Fame if they retired tomorrow. Wilson has a Super Bowl ring of his own too.
Wilson is in many ways the perfect quarterback. He throws maybe the best deep ball in the league, maneuvers in the pocket while avoiding contact like no other and his intangibles are off the charts. It doesn't matter if it's Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams, Nolan Carroll, Ronald Darby or Avonte Maddox. When Wilson steps on the field against the Eagles, the Birds' cornerbacks are burnt diner rye toast.
The worst part about facing Wilson and Seattle this year? It's on Monday Night Football. You have to sit there all Sunday, watching enjoyable contests from teams that actually play sound football, but there's a little thought in the back of your head that you can't properly enjoy it because you know you can't escape Monday's fate. You then sit through your entire work day, playing around in spreadsheets and sending passive-aggressive emails knowing certain doom is on its way.
Dread it. Run from it. Russell Wilson arrives all the same.