Lions court is back in session with a huge debate to tackle.
Judge Reisman: Welcome back to my courtroom, gentleman. Mr. Payton, nice to see you after the court deemed that the Detroit Lions should draft a running back rather than spend a good chunk of money on a free agent.
Mr. Mathews, welcome to Lions Court. I assure you this is a safe place where all arguments are given a fair shake. That being said, Mr. Mathews, I run a tight ship here and I expect you to give me and the entire courtroom the respect it deserves. Is that understood, Mr. Mathews?
Ryan Mathews: It is understood, your honor. But does that also make you a Buccaneers fan? I’ll leave the corny jokes to you.
Judge Reisman: Alright, then let’s proceed. Bailiff Perfett, please bring in the defendant.
SI.com’s Andy Benoit is escorted into the courtroom in shackles. He has clearly been crying.
In response to one Peter King asking which quarterback you’d rather build a team around, you stated, and I quote:
I’m putting Stafford over Wilson—and it’s a no-brainer.
[Gallery collectively gasps]
Judge Reisman: Silence in the courtroom! How do you plead to these charges, Mr. Benoit?
Andy Benoit: Not guilty, your honor. You see, I watch a lot of film and when you really look at these guys, and I mean really look—
Judge Reisman: Silence! Mr. Payton, I understand that you will be defending Mr. Benoit in that Matthew Stafford is indeed the better quarterback to build an offense around. Is that correct?
Mike Payton: That’s correct, your honor.
Judge Reisman: And, Mr. Mathews, you are the prosecutor in this case, arguing that Russell Wilson is the superior choice in this matter. Am I correct?
Judge Reisman: Correct... who?
Mathews: [begrudgingly] Correct, your honor.
Judge Reisman: Thank you. Alright, let’s begin. Please, Mr. Mathews, present your opening argument.
Mathews: Thank you, honorable Judge Reisman. Have I mentioned how esteemed you look in your judge’s wig? Oh, that’s your actual hair? Woof.
Anyways, look, here’s what all this boils down to, this argument of which quarterback you’d rather build a team around: what does each guy have around them? To take it further, who does more with less? Answering that question let’s you know who you have a better chance of winning with on Sundays.
Now, I’m not going to talk about #QBWinz, and I’m not going to talk about how each respective quarterback’s defense has performed, I’m simply talking about the things Peter King alluded to in this email sent to Mr. Payton’s client. And I quote:
“... effectiveness and playmaking and leadership and running and mobility and arm strength...”
Russell Wilson, especially in this season and also in years’ prior, has proven to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and he checks off every single box Mr. King had challenged Mr. Payton’s client to consider.
I’d like to submit the following tweet as evidence to the jury:
THAT. WAS. UNBELIEVABLE.— NFL (@NFL) November 10, 2017
QB wizardry, by @DangeRussWilson!#SEAvsAZ #Seahawks pic.twitter.com/L9IY843Jfr
In addition to Wilson being able to pull off things you could have only dreamed of being able to do when you were playing Madden on your Playstation, Wilson isn’t just making highlight-reel plays. Through 13 games this season, Wilson has 3,527 passing yards and 482 rushing yards for a total of 4,009 yards of offense.
The Seattle Seahawks, ladies and gentlemen, have 4,705 yards of offense in total. In other words, Russell Wilson accounts for 85 percent of his team’s offense. 85 percent. If he stays within a few percentage points of that figure, it’s the highest share of offense ever generated by a single player in NFL history.
Should Mr. Payton decide to bring up the “apparent” discrepancy between Stafford and Wilson’s respective running games, let’s take into account that Wilson is the Seahawks’ leading rusher. And by leading rusher, I mean he leads Seattle in attempts (76), yards (482), yards per carry (6.3) and rushing touchdowns (3). Runners, who are not Russell Wilson, have rushed for 892 yards on 264 carries—3.37 yards per carry.
By comparison, Lions runners not named Matthew Stafford are rushing for 3.30 yards per carry this season. A difference of a whopping 0.07 yards per carry. Let’s not act like Wilson has this superior rushing attack that makes his job any easier.
Also, let’s not ignore that Stafford has turned the ball over more than Wilson this season—Stafford has 9 interceptions and 7 lost fumbles, whereas Wilson has 11 interceptions and 2 lost fumbles.
Looking simply at the raw statistics of who has the “better ranked rushing attack,” ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is going to require you to turn off the way your brain traditionally understands these numbers, and realize that the Seattle Seahawks leading rusher is their quarterback for a couple of reasons. One, they have a whole stable of running backs that have failed to get the job done. Two, their offensive line is seriously bad.
In closing, allow me to address the question at hand here, posed by Mr. Payton’s client, Mr. Benoit:
If you’re building an offense, which QB do you want?
The answer to this question is Russell Wilson. He has all of the physical tools to make any throw on the field from anywhere. He has the mental makeup of a franchise quarterback, and all of this applies to Matthew Stafford as well. But, Wilson’s unique ability to use his legs to move the ball down the field is an asset Stafford just doesn’t have, and that added threat makes him the quarterback the defendant, Andy Benoit, actually prefers.
[The entire courtroom is in a state of apprehension and shock]
Now, Mr. Benoit, is it true you said the following?:
If I’m running a defense and I get to choose between facing Stafford or facing Wilson, I’d choose to face Stafford. And so he’s the guy I want to play with, but also against. Or, more apt for this conversation, Wilson is the guy I don’t want to play with or against.
Benoit: Yes, yes it is.
Mathews: You’re an idiot, a disgrace to the Benoit name, and I hate you.
Mike “Super Good Looking and Taller in Person” Payton: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I understand a few things in my life. I understand that the McRib is only out for limited time. I understand that Christmas music should not be screamed by 45 children at the same time, and that I will not go to your child’s Christmas concert, even if I am related to them.
I also understand what makes a great quarterback. And to add one more thing, I understand what makes a quarterback look even better than he truly is.
Now I’m not going to stand here in front of the jury today and tell you that Russell Wilson isn’t good. He’s great. I’d go as far as saying now that Carson Wentz is injured, Russell should be an MVP candidate this season.
Hmm. This season. Let’s think about that for a second. We as football people tend to look at a guy like Russell Wilson and watch him do everything he’s doing despite having a poor run game. The Seahawks have the 18th ranked rushing attack in the league per NFL.com.
As Ryan mentioned earlier, Wilson accounts for 85 percent of the Seahawks offense. That is quite impressive. But is it odd that Wilson can run the ball? Show me something new. Wilson has ran for 400 yards plus in five of his six seasons. That certainly adds a layer to Wilson’s game that Stafford can’t possibly beat.
It sure is incredible to watch Russell play as well as he has with such a bad offense surrounding him. I’d say he’s keeping this team afloat. It really is amazing. It would be more amazing however, if a certain quarterback in Detroit wasn’t doing what Wilson is and a whole lot better.
Consider this, ladies and gentlemen: Matthew Stafford has a higher completion percentage, a higher passer rating, has thrown fewer interceptions and is just a point lower on QBR than Wilson. The stats are all there, ladies and gentlemen. I can’t make those up.
What I also can’t make up is that Stafford is doing this with the 32nd ranked rushing offense, a makeshift offensive line that’s replacing pieces every week and an offense that’s so predictable that any Joe off the street can tell you what’s going to happen on third-and-1.
Furthermore, Mr. Stafford has gone out there and done this very same thing for going on a decade now. Mr. Wilson has had the benefit of a top five running game in four of his six seasons.
As for Wilson accounting for that 85 percent, what if I told you that if you subtract Russell Wilson’s 482 rushing yards from the Seahawks 2017 total, the Seahawks, as a team, have still rushed for exactly 100 yards less than the entire Lions rushing unit? I think you’d really have to appreciate what Stafford can do.
What he can do is supply the Lions with 3,773 of the Lions 4,699 total yards (80.3 percent). That means the rest of the Lions offense has accounted for just 926 yards that nothing to do with their quarterback. And he did all of this in the aforementioned extremely predictable offense.
Imagine being so good at your job that you just will things to happen because of it. Stafford is that kid on the basketball court that tells you he’s going to go right and then goes right anyways.
If we’re playing the quarterback wins game, then Russell Wilson is spectacular in the eyes of the average NFL analyst that ignores the other 52 players on the roster. You could see why Matthew Stafford doesn’t get his due. I hate quarterback wins. I always have. But it’s quite clear that Matthew Stafford is the Detroit Lions at this point. While Russell Wilson is a very good quarterback on an otherwise pretty decent team.
As Mr. Mathews pointed out earlier about checking boxes, Matthew Stafford checks all the aforementioned boxes as well. But the biggest difference is that Stafford doesn’t have anyone else around him that can also check a box or too. He also doesn’t have the benefit of nano bubbles. But that’s a different case for a different day.
Judge Reisman: Thank you, gentlemen. Please, both you try and catch your breath while we go into jury deliberation. Mr. Benoit, may god have mercy on your soul.
Jurors, let’s hear what you have to say: