It's no coincidence that the most successful run in Seahawks history began when quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker Bobby Wagner joined the team in 2012, just as it's no surprise that their names are almost always two of the first mentioned by Seahawks coach Pete Carroll when talking about the success of this year's team.
So it should hardly come as a surprise that when the NFL announced selections for the 2020 Pro Bowl, Wagner and Wilson were the two Seahawks picked for the NFC squad. This is Wagner's sixth consecutive Pro-Bowl selection, while it is Wilson's seventh in an eight-year career.
Wilson is among the league leaders in passer rating (109.3) and touchdown passes (28) while throwing just five interceptions, and has also hit a number of impressive career benchmarks this season. Wilson is the first quarterback to post a winning record in each of his first eight seasons, and with one more regular season win, he would break a tie with Tom Brady for the most wins in a quarterback's first eight seasons. This year he joined Peyton Manning as the only players in league history to pass for 3,000 yards and 20 or more touchdowns in each of their first eight seasons.
Wilson, who already has the most touchdown passes in team history, needs 103 more yards to pass Matt Hasselbeck as the team's all-time leading passer with 29,435 yards.
Wagner ranks second in the NFL with 139 tackles, and posted his eighth 100-tackle season in as many years in the league. Earlier this season he became the team's all-time leader in tackles, and his 1,053 career tackles are the second most in the NFL since 2012. Wagner also set the franchise record for tackles in a season earlier this year with 19 in Seattle's Week 3 loss to New Orleans.
Along with linebacker K.J. Wright, Wagner and Wilson have been the two constants on Seattle's roster as the team has posted winning seasons for eight straight years from 2012 through this season, reaching the playoffs seven times and reaching the Super Bowl twice.
And for as impressive as Wilson and Wagner's numbers have been, the leadership of Seattle's offensive and defensive captains has also been a huge factor in Seattle's success, as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll pointed to Monday when asked about his team's 10-1 record in games decided by one-score margins.
"I think we're a poised team," Carroll said. "I think it comes right from Russell and Bobby. I think those guys on the field make other guys stay within themselves and not get scattered and continue to help us execute. It means really, the leadership that those guys offer, I would go right to that. We're never out of anything. We don't ever feel like that. To be like that and extend that message, you have to come across with poise or guys aren't going to listen to you and it's not going to have the effect. We have really good leadership. I would like to think that's a big part of it."
This is just the latest recent honor for Wagner, who last week was named the team's nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, an honor that recognizes both on-field excellence and the impact he makes in the community.
"Bobby has just demonstrated the epitome of consistency and class and character and leadership in this program," Carroll said of Wagner being nominated for the Man of the Year Award. "I'm not surprised that he's being recognized for this honor at this time, because he just does everything, and he has done it year in and year out. He has never wavered. His marvelous consistency has been so obvious, and we've cheered for him the whole time because has just been such a great guy in the program. It's very fitting that they would recognize that."
In addition to Wilson and Wagner, the Seahawks also had seven players named as alternates to the Pro Bowl: left tackle Duane Brown, running back Chris Carson, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, safety Quandre Diggs, cornerback Shaquill Griffin, guard Mike Iupati and receiver Tyler Lockett.
The 2020 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 26 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. And just like the Pro Bowlers on every playoff team, Wagner and Wilson hope to be unavailable for the Pro Bowl, which takes place the weekend before Super Bowl LIV.
Ahead of the Seahawks' December 15th game against the Carolina Panthers, they were joined by a special 12, Ashton. Ashton is from Poquoson, VA and was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma in October 2017. His love of the Seahawks began when the team drafted S Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech, in the 2010 NFL Draft. Ashton's grandfather also attended Virginia Tech and was a Hokie season ticket holder. Ashton's favorite player is Russell Wilson because he is from Richmond, Virginia, but he truly loves the entire team and watching them play every Sunday.
Ashton joined the Seahawks in Charlotte on Saturday for the team's walk-thru and quickly got put in the mix greeting the team and running plays with the offense. On Sunday, Ashton and his family attended the game enjoying the pregame festivities from the sidelines in the company of Seahawks' mascot Blitz and Panthers' mascot Sir Purr.