By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) The late, not-so-great standup comedian George Miller left us with at least one memorable line, about the tendency of professional athletes to credit a higher power for their successes, yet never blame it for their failures.
“Just once I want to hear somebody say it,” he quipped. “’The game was going great, until Jesus made me fumble.’”
We’re mostly numb now to the postgame shoutouts to the invisible sky-people who preordain final scores, living in post-Tebow times with full understanding that such things are part of the fabric of sports. Russell Wilson gave us a doozy, though, after the Seahawks’ improbable comeback win over the bumbling Packers propelled them to another Super Bowl.
When Erin Andrews of FOX found him for comment, a blubbering Wilson made it clear who was responsible.
“God is too good all the time, man,” he gushed. “I just believe that god prepared me for these situations. God’s prepared our team, too, as well.”
The images of him actually doing that are fun to consider, whether barking instructions to the scout team on the practice field, sitting in a darkened film room and using lightning bolts from his fingers to point out missed blocking assignments, or explaining that yes, he’ll know for sure when the fake punt is coming, so pay attention.
But Wilson had been historically awful for almost the entire game, despite all the divine coaching. He had thrown four interceptions and had a passer efficiency rating of 0.0. How was that possible, if stars were aligning in his favor all the time?
Well that was god, too, as part of the heavenly screenwriting. As Wilson explained to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, “That’s god setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special.”
This is a notable first — as far as I can tell – the closest we have ever come to the fulfillment of George Miller’s wish. Wilson is apparently going in full with the theory that he has no responsibility for any of his actions on the field, instead merely acting as a vessel for another being to control the outcome. Russell Wilson, mere instrument of god’s will for better or worse.
The poor Packers are apparently in a bad place with the big man, then, unworthy of such grand favor. It seems that either Aaron Rodgers’ two interceptions are just his fault, or god has it in for him for some unknown reason.
On his weekly radio show, Rodgers downplayed the role of that kind of magic in what occurred.
“I don’t think god cares a whole lot about the outcome,” he said. “He cares about the people involved, but I don’t think he’s a big football fan.”
Wilson obviously disagrees and probably imagines god lounging in the best man cave imaginable, with enough flat-screens to see all of it, Seahawks jersey on, Fathead stickers on the walls and a huge pile of wings in front of him, next to one of those stuffed-crust pizzas.
While we’re at it, we can foresee a time now when a player gives credit to somebody or something other than god. A recent state Supreme Court ruling in Florida cleared the way for a shrine to Satan to be displayed alongside others in the capitol building, so that’s a particularly football-crazed state now opening its doors to devil worshippers and even the Pastafarians – those who wear colanders on their heads in reverence to the Flying Spaghetti Monster in which they believe.
There could be cosmic competition ahead, as various deities battle it out on behalf of their respective flocks for control over the flight of footballs everywhere, be they partially deflated or not.
But special congratulations are in order for Russell Wilson, the first professional athlete to openly blame god for something he did wrong.
The only question is whether he would have done so had they lost.