Russell Wilson couldn’t hear anyone talking on the other end of his in-helmet communication system during a drive in Sunday’s game at Cleveland. But the Seattle Seahawks quarterback was loud and clear himself this week on how he navigated the tech snafu.
During the newest episode of Wilson’s “DangerTalk” podcast, Wilson, alongside tight end Luke Willson, talked about leading the Seahawks on a seven-play scoring drive in the third quarter against the Browns. Wilson was calling the plays himself without any input from his sideline coaches.
“It’s all about game plan and understanding who you want to get the ball to,” Wilson said of executing without offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer in his ear.
While in-helmet communication tech has been around for 25 years in the NFL, Wilson did make a sly reference as to whether the technology cutting out, for the visiting team, wasn’t just a little bit … unsurprising.
“When it goes off — and it happens sometimes, especially on the road, it’s weird how that happens,” he said. “It just shuts off somehow. That’s happened, several times before at different stadiums.”
Malfunctioning headsets have made news before, notably during the 2015 season when Pittsburgh coaches ended up with a radio broadcast in their ears during a game in New England. There are plenty of moving parts when it comes to NFL teams trying to communicate and gain an edge through the use of tech, whether it’s with Bose headsets or Microsoft Surface tablets.
For his part, Willson said Wilson was being modest about how easy it all is, and that he had no idea the QB’s headset was out until they were running off the field after a touchdown.
“I thought we were doing 2-minute [drill], Russ was just running the show,” Willson said. “It was pretty sick, man.”
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Wilson said he liked the situation, without the tech in his head, where he could “just play ball, play free,” and he referenced his time-tested appreciation of the preparation that goes into playing the game. “You gotta be a coach on the field. Gotta be able to play the game and go find a way to win.”
And he likened his approach to that of San Francisco 49ers greats Joe Montana and Steve Young, saying that those QBs memorized plays and knew every potential scenario that could be called in a game.
Beyond Sunday’s misfire, Wilson said generally he can hear pretty well in the helmet headset. There’s a little bit of static. And there is no joking during game time with Schottenheimer.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s not like you’re sitting there with a great sound system in your helmet,” Willson said.
“No,” Wilson said, laughing.