Let’s keep Wilson's image pristine
Time for him to cut loose
It's possible that Russell Wilson would be creative, funny and charming on TV. It's possible that he would be the funniest "Saturday Night Live" athlete host, like, ever. (The competition for that title really isn't all that intense.) But you know what else is possible? That he would be awkward and terrible. Honestly, the odds are really high that he would be awkward and terrible.
Remember Wayne Gretzky?
I'm actually looking out for all of Seattle when I say this: I would rather see Peyton Manning host again. Seattle is so enamored with its young star, and the feeling seems mutual; he seems totally smitten with the city. Nobody in the Pacific Northwest needs to see Wilson stumble through an opening monologue, or be forced to make jokes about Seattle's weather or its grunge roots or its snobby coffee culture. (For the record, Seattle, I'm a coffee snob, so I love you.)
Let's just let Seattle keep Wilson in their minds as a mythical figure without flaws, OK?
You know that moment when someone is in way over his or her head on a late-night comedy show, and there are still 90 full minutes to endure? It's truly cringe-worthy and painful. That's what I'm hoping to avoid here. Peyton has proved himself capable -- I would go so far as to say he's proved himself talented at late-night comedy. We know this because one of his "SNL" skits -- the "United Way" digital short in which he throws dodgeballs at children -- has 1.9 million views on YouTube.
I think Wilson needs to start smaller. He needs to anchor a commercial first, maybe something like Papa John's or Sprint, to prove his acting chops. If he can't carry a two-minute taped spot, there's no way we can let him onstage at 30 Rockefeller Center.
We need to make the safe choice here. Do it for Seattle.
Peyton Manning hosting "Saturday Night Live"? We've seen that show. He's the lovable dork, good-natured but probably not leaping into movies whenever he decides to hang up the football cleats.
It's time to give Russell Wilson a chance. The Seattle quarterback has a marquee smile, and this is one area where people can't knock his height since he's taller than Tom Cruise.
Really, there's not a lot of work in being an athlete who hosts "Saturday Night Live." You just have to stand there and deliver the lines that have been written with your hosting/acting deficiencies in mind.
The teleprompter is right there -- so it has to be easier than your average postgame presser. You do the obligatory scene where they dress you like a woman; you introduce a musical act; and you stand there while the credits roll.
It's not like Manning is Steve Martin, Justin Timberlake or some other perennial host.
Wilson might have a sense of humor in there somewhere. He hasn't done any Beats commercials like San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, or a hilarious Kanye video sendup like Jets center Nick Mangold for Pepsi. But Wilson has done a good job defining himself on the field, and cutting lose on the edgy late show would be a good way to give a sense of who he is to those he has won over with his gritty play.
So far, we know he doesn't wear Uggs like Tom Brady, or throw interceptions like Eli Manning -- at least this season.
Wilson needs an opportunity like "SNL," since apparently he is too focused on being an excellent quarterback, which is fine but completely boring. If Wilson doesn't find some way to open up, Joe Namath might want to send him some wardrobe ideas so the young QB can liven it up a little bit.
Stop hogging the spotlight, Peyton.