JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- This year's cast of playoff teams serve as another no-nonsense reminder: You're going nowhere in this league without somebody legitimate under center.
Outside of Cam Newton and Nick Foles -- both Pro Bowl players -- every one of this year's postseason quarterbacks had voyaged to the playoffs before. Save for the rare exception, teams just don't wind their way into January with a half-baked pretender at signal-caller.
Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson knows Seattle's back-to-back playoff runs wouldn't have happened without Russell Wilson, saying Monday: "I'll tell you one thing: If your quarterback isn't right, you can't have a good football team."
Said Robinson: "There's no slight to any of the quarterbacks I had in the past, but it just felt like it didn't get right until Russell got here. And we saw his work ethic, and we saw how he handled himself in the locker room, we saw how he handled himself in the media and it just didn't seem right until we got our franchise quarterback. And he's special."
Pete Carroll acknowledged Monday that not everyone in Seattle was married to the idea of drafting a diminutive passer. The coach echoed, as he has before, that it was general manager John Schneider who "led the charge" on picking Wilson in the third round, essentially tugging others in the room along with him. While Carroll believed, not everyone bought in.
"It was really exciting for us," Carroll said. "We knew we were going to do something that was going to surprise maybe some people out there. We knew that we had a chance to get a guy that we were totally in love with that might be the difference-maker."
Picking the wrong quarterback in this league typically leads to men -- many men -- losing their jobs. Picking the right one, as Schneider did, means he'll never pay for a drink again in Seattle city limits.
Nor should he. He unearthed the prize that so many teams spend years, even decades, in search of.