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Richard Sherman: Russell Wilson is a 'mental giant'

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Super Bowl XLIX will feature the smartest coach-quarterback tandem of the past 15 years attempting to wrest the NFL crown from the mentally toughest team in the league.

Counting his days as Bill Parcells' defensive coordinator with the Giants, Bill Belichick will be coaching in his eighth Super Bowl. Tom Brady is the first quarterback to start six title games.

For all of that success in New England, it's the Seattle Seahawks who seem to have adopted Rudy Tomjanovich's maxim about never underestimating the heart of a champion.

The Seahawks needed an avalanche of fluky plays to wrap up the NFC, but the defense deserves credit for a stiff backbone and the offense for an unflappability in the face of their own ineptitude.

Battling back from the worst three-quarter stretch of his career, Russell Wilson outlined exactly how the game would end during the overtime coin flip.

"I told (offensive coordinator) Darrell Bevell I was going to get the look I wanted," Wilson said, via NFL Media columnist Michael Silver, "make the check we'd practiced and hit Jermaine (Kearse) for the winning touchdown."

Coach Pete Carroll corroborated Wilson's account.

"True story," Carroll said. "We had something in mind all game, and were just waiting for the look, and Russell told Darrell that's what was gonna happen. Even when things were rough, he was in it the whole way. He never doubted that he could get it done. He never hesitated, never flinched. We talked the whole time, and he kept saying that we were gonna find a way."

It wasn't just the coaches in awe of Wilson's composure.

All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman proclaimed Wilson a "mental giant."

"When the ball didn't bounce his way, he didn't go in the tank and say, 'Woe is me,' " Sherman explained, "He stepped up when we needed him most and he won the game for us. I'm not sure people get how great he is. I hope they get it now."

While Wilson garners plenty of credit for his athleticism and improvisational skills, the mental side of his game has been underappreciated.

"I know the game's gotta be slow to Russ, for him to see that and make that call in that situation," All-Pro safety Earl Thomas said of the game-winning play. "When I saw them line up that way, I said, 'That's it, man.' And the two-point conversion? That's Russ. Russell does all kinds of stuff you never think of. It just works."

Wilson is set to match wits with the most accomplished postseason quarterback of the 21st century for 60 minutes.

"I've been thinking about this for months," cornerback Brandon Browner said, via NFL Media's Judy Battista. "Ali-Frazier, if that's what you want to call it. I call it Seahawks-Patriots."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps Championship Sunday, and breaks down the Seahawks' historic comeback against the Packers. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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