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Super Bowl QBs Wilson, Brady are a study in contrasts

PHOENIX, USA - Quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Tom Brady make the Super Bowl 49 clash between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots a duel of contrasting styles.

New England's Brady, of course, is already guaranteed his spot in the Hall of Fame. A three-time Super Bowl winner, the 37-year-old Brady will be the first quarterback to start six Super Bowls.

Playing the game's marquee position in classic style, Brady won titles in 2002, 2004 and 2005, but since then has twice fallen to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, in 2008 and 2012.

With a victory over the Seahawks, Brady would match his boyhood idol Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as starting quarterbacks with four rings.

Wilson, 26, recalls watching as a teenager when Brady won his first Super Bowl crown.

Small for an NFL quarterback at 5-foot-11, Wilson has defied expectations with a strong arm and running ability and will be the youngest quarterback in league history to start two Super Bowls.

"Russell and Tom Brady are both great winners," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "Tom has had a long time to prove that. Russell is at the early stages of proving that to the world. But he's got a chance to be similar."

Similar someday in accomplishment, perhaps, but not in style.

"He throws the ball kind of like a baseball, so at times it is a little bit more difficult to catch because he puts a lot of velocity on it," Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said of Wilson, who is adept at throwing on the run, but can just as easily take off with the ball.

"However, it is very accurate and it is a tight spiral. When you pick it up in its trajectory it is pretty much going to where it is going to go."

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman calls a ball thrown by Brady, a field general most at home passing from the pocket, "a pretty ball" - as he'd expect from a veteran who never stops trying to improve.

"He still has a quarterback coach come out and coach him up all the time," Edelman said. "He's always working on his fundamentals."

Competitive mindset

Even after his precocious Super Bowl success last year, in which his Seahawks routed future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos 43-8, some critics dismissed Wilson as a "game manager,” a quarterback of pedestrian talent who succeeded through minimizing risk and making use of the tools available such as spectacular Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.

Carroll said that if any proof was needed that Wilson is an athlete of elite stature, not only in his skills but in his mindset, it was evident in the Seahawks' stunning overtime victory over Green Bay in the NFC championship game.

Wilson had thrown four interceptions and Seattle trailed by double digits late in regulation.

But Wilson kept his faith and his focus, guiding three touchdown drives for the win.

"He's got a tremendous competitive mindset," Carroll said. "You saw a tremendous illustration of that. I don't think you could hope an athlete at this level could have a more clear mindset of what it takes to come through and get it done more so than what Russell has."

Brady was in his first year as a starter, his second in the league, when he won his first Super Bowl title in 2002, leading the Patriots over the St. Louis Rams.

He admits now that he didn't understand the magnitude of lifting two more titles in the next three years.

"That happened so fast," Brady said. "I didn’t even understand what was happening."

Since then he's endured two Super Bowl disappointments, one of those defeats coming at the same University of Phoenix Stadium where he'll play on Sunday.

Brady says that coincidence won't weigh on him.

"It's not where you play, it's how you play," he said. Against Wilson and the Seahawks, "if we want to win this game, we've got to play really well." -