For a city known so much for coffee and rain, Seattle’s done a fine job of finding gems and turning them into stars. As they sit at 3-1 and en route to their sixth postseason appearance in seven years, the Seahawks and their cast of players who entered the NFL with a chip on their shoulder continue to guide the Birds; Russell Wilson is healthy and looks to be his old self again, Richard Sherman is again playing like one of the league’s best cornerbacks, and the rest of the team is mimicking the New England Patriots with the “next man up” mantra.
A player who once was the “next man up” for Pete Carroll, Doug Baldwin, has also continued his evolution into one of the top receivers in a crowded class. Already, Baldwin (24 catches for 330 yards and two touchdowns) is set to eclipse his career-high in catches (78), yards (1030), and catch percentage (75.7, as the former Stanford product is currently catching 77.4 percent of balls thrown his way). In a year where the Seahawks needed more offensive production with the sudden retirement of Marshawn Lynch this offseason, Baldwin has stepped up and proven that his 2015 season was far from a fluke.
Wednesday night, Baldwin will sit down with Bill Simmons, another gem who came out of nowhere to make a name for himself on the big stage, on HBO’s Any Given Wednesday starting at 10:00 p.m. ET. Baldwin will also be joined by Ted‘s Joel McHale and, for the first time on set, actor and diehard New York Knicks fan Michael Rapaport. Earlier this year, Rapaport starred alongside Simmons in a skit that parodied the Deflategate trial.
Expect a similar conversation to happen on Wednesday night, involving Rapaport’s Knicks after a rough preseason loss to the Houston Rockets. The main thing to watch for tonight, however, is Simmons’ conversation with Baldwin on concussions.
HBO’s Bill Simmons: “You got nailed last week by Calvin Pryor on a 37-yard pass. Did you go through the concussion protocol? And what’s it like to go through the concussion protocol?”
Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin: “Yeah. They took me to the sideline, made sure that I was cognitively still there.”
TV Host Joel McHale: “You did scream, ‘I am the Batman,’ right?”
Doug Baldwin: “No, I did not. It was Spiderman. But yeah, they take you through the protocol. It was the normal thing.”
Bill Simmons: “Is it a good protocol? What would you change about it?”
Doug Baldwin: “You see how you set me up here?
Bill Simmons: “I’m curious. Is it effective? Could you have faked your way back into the game?”
And then, Baldwin drops a bombshell that is likely going to get him either a fine or a stern talking to from the NFL.
“Could I have? Yes. Did I? No. But I could have, yes. I think there are a number of players who do that. It’s relatively known around the league and even the officials know that it’s not an exact science. Guys – we know the protocol so if you are cognitively there somewhat then you can cheat the system. But honestly I don’t know what’s a better way to do it. We’re waiting for that. We’re waiting for that information. And we still don’t know truly how to relieve these issues with concussions. Obviously, technology is coming out to try to fix this problem but I don’t think we will ever, like you said, I don’t think we will ever fix these issues.”
A video of the conversation can be seen below.
Last week’s episode of Any Given Wednesday, which starred Abby Wambach and Charlamagne Tha God, had a sharp decrease in views from the past few weeks as only 144,000 fans tuned in; with how well entertainment episodes have done, the low ratings for an episode with Charlamagne seem surprising, but that likely has to do with the addition of Abby Wambach in what appeared at times to be a forced, cringeworthy interview. Time and time again, it has shown that the majority of American men don’t at all care for women’s sports, despite how good the players might be.
Wambach’s demeanor also seemed to rub some fans the wrong way, as she spent a fair amount of the interview not smiling and looking like she wanted to just leave the set. Thankfully, tonight’s episode has a bit more atmosphere and Simmons looks much more comfortable talking to Baldwin than concussions than he did talking to Wambach about soccer.
Baldwin, who signed as an undrafted free agent with the Seahawks in 2011, also talks to Simmons about the anthem and how one owner is telling his players to…well, you’ll just have to watch to find out. Let’s just say that if you only watch that part tonight, you’ll see how much better it was than the Wambach interview.
[Featured Image by Elsa/Getty Images]