Russell Wilson has seen wife Ciara blamed for his bad form ever since they met in 2015… now, with a fresh start in Pittsburgh that has caught Travis Kelce’s eye, the quarterback has no excuse not to perform on the field!

When Russell Wilson signed a five-year, $245million deal with the Broncos in 2022, he said he wanted to spend the rest of his career in Denver.

‘I believe this is a marriage,’ he told reporters.

Two years later, that marriage – initially built on a shaky first-time head coach in Nathaniel Hackett and the league’s worst scoring offense in 2022 – is over.

But Wilson surely has a better foundation to succeed in his next stop: the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he agreed to join on a meager $1.21million deal this week after the Broncos cut him (and still owe him nearly $38 million this year).

In the Steel City, Wilson will join a team where he’s essentially the missing piece.

Russell Wilson speaks at his introductory Steelers press conference on Friday afternoonIn the past, his wife Ciara has received baseless blame for some of his poor performancesWilson is now the only QB on the Steelers' roster after the team traded away Pickett

2021 Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt mans an imposing defense with the help of Pro Bowl safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, while George Pickens is a hugely promising young receiver.

The one-two punch of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren in the backfield has proven to be competent as well.

It certainly won’t hurt, either, that Wilson will get to play for Mike Tomlin, now the longest-tenured coach in the league and one of its most respected.

Even with an unimpressive Kenny Pickett the last two seasons (who was traded to the Eagles on Friday), and a sprinkling of backup Mason Rudolph, Tomlin still has never posted a losing season throughout his 17 seasons in Pittsburgh.

Now, he’ll be aiming higher than merely sneaking into the playoffs, as the team did last year, with nine-time Pro Bowler Wilson entering the fray.

‘To be a Pittsburgh Steeler, to wear the black and gold, it’s a true honor, it’s tradition, it’s history,’ Wilson told reporters at his introductory Pittsburgh presser. ‘There’s six trophies in there. We’re coming to get a seventh.’

There’s a perhaps unfair gap between what Wilson once was and what he’s perceived to be now.

Kenny Pickett struggled as the Steelers' QB after the team drafted him in 2022And Tomlin decided to move on from Pickett following the signing of the veteran Wilson

The 35-year-old is no longer one of the league’s five or so best quarterbacks, but his team’s failures in Denver have swung public opinion of him a bit too far in the other direction.

If you claw past the constant barrage of memes poking fun at the self-serious quarterback, you’ll see he played pretty well for the Broncos last season: 26 touchdowns and just eight interceptions show he can still be an effective player, if not the great one he used to be.

But that doesn’t mean that ‘Mr. Unlimited’ is quite finished.

While his exorbitant Denver contract was viewed as an overpay for a declining arm, Pittsburgh fans are now branding him a ‘steal’ after signing for near the league minimum.

The Kelce brother were also full of praise for Wilson after he signed with the Steelers.

On their podcast New Heights, Jason said: ‘Dude, this is like the only missing piece right now in Pittsburgh. If Russ is even close to the quarterback he used to be, this is an extremely dangerous team with what they’re working on the defensive side of the ball.’

To that Travis added: ‘I think Russ has a lot of good football left in him,man. He’s got that ‘it’ factor about him that we’ve seen so many times, and sure enough he’ll bring some veteran presence to that locker room.

Wilson may be past his very best but he put together a pretty good 2023 for DenverStill, his team missed the playoffs again as they finished just 8-9 under Sean Payton

‘We all know how good of a coach Tomlin is and how good that defense it is. So Steelers definitely just got better for sure.’

It’s been easy to dunk on Wilson in recent years, with his cringeworthy Subway commercial and his admission that he once did high-knees during the Broncos’ eight hour flight to London for a game.

His catchphrase ‘Broncos Country, Let’s Ride’ was roundly mocked as well.

But for Wilson, and by extension his wife Ciara, the scrutiny has dated back much longer.

During a 2015 bye week, Wilson and his-then girlfriend vacationed in Mexico, where they were photographed by paparazzi before the quarterback played poorly in a loss the following week vs. the Cardinals.

Some Seahawks fans found a way to blame Wilson’s singer girlfriend.

Wilson's recent Subway ad for his 'Dangerwich' became the butt of jokes with fans online

‘Maybe putting all the blame on Ciara is totally unfair, but after seeing their vacation photos in Mexico, I do think she at least deserves some of the blame,’ one KIRO Radio listener wrote in.

‘I saw their vacation shots splashed all over the internet and I can’t imagine that vacationing with a stylist and a photographer staging all your beach shots is very conducive to getting your head right on a much-needed bye week.’

Nine years ago, any such criticism of Wilson’s partner for his own play was a stretch, at best.

Now, it’s completely null and void.

If Wilson can’t succeed in Pittsburgh – one of the league’s most stable franchises, with one of its most savvy coaches – than the blame is squarely on him.

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