Through a handful of conference calls with Russell Wilson the past four years, reporters who cover the Carolina Panthers have learned a few things about the Seahawks quarterback. He's intensely positive and unfailingly polite. He's also not one to bite when asked for an opinion.
But after he spent a few moments raving about Cam Newton on our call Wednesday afternoon, I had a go. If Wilson had an MVP vote, would he give it to his counterpart in Carolina?
Surprisingly, he immediately replied with:
"Yeah, I would."
But it got better.
"It's been a tough matchup obviously with (Arizona's) Carson Palmer and I think (New England's) Tom Brady has done a great job this year, as well."
How about that? This wasn't just someone spitting clichés.
"In terms of winning football games, (the Panthers) have been able to win. They beat us. It’s one of the things you’ve got to give him respect for all the hard work he’s put into it. I think he's played spectacular football."
So has Wilson, especially coming down the stretch.
In the Seahawks' final seven games of the regular season, he threw 24 touchdowns with just one interception. Newton had just as few picks in his final seven games with 20 touchdown tosses and four rushing scores.
I tried asking him about Wilson's MVP-like second half, but as Newton usually does when asked about opposing quarterbacks, he kept his thoughts to himself.
"I've heard about it. He's been fire hot," he said.
"I don't get to prepare for those guys. I'm pretty sure that Coach (Sean) McDermott will have a plan for those guys."
Wilson, meanwhile, may still be gushing about Newton.
"He’s one of the best players in the National Football League. He’s a great guy. He does a lot of stuff with the community. He’s got a great presence on the football field," Wilson said.
"I have a lot of respect for his game and who he is and the type of player he is. He's fun to watch. I love watching him play."