If all is going according to the most fevered dreams of local fans, Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks are undefeated and unstoppable right about now. And even if they aren’t, Wilson likely remains the most admired professional athlete in the Pacific Northwest. Last year, he went from presumed benchwarmer to starting quarterback to playoffs hero by flat out earning the job, through talent, diligence and a penchant for leadership that leaves seasoned pundits comparing him to the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Wilson may not be the next Peyton Manning, but don’t bet against him. By NFL standards, he shouldn’t even be playing quarterback. At 5 feet 11 inches tall, he is a Mini Cooper in a Humvee league. Yet he proves the experts wrong time and again. “There’s just something about what he stands for and how he handles himself,” teammate Golden Tate told ESPN.com. “You get a feeling that someone’s just very, very special.”
The Full List: Most Influential People of 2013
Their finger prints are all over Seattle. From protecting honeybees to regulating marijuana to popping and locking, these 54 men and women (and in one case, a machine) are shaping our neighborhoods, economy, attitudes and future. In the case of our person of the year—for the first time in our nine years of compiling this list, it’s a tie!—the impact is on a global scale. We may not always like the direction they are taking us in but it’s hard to deny: these folks are taking us somewhere.