When the fourth episode of HBO's Hard Knocks aired, there was a surprising figure that took center stage. Instead of focusing on Antonio Brown during his quest to find the perfect helmet, the cameras opted to put more attention to tight end Luke Willson. A former member of the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions, the Canadian-born Willson was the man that had secret information about the country up north.
Why this mattered is that the Oakland Raiders were heading up to Winnipeg to face off with the Green Bay Packers. One of the biggest questions asked to Willson is "who is the most famous Canadian?" With figures such as Ryan Reynolds, William Shatner, and Nathan Fillion all eligible for the title, this could be a difficult conundrum for Willson. However, he had no issues making up his mind. The tight end immediately said that Drake, the rapper known for God's Plan, was the most popular Canadian.
Interestingly enough, Willson actually believes that Drake's popularity far outweighs that of comedian/actor Mike Myers and NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, who spent 20 seasons in the NHL and is one of the greatest players in league history. Gretzky had his jersey retired by the entire league and he was named All-NHL First-Team eight different times while setting numerous league records for scoring. And yet, the Canadian-born Willson believes that Drake is still more popular.
Competition is heating up in Oakland, but I hear it's a bit cooler in The Great White North.August 27, 2019
Heading into the game up north, there were obvious concerns about the weight differences between Canadian footballs and those used by the NFL, as well as the currency that is being used. Similarly, do Canadians greet people differently than Americans? Essentially, Willson was tasked with serving as the Raiders version of Google to answer questions about his home country.
As the cameras showed, Willson was very capable in terms of providing some of the much-needed information. For example, he tried to train Darren Waller in the art of singing the Canadian National Anthem. When the surrounding players were unsure about singing prior to the game, Willson simply used his voice to loudly represent his country.
His role as a pseudo-tour guide was performed admirably, but Willson needed more time to make his points about why Drake is more popular than Wayne Gretzky or Mike Myers. Unfortunately, Hard Knocks only lasts an hour.