“I’m just here so I won’t get fined” an iconic phrase uttered by one of the NFL’s most enigmatic characters. Marshawn Lynch was not exactly the talkative type and at times very short with the media. However, his authenticity and propensity to show his true self made him an endearing character. Lynch would eat skittles on the sideline in celebration of his touchdowns (an all time great celebration). Furthermore, his powerful running style and dominance made him an elite running back at his peak. It can be argued that at his best he was the best running back in the league. However, his time at the top of the summit can be classified as a short stint. Perhaps that short stint at the top is not enough to get him into the Hall of Fame. His peak occurred with the Seattle Seahawks along with his swansong. However, began his career with the Buffalo Bills and spent a pair of seasons with the Oakland Raiders. So, Lynch’s Hall of Fame candidacy is interesting, but that is fitting for “Beast Mode”.

The Numbers Case:

As previously alluded to, Lynch’s peak occurred during a portion his seven season run with the Seahawks. During his first full season with Seattle he rushed for a little over twelve hundred yards while scoring thirteen total touchdowns. That was the first of four seasons eclipsing twelve hundred rushing yards and double digit touchdowns. His best season in terms of rushing yards was the 2012 NFL season in which he ran for fifteen hundred and ninety yards. His single season high in rushing touchdowns was thirteen which he accumulated during the 2014 NFL season. It may feel like Lynch’s star burned bright and faded quickly during his prime with Seattle, but he did not exactly start his career slow. In the first two seasons of his career he rushed for over one thousand yards each season while playing for the Bills. Furthermore, his career counting stats do not reflect that an incomplete career. The former California Golden Bear eclipsed both ten thousand career rushing yards and ninety total touchdowns. Perhaps the numbers paint the picture of a borderline Hall of Fame running back. However, watching him in his prime his outrageous talent and impact was evident. Furthermore, for better or worse he was part of some epic playoff moments.

A “Beast Quake” in Seattle and being left out:

There are two defining moments in Marshawn Lynch’s playoff career that likely all casual NFL fans are familiar with. First, the positive moment was the epic “Beast Quake” run in which he bulldozed his way through the New Orleans Saints. That run encapsulates his powerful running style and no nonsense attitude off the field. The man kept his legs churning as defenders bounced off of him as if he was covered in butter. He also stiff armed Tracy Porter so hard you could almost feel the force through the T.V. screen. The context to that game and moment makes the run even more impressive in hindsight. The Saints were the defending champions, while the Seahawks were a 7-9 squad that knocked them off. That run signaled that Lynch as bellow cow back could help his teams hang with the NFL’s elite. Now, time to flip the switch to a disappointing playoff moment for Marshawn Lynch. The Seattle Seahawks were at the one yard line ready to score and win back to back Super Bowl. They had an elite power running back, but coach Pete Carroll decided to call a pass play. Ultimately, the play resulted in Malcom Butler intercepting Russell Wilson’s pass at the goal line. Thus, the Seahawks lost Super Bowl 49 to the New England Patriots. A run should have been called, and while Lynch scoring was not guaranteed he deserved the opportunity. The takeaway as far as Lynch is concerned should be that an offense featuring him almost won back to back titles. Yes, the Seahawks had a generational defense, but their bread and butter on offense was Lynch. Hypotheticals do not count in Hall of Fame cases, but say Seattle wins that second Super Bowl. Suddenly, a Marshawn Lynch centric offense in tandem with the “Legion of Boom” would be two time champions. Ultimately, the theme with him was that at the peak of his powers he battled toe to toe with the best.

Final Verdict:

Time will obviously tell if Marshawn Lynch will enter the Hall of Fame someday. Personally, I believe that the man dubbed “Beast Mode” deserves a bust in Canton, Ohio. Longevity questions aside he was a vital piece on a team who made consecutive trips to the Super Bowl. Furthermore, he has a championship ring along with an iconic playoff moment that will be talked about forever. The Oakland, California native was true to himself and had a hell of a career on the field. The shelf life for running backs is short in the modern NFL, but Marshawn Lynch made the most of his. A man who was the best back in the league while on the best team in the league should waltz into the Hall of Fame.