Marshawn Lynch is a polarizing player. Some people think he is rude and selfish for refusing to talk to the media. After all, it’s part of his multi-million dollar contract, which is funded largely by the likes of television contracts with CBS, ESPN, and Fox. They say he has an obligation to make himself available for interviews. Other people feel sorry for the guy, claiming that he has an obvious social anxiety disorder and that it’s unfair to constantly surround him with cameras and strangers asking questions. Lynch has created his fair share of memorable moments, both on and off the field, before he retired from the NFL [Update: he’s back!]. Here are some of our favorites.
8. Casual Touchdown
Although he’s more well known for his explosive touchdown runs (more on those later), there was one TD in particular that was more like a stroll in the park for Lynch. In a 2013 game against the San Francisco 49ers, Marshawn scored three touchdowns to carry the Seahawks to a 29-3 victory. His second score was memorable because he just walked into the endzone — literally.
A lot of people criticized Lynch for what they thought was a showboating move, but according to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, that wasn’t the case: “He snuck out the back side to the left on a flat route, and he just slowly walked into the end zone. He was saying that it took a couple seconds off the clock, that’s why he was doing it.” Either way, it was probably nice for Lynch to grab a touchdown that didn’t involve him breaking multiple tackles.
7. Golden Shoes
Marshawn Lynch planned to celebrate his teams’ appearance in another NFC Championship game by wearing customized golden cleats that allegedly cost him $1,100 to get made. While they didn’t exactly match the blue and green of the traditional Seahawks colour scheme, they certainly looked flashy. Too bad the No Fun League caught wind of the golden footwear before the game and rained all over Lynch’s parade.
The NFL threatened to not only fine Lynch for violating league uniform policy, but flat out told him that he would be ejected from the game if he tried to enter the field wearing the flashy new shoes. In the end, the game was too important for Lynch to miss over the color of his cleats and he relented, putting the golden shoes back in their box for another day.
6. Super Bowl Media Day
Lynch is known for his shyness and rarely says much in interviews. Some say that it is obvious he suffers from social anxiety, citing the way he always seems to have as much of his face covered as possible with scarves, headphones, sunglasses, or a bandanna. When the Seahawks made it to the Super Bowl in 2014, Lynch and his teammates were put in the media spotlight like never before. While some relished in the extra attention (like Richard Sherman), Lynch detested it.
His NFL contract states that he is obligated to take part in media day, but he did everything possible to skip it. He stayed the minimum required six minutes and only spoke briefly to Deion Sanders of the NFL Network, stating that he, “ain’t ever seen no talking win me nothing.” Being a former player was probably the only reason Sanders got even that much of a response from the notoriously tight lipped Lynch.
5. Crotch Grabbing
Although Lynch tries to stay low key off the field, his actions on the field are a whole other story. Twice in the 2014 NFL season, Lynch was fined for making obscene gestures while he was celebrating. The first was when he was on the sidelines celebrating an interception by a teammate. That cost him $11,000. Then he did it again during the NFC Championship game after scoring a fourth quarter touchdown. This time is cost him $20,000.
There have been numerous other times Lynch’s junk has been part of his celebration, if you go back and watch other touchdowns (including the next moment on this list). The NFL threatened to not just fine Lynch if he grabbed his nether regions during Super Bowl XLIX, but to penalize him 15-yards for it. Lynch managed to behave himself that day, but his Seahawks still lost a heartbreaker to the New England Patriots when they inexplicably did NOT give the ball to Lynch on the 1-yard line in the final play.
4. Beast Mode Run #2
The nickname Beast Mode wasn’t created by accident. Lynch is a power runner who routinely attempts to run through defenders instead of around them. This style of running can be great for picking up five or six yards at a time, but sometimes Lynch refuses to be tackled and magic happens. He known to snap off lengthy runs where he breaks multiple tackles.
In Week 16 of the 2014 season, Lynch torched the Arizona Cardinals for a 79-yard touchdown run that nearly identical to the original Beast Quake (more on that later). After shrugging off defenders as if they were small children instead of professional football players, Lynch dived into a endzone while grabbing his crotch (again) to put a massive Beast Mode sized exclamation point on the play.
In 2011, Lynch revealed that his mother used to reward his touchdowns in youth football with a handful of Skittles, the delicious candy. The tradition continued into the pros, and Lynch still keeps a bag of Skittles around the sidelines so he can celebrate touchdowns appropriately. The PR people over at Skittles took notice, and they signed Lynch to an endorsement deal, the first time the company had ever paid an athlete for promotion. From ESPN.com:
While specific terms of the deal are unknown, sources told ESPN that Lynch will receive financial compensation. The brand also will donate $10,000 to Lynch’s Fam First Foundation for every touchdown he scores in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Shortly after, Lynch debuted a new pair of cleats featuring the bite-sized “power pellets.” Skittles also released a special Seattle Mix version of the candy, that featured only Seahawk green and blue colored pieces.
2. Yeah/Thanks For Asking
After his minimalistic media appearance at Super Bowl XLVIII, the NFL warned Lynch that he could face a $50,000 for not fulfilling his contractual obligations. They agreed to put that fine on hold as long as he didn’t do it again. Well, halfway through the 2014 season, Lynch skipped out on post-game press conferences and the league made good on their promise. They fined him $100,000 for his transgressions, $50,000 from the Super Bowl and another $50,000 for the game in November against the Kansas City Chiefs.
After that, the sideshow of Marshawn Lynch non-interviews began. He would hang around and let reporters ask their questions, but he refused to give a meaningful answer. The first week of this new tactic brought forth a reply of “Yeah” each time. The next weekend it was “Thanks for asking.” Reporters were stonewalled a couple weeks later with a repeating of “I’m thankful” from Lynch, who was clearly trying to maintain some privacy without it costing thousands of dollars.
1. The Beast Quake
Perhaps the defining play of his career, Lynch’s 67-yard touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Wild Card game in 2011 has become a legendary moment. It provided the winning touchdown in a game that the Seahawks were not favored to win. The celebration of the Seattle fans at Qwest Field (now CenturyLink Field) was so loud that it registered on nearby seismograph machines, coining the phrase ‘Beast Quake’.
Although the Seahawks would not go on to win the Super Bowl that year, it was a sign of things to come. Beast Mode continued to run rampant through NFL defenses and the Seahawks would win Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 and come oh-so-close to winning back-to-back championships in 2015. Now that Lynch has unretired and joined his hometown Oakland Raiders, hopefully fans will be treated to more memorable Beast Mode moments.