Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch has made recent headlines for his media silence. On the football field, however, his play speaks loudly.
“He’s hands down the best back in the game, because he can hurt you any time he has the ball in his hands,” said New England Patriot defensive tackle and Super Bowl opponent Vince Wilfork, according to ESPN.
Lynch, after receiving fines for not speaking to media at all, has recently been feeding reporters one-line answers, like, “I’m here so I won't get fined.” He ntirely ignored NFL-required media sessions costing him $100,000 in fines at end of the season.
That led to the new strategy of saying as little as possible. The NFL recently fined him an additional $20,000 for grabbing his crotch to celebrate a score. He has become a central, controversial figure in football.
At times he has opened up to interviewers, however, revealing a different person than the public might perceive. Lynch grew up in a rough area of Oakland, Calif. and despite past legal troubles, spends much of his time now trying to help kids growing up in a situation similar to his. He apparently has troubles with trusting people, and that leads to his lack of interest in interviews. Lynch’s teammates, however, call him “misunderstood,” and that in private “Beast Mode” is a genuine guy.
On the field, for sure, nobody misunderstands Lynch. The 28-year-old, who starred at Cal and was a teammate of Aaron Rodgers, has rushed for 8,695 yards over eight seasons, four of which were with the Buffalo Bills. In 2014, he ran for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns, the most of his career. That was good for fourth in the league in rushing yards and tied for first in rushing touchdowns. He has added 216 more yards and a touchdown in two playoff games.
He often earns his yards by running powerfully (thus "Beast Mode"), easily pushing would-be tacklers aside. The most famous example of this is the 67-yard “Beast Quake” playoff touchdown run against the Saints in 2010, which helped turned his career around after a mediocre season. It is one of the most famous plays in Seattle’s history. His analysis of the run in an ESPN interview shows his more thoughtful side:
“Growing up, being where I’m from, a lot of people don’t see the light. I didn’t see the light in that play…I guess you could say that run is symbolic of my life,” Lynch said to the TV show E:60.
Lynch made the Pro Bowl in the next four seasons after the memorable run and was an integral player in Seattle’s championship last year. He has also been remarkably durable and consistent. This year was his fourth-straight year of rushing for at least 1,200 yards.
Lynch, while controversial, may be the Seahawks best offensive weapon, and the Patriots will likely focus on stopping him in the Super Bowl. His hard-nosed style makes him stand out above his peers. Slowing him down will not be an easy task.