JERSEY CITY, NJ — Marshawn Lynch’s reluctance to talk to the media has somehow become one of the biggest stories of Super Bowl week.
And somehow in the midst of all of this hand-wringing by media and fans alike about Lynch’s media obligations and whether or not he should be forced to talk — a contractual requirement for NFL players — it has been somewhat overlooked that Lynch, in addition to being a man of few words, will be one of the most important players on the field in Super Bowl XLVIII.
First an update in case you’ve become captivated by this Lynch vs. the media drama: yes Lynch talked, no it wasn’t for long, and yes, for the most part he again kept his answers short. This time, however, Lynch did not abruptly leave when he felt it was time. Instead he, along with fullback Michael Robinson, sat at a table for roughly eight minutes, then Lynch asked if he was done before leaving.
Among the highlights was Lynch’s answer to how he gets ready for the Super Bowl amidst all these distractions: “I’m SR, bruh. Stay ready. So it ain’t no getting ready.” As well as his answer to a question about offensive line coach Tom Cable, which referenced allegations made by a former Raiders assistant Randy Hanson that Cable had punched Hanson, fracturing his jaw, when Cable was Oakland’s head coach in 2009: “Well, being from Oakland, all I knew about him was that he punched people. That’s my type of person.” (For what it’s worth the NFL never disciplined Cable following an altercation, and no criminal charges were filed).
But enough about that. Lynch is done with the media until after the game — well not entirely, on Friday he’s promoting the release of a “Beast Mode Key” necklace, which is being sold to raise money for his Fam 1st Family Foundation, and will be available there — so now he and everyone else can turn their attention back to football and away from the circus of these past few days.
Lynch may have been big news for strange reasons this week, but neither he nor his teammates and coaches think it will have any bearing on how Lynch plays Sunday.
“Just because he doesn’t want to talk to the media doesn’t mean he’s not going to show up on game day,” said receiver Doug Baldwin. “I think it’s all obnoxious and absurd rhetoric. It’s stupid to me.”
If all of this “obnoxious and absurd rhetoric” indeed has no relevance come gameday, that could be very good news for the Seahawks, whose offense so often goes as Lynch goes. And in the postseason, Lynch has been at his best. When people think Marshawn Lynch in the postseason, they generally remember his spectacular “Beast Quake” run against New Orleans three years ago, but his playoff success goes well beyond that. Lynch has played in six postseason games since joining the Seahawks, and in four of them he has rushed for more than 100 yards, scoring five touchdowns in those games. It’s hardly a coincidence that those four games were playoff wins, including 140- and 109-yard performances this postseason.
Lynch has no answer for his playoff success, saying, “I’m not sure, man. It’s not like I prepare any different, so I couldn’t tell you.” And he’s the last player anyone would accuse of going at anything less than 100 percent during the regular season, but it’s hard to argue with the results; Lynch legitimately does seem to get better when the stakes are highest. Perhaps the most telling stat about Lynch’s playoff success is that in those six games, he has four touchdown runs of 25 or more yards, including one in each of this year’s wins, the most for any back in NFL history.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll knows there’s a lot more to Lynch than what he say in public: “I think there’s a lot of information coming your way. He’s telling a lot about who he is and what he represents and stands for, sometimes in the silence, not always with his words that he says.”
But whatever Lynch does or doesn’t say with his silence, his postseason history suggests he could make a lot of noise Sunday.
Lynch, who regularly rests on Wednesday to mitigate the wear and tear on his body, returned to practice as expected, meaning the Seahawks had everyone on their roster participate fully. Three other players are listed on the report — WR Percy Harvin (concussion), WR Doug Baldwin (hip) and DT Brandon Mebane (ankle) — but practiced fully Wednesday and Thursday and are fully expected to be available.
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com.