By Alex George
After eight seasons in the National Football League, spending five of those as Seattle’s starting running back, Marshawn Lynch has decided to retire, making the announcement by tweeting a picture of his lime green cleats hanging on a telephone wire after the Super Bowl on Sunday. While most of the football world had their focus on Peyton Manning’s odd Budweiser plug and Cam Newton being a baby, I was watching Beastmode highlights, soaking up all of the great memories from the past few years.
When Lynch was traded to Seattle from Buffalo in 2010 I knew very little about him. Honestly at that point, with the Sonics shipped off to some farm town, the Mariners and Seahawks being mediocre, and Huskies football flat out garbage, I wasn’t following Seattle sports that well, let alone young running backs from Oakland playing across the country in Buffalo.
Once I heard that he had been traded because the Bills were tired of his behavioral problems I was definitely skeptical. On one hand, Lynch seemed to be just the kind of power running back we were looking for. On the other hand, Lynch had been involved with a hit-and –run accident in Buffalo as well as a misdemeanor weapons charge in California. I seriously doubted that his on the field play would be worth the distractions and negative media coverage that I assumed he would garner.
Then the Beastquake happened.
Seattle was holding on to a narrow four point lead over New Orleans in the fourth quarter during a Wild Card Round game in the 2010 NFC playoffs. Matt Hasselbeck handed the ball off to Marshawn Lynch on what appeared to be a routine power run but turned into a 67-yard touchdown made possible through determination, Herculean effort, and a nice block by Tyler Polumbus.
My 12-year-old self went absolutely nuts, jumping up and down in my grandmother’s house whooping and hollering. I’m surprised my Korean grandmother, who speaks less football than English, didn’t try and have me hospitalized. I wasn’t alone either, a seismograph in Seattle actually confirmed that the play had caused a minor earthquake, due to all of the fans at Century Link (then Qwest Field).
That play, along with Edgar Martinez’s series winning double in the 1995 ALDS, aren’t just great sports plays, but pieces of Seattle history. I believe the Beastquake singlehandedly began the shift from the Hawks being the third most popular team in Seattle, to being the pride and joy of the entire Pacific Northwest. Watching that live is one of those things I’ll tell my, probably extremely bored, grandchildren one day. Edgar Martinez has a street in Seattle named after him and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lynch does one day as well.
In the years that followed he became one of my favorite Seattle personalities, from his love of Skittles, his famous media silence, and his often times Yogi Berra-esque quotes like “I’m all about that action boss,” and “My favorite college experience was leaving college.” When we won the Super Bowl in 2014 the whole bus was chanting his name the whole way down the 40 route, from Ballard to Pioneer Square.
So naturally when I heard about his retirement, at the young age of 29, I was a bit surprised, a bit sad, but mostly I was happy for him. Lynch’s body has taken a ton of punishment in the NFL arena and I commend him for making his money and getting out. I hear about too many of these guys who can’t walk up the stairs or remember their wives names because of the punishment they go through to entertain the masses. Long live Beastmode.