All kinds of people are having the times of their lives with the press conference – in Turkey – in which Marshawn Lynch was asked about that fateful play (if you don’t know which play, log on to another site because nothing that follows will be of interest to you). Sportswriters, sportscasters, talking heads, callers to talk shows, schmucks like me with a blog (and how many zillions of those are there) – everybody is taking turns at who can be the wittiest (if that’s their schtick) or cruel (if that floats their boat). My take is somewhat different.
Lynch was in Turkey with fellow NFL pros DeAngelo Hall and Gary Barnidge promoting an international camp called American Football Without Barriers — a non-profit organization that supports the growth of American football in countries such as China, Brazil and Turkey. Once the dialogue about the AFWB concluded, naturally, the questioner asked Lynch what everyone has wanted to hear, i.e. what were his thoughts about “the play?” To say Lynch rambled would be akin to saying he is a pretty good running back.
When I began thinking about his roller coaster answer, something occurred to me. What was he supposed to say? Let’s try one of those role playing scenarios. You, the reader, be Marshawn Lynch. Not Marshawn Lynch, the guy answering the question (that’s too easy), but the real Marshawn Lynch – the one who has to return to the United States and answer continual questions from the media here. The guy who has to report to Seahawks training camp (or elsewhere – or nowhere if he so chooses) and continue getting on with his life.
First, let’s take a trip back in time – right after you, Marshawn, had just run the ball inside the one-yard line. How much of a lock did it look like the Seahawks were to score once they had second-and- goal from that close? Honestly, I mean honestly, how many people felt the Seahawks weren’t going to be (back-to-back) Super Bowl champions? I’m sure there were a number of people who actually thought the Patriots would win the game at that point and I’m also sure that number was, or hovering around, zero!
Then, Russell Wilson did not hand the ball to you but rather, threw a pass – which, we all know now – didn’t work out so well for Seattle. OK, given that moment in time – and all that has happened since – how would you answer the question, Marshawn? Would you say, as many have, that it was the single worst call in the history of football (if not all of team sports)? Remember, you still have the rest of your life to live. That certainly wouldn’t be a prudent answer if you plan to return to the Hawks, or even if you decide to play elsewhere (assuming elsewhere is on this planet). Even if your immediate future is outside of the sport, what benefit – other than satisfying your own ego (if, in fact, you do genuinely feel that way) – does that response have? Does it change anything, such as the game’s outcome?
And, to think, that is the easiest of queries. Have you considered your reply to the rumor that the Seahawks really wanted Wilson to be MVP? Can’t just lower your shoulder and bulldoze that one, can you? OK, our little game of role playing is over. Mainly, it was just to prove a point – that it ain’t so easy being Beast Mode, no matter what your opinion of him. Considering that Marshwan Lynch doesn’t have a reputation for kickin’ it with the fourth estate, I’d offer up that he handled himself about as well as anyone could have.
Circumstances being what they were – and still are, albeit now not nearly the emotional time it was directly after the game – Lynch, for all intents and purposes, handled the situation, if not in a sophisticated manner, certainly in a unique way. With all the possible comebacks he could have employed, an argument could be made that his rambling (paraphrased) response of – yeah, I was expecting the ball, but that’s life, and it’s a team game, so I had no problem with the play calling, but I would have been the MVP, so what went into that call I don’t know, maybe it was good because even though it cost us the Super Bowl, I have full confidence in my teammates, yet would I love to have the ball? Yes, I would have.
For a guy who could (probably should) have gone apoplectic after his team blew the freakin’ Super Bowl, I say kudos to him for not blasting everyone and everything in sight. After all, how many chances does a player get to win a Super Bowl – and in their case – win back-to-back Super Bowls? For a guy whose character has been questioned, I say he’s conducted himself as what can only be termed the truest definition of a team player.
Plus, there couldn’t have been a better closing line than the one he gave:
“But the game is over, and I am in Turkey.”