(Photos courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks)
(Now that Seattle has made it official and put Marshawn Lynch on the reserve/retired list, it once again has provoked the question: Is Marshawn Lynch Hall-of-Fame worthy? We answered that in February, shortly after Lynch announced his retirement and the Seahawks said nobody on their team would wear No. 24 again, but with people questioning his Hall-of-Fame credentials now we thought it worth re-posting … if, for no other reason, than to serve as a rebuttal).
By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
Marshawn Lynch announced his retirement last weekend on Twitter … at least, we think he did … and since then I’ve heard from people asking if he’s going to the Hall of Fame. Answer: Not unless he has a ticket to get in.
Look, Lynch had a nice career and was a valuable member of Seattle teams that went to consecutive Super Bowls, but don’t tell me he’s on the Hall-of-Fame radar when former Seattle running backs Shaun Alexander and Ricky Watters are not.
They’re at least as qualified – if not more so – and neither can get a sniff. Not only has neither been a Hall-of-Fame finalist; neither has been a semifinalist, meaning they’re not among the final 25 players or coaches chosen annually for Hall-of-Fame consideration.
Now tell make that makes sense … because it doesn’t.
Watters ranks 23rd in career rushing, 23rd in all-time yards from scrimmage and was remarkably consistent – rushing for 1,000 yards seven times (including 1,000 for three different franchises) while catching 50 or more passes five times. He also scored three TDs in San Francisco’s 49-26 demolition of San Diego in Super Bowl XXIX.
Which leads me to my next point: He starred when games mattered most. In 11 playoff appearances he produced 1,117 yards in offense with 12 touchdowns – eight rushing and four receiving. You don’t have to be an Einstein to figure that works out to an average … an average … of something like 101 yards and one touchdown per games.
And, yeah, I like that.
Alexander didn’t rush for as many yards as Watters, but he was a two-time All-Pro, a league MVP, an Offensive Player of the Year, a single-season rushing leader and a member of an all-decade team (2000s). He’s also Seattle’s career touchdown leader with 112 and set the league’s single season TD record with 28 (later broken by LaDainian Tomlinson).
Yet now that Lynch comes along we’re supposed to move him to the front of the queue? I don’t think so.
He never led the league in rushing. He never was an MVP. He wasn’t an Offensive Player of the Year. He ranks 36th in career rushing, or below Alexander and Watters. And he was named to one All-Pro team.
But why confine this to the Seattle Seahawks? We can’t get Roger Craig into the Hall, for crying out loud, and tell me whom you’d rather have – Lynch or Craig? Craig had a season where he had 1,000 yards rushing AND 1,000 in receiving. Only one other, Hall-of-Famer Marshall Faulk, has been able to replicate that. Moreover, Craig was a Pro Bowler as a fullback AND running back, Offensive Player of the Year, member of the 1980s’ all-decade team and three-time Super Bowl champion.
Edgerrin James is on hold. So is Terrell Davis. Jamal Lewis has no momentum. Neither does Corey Dillon.
That’s not to diminish Marshawn Lynch’s accomplishments. From 2011-14 the guy led the league in carries, rushing touchdowns and rushing yards, was the focal point of Seattle’s offense and won a Super Bowl. But he ranks below Watters and Alexander in career rushing yards and has eight fewer career TDs than Watters and 29 fewer than Alexander.
I know, there’s the eye test, and “Beast Mode” was a load. But so was Watters. He was one of the greatest all-purpose backs I’ve seen – maybe the best since … well, since Craig. And, like Lynch, Alexander was the focal point of the Seahawks’ offense, rushing for 27 touchdowns in 2005 as Seattle went to its first Super Bowl. Plus, there’s this: During the five years he was Seattle’s go-to guy, he averaged 1,501 yards, 17 touchdowns, 4.5 yards per carry and 93.8 yards per game.
Impressive? Not to the Hall’s board of selectors. He can’t get on the short list to Canton. Neither can Watters or Craig. And, until they do, Marshawn Lynch won’t, either.