SEATTLE – In the minds of Seahawks fans, retiring running back Marshawn Lynch is a worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But it’s not fans who will vote when Lynch becomes eligible in 2020. It’s the media. So here’s what members of the media are saying about Lynch’s chances of enshrinement in Canton, Ohio.
Although Lynch’s numbers – 9,112 yards and 74 touchdowns rushing – don’t stack up with other more recent Hall of Fame running backs, ESPN’s Mike Sando says that doesn’t necessarily matter.
“I do think similarities between the stats for Lynch and Hall of Famer Earl Campbell make for an intriguing comparison based on their similarly violent running styles. Both carried more than 2,100 times for more than 9,000 yards. Both averaged 4.3 yards per carry. Both scored 74 rushing touchdowns,” said Sando.
Sando adds the Seahawks rode Lynch to the Super Bowl XLVIII title while most of the NFL has shifted to a pass-first mentality.
Over at NFL.com, panelists are mixed on Beast Mode’s electability with some suggesting he may get in but not on the first ballot.
“He absolutely is a Hall of Famer, as Marshawn embodied an entire city. The resurgence of the Seahawks would not have happened if not for him. They had an instant run game because of his presence; without him, Seattle wouldn't have won Super Bowl XLVIII or returned to the big game again the following year,” said former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson.
“Heck, Terrell Davis -- who had a similarly short career but notched a 2,000-yard season, won an MVP award, has two rings and is the all-time leader in playoff rushing average (142.5) -- can't get in (though I personally believe he should be in), making it hard to believe Lynch will,” said Gil Brandt, NFL.com writer.
“But I don't think he's a first-ballot guy. There are a lot of other great running backs who haven't gotten in -- for example, Fred Taylor. He finished with 2,500 rushing yards more than Marshawn and dominated the position, making a great impact for a longer period of time,” said Ike Taylor, NFL.com writer.
Jeffri Chadiha says he thinks Lynch’s refusal to talk to the media will hurt his chances, and former GM Charley Casserly says it depends on who Lynch is up against.
710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk says the fact the entire football world believes Lynch should have been handed the ball at the end of Super Bowl XLIX is strong evidence for his Hall of Fame candidacy.
"And so I think that actually ends up lending credibility. He is so good and so important to his team that when they didn't give him the ball, they believe the team lost because of it. That's crazy,” said Salk.
Brock Huard says the numbers don’t matter.
“You can look at past guys that get in there and you can look at Corey Dillon and Shaun Alexander that are still sitting outside of that with massively better numbers,” said Huard.
ESPN’s John Clayton says another year or two of playing time would have helped Lynch’s chances, but says he’s the best back in Seahawks history and should definitely get in before Shaun Alexander would.
As for me, I think Lynch is Hall of Fame worthy, but he won’t make it on the first ballot. They only allow so many players in every year and you have to weigh who he is up against. Can a voter justify putting him in if it leaves someone more deserving out? Remember the voters are choosing among players from all positions. If they were just choosing from running backs, Lynch would be a lock. It could be many years before we see his bust in Canton.