Do not call yourself a football fan if you are not also a fan of Marshawn Lynch. The Seattle running back has been everything an NFL player is supposed to be since getting traded to the Seahawks from Buffalo and transforming into Beastmode right before our eyes.
Lynch is a pure football player. If you can’t appreciate what he has done as a running back in the National Football League than I suggest you set your DVR to watch PGA events while the rest of us take in the remainder of the NFL playoffs.
This guy has been the most entertaining running back to watch over the past four years. His bruising runs with helpless tacklers being dragged behind him have given Youtube a spike in football related views all by himself. It’s too bad we aren’t going to see many more like this man.
Lynch is a dying breed of NFL runner.
Let’s get this out of the way from the start. Lynch’s days in Seattle are numbered. No way they can pay him the nine million dollars due to him next year. Not when they have a very capable guy in Thomas Rawls that will cost Seattle only six percent of Lynch’s salary. Seattle fans will have to say goodbye to one of their favorite players unless there is a math wizard among those #12’s that can make Lynch’s salary cap numbers work.
To go with Marshawn headed out of Seattle, his style of play is headed out of the NFL. While no one can say they don’t enjoy watching Lynch destroy defenses and cause awkward moments during the opponent’s film review the following week, it’s apparent the NFL is moving in a different direction.
1500 yard rushers aren’t needed anymore. The passing game is taking over. Finesse will be the trend going forward with the safety rules getting stricter each season. Beastmode is fun to watch, but offenses will increasingly be using quick receivers like Julian Edelman to get six yards on a slant instead of handing the ball off.
To make matters worse for fans who would like to see more runners like Lynch, the fact is that no matter how impressive he was he still ended up replaceable. He was used up and will be pushed aside now that it’s convenient for the team.
So what would make younger players coming up in the game of football want to be a running back?
Go pound your head into the line of scrimmage for about five years then get a big contract if you’re lucky enough to avoid a career ending injury. Then the moment you sign that new contract your team is looking to find a cheaper version of you with fewer miles on him. Rawls is going to be the shiny new back that Seattle leans on for the next three years, and then he will be in Lynch’s shoes once his contract is out of whack with what the team can pay over the long haul.
There is just no incentive for a young player to want to play the role of a running back that is asked to pound away at the defense and abuse himself on a weekly basis. I’m not saying young college players wouldn’t take the money and fame that the 29-year-old Marshawn Lynch has received to this point. It would be easier for these youngsters to find a better position on the football field that is easier on the body, pays about the same, and gives them a longer shelf life in the pros.
Actually, it would be much easier if these young athletes would just play a different sport. One with guaranteed contracts and less potential for brain injuries and ACL shedding.
For more evidence that the old school running back is going out of style, you can take a look at the success that Minnesota has had with the best running back in the League on their roster. Adrian Peterson is an all time great at the position, but where is he when the game is on the line with his team behind? The bench.
Peterson has no value as a receiver, so he’s little help in the two-minute offense. Were he a better receiver out of the backfield, his Vikings wouldn’t find themselves behind in crucial games in the first place. And his team would have managed at least a trip to the Super Bowl by now.
Running backs who can’t catch the ball will have less and less value as the NFL continues to evolve to an even more pass heavy league. And if a running back does have great hands he should just hone his skills as a receiver anyway. Why run into linebackers every other play when you can run routes the entire game and take about 20 percent of the hits that a running back takes?
Some contending team will find the money to pay Marshawn Lynch for at least a couple more years. He still has value obviously, just not to Seattle, who has a backup plan with Rawls. Wherever Beastmode ends up, you had best mark your calendar to catch that team’s games. With just a couple years left in his prime, you don’t want to miss this dying breed of running back.
The way we look at Jim Brown and Walter Payton in 2015 is the way Lynch will be seen in 2035. Fans of the future will be in awe of Lynch’s violent runs.
Those type runs are coming to an end slowly but surely. Don’t miss the last few opportunities to watch what an old school running back can do for a team. We can still appreciate these guys even if their teams don’t.