In an interview yesterday, Marshawn Lynch confirmed that, through all the speculation, he will indeed be retiring from the NFL. Lynch had an illustrious career and was a force to be reckoned with during his playing days. He embodied the entire city of Seattle. There is no doubt that Lynch was a damn good player, but where does he stack up among the greats? Are his numbers good enough to earn him a spot in Canton? In this article I will look at arguments for and against Marshawn Lynch being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, and then give my opinion on the subject matter.
Given his career statistics, Marshawn Lynch doesn’t stack up amongst the greatest running backs of his era. With 9,112 career rushing yards, he ranks 36th all-time, which places him behind a majority of Hall of Fame running backs. The ones that Lynch is ranked ahead of, like Jim Taylor and Leroy Kelly, played during a different time of football, making it difficult to compare stats to today’s players.
One also has to wonder if the committee will become more selective by the time Lynch is eligible to enter the Hall of Fame. LaDainian Tomlinson, Edgerrin James, Fred Taylor, and a number of other running backs ranked ahead of Marshawn Lynch, in terms of career rushing yards, will presumably be headed to Canton before Lynch can be voted on. As stated before, running back statistics have gone up in the past couple decades. So will the committee increase their standards for running backs over the next 5 years? Its definitely possible. The last thing any sport hall of fame wants is to criticized for letting in under qualified candidates.
Finally, many have argued that Terrell Davis’ difficulty in being elected to the Hall of Fame will hurt Lynch’s chances. Davis and Lynch are similar in many ways; both dynamic runners who have endured a lot of postseason success. But Davis has been shot down by the Hall of Fame committee thus far. He even bests Marshawn Lynch with one MVP and two Super Bowl rings. Terrell Davis’ failed attempts at being voted into the Hall of Fame indicate that the committee puts a lot of value of career rushing yards because, like Lynch, Davis (55th all-time) trails a majority of Hall of Fame RBs.
Marshawn Lynch provided consistency and production no matter where he went. During his nine seasons in the NFL, he rushed for 1,000+ yards in six of those seasons. Probably most known for his brute force, Lynch was more than adept at bulldozing his way into the end-zone. Currently ranked 24th all-time with 74 rushing touchdowns, he is just three touchdowns behind Tony Dorsett and in front of O.J Simpson (61) and Larry Csonka (64). In regards to his consistency, Lynch rushed for 10+ touchdowns for four straight seasons in Seattle. To put this in perspective, Jerome Bettis rushed for 10+ touchdowns just twice in his 13 year career.
In sports, we love to define players’ careers based on postseason success. Why would it be any different for Marshawn Lynch? His 937 career playoff rushing yards are good enough to place him 8th all-time. That’s more than the likes of Curtis Martin (795), Jerome Bettis (674), Walter Peyton (632), and many other Canton running backs. Lynch also ran for 9 playoff touchdowns, tying him for 7th all-time with Larry Csonka, Jerome Bettis, and Tony Dorsett, all Hall of Fame RBs. One could argue that comparing playoff stats is misleading because players on good teams have an advantage over players on mediocre ones. First off, Lynch joined the Seahawks when they were just an average team in the league and was a focal point in propelling them to greatness. At times, he literally put the team on his back. Secondly, if we look at average rushing yards per game in the playoffs, Lynch averaged 85.2 yards. The only Hall of Famers ahead of him are Steve Van Buren, Emmitt Smith, Eric Dickerson, and John Riggins.
Marshawn Lynch is a much better player than his career rushing yards indicate. The Seahawks witnessed their greatest success in the postseason with Marshawn Lynch as a centerpiece of their offense. Not only did he bring Seattle its first Super Bowl win, but he brought them right back to the championship game the very next season. His downhill running style and big play ability made him a favorite among NFL fans all over. In my opinion, Hall of Fame players should be icons of the sport. They should be players that dominated on the field in a way that a vast majority of NFL players could not replicate. This is why I think Marshawn Lynch should be inducted to the Hall of Fame. Obviously not first ballot, but maybe second or third. Lynch’s consistency, pure domination, and how he lifted Seattle to great heights are all reasons he should one day be wearing a gold jacket.