Marshawn Lynch is “just here so [he] won’t get fined.” This we know, this we heard… a lot. I don’t need to tell you about Lynch preferring to be silent, because you already know that. What you might not know, or at least say, is that Lynch’s silence is a great thing for football, whether Roger Goodell recognizes it or not. By putting publicity, fame, money and showmanship aside, Lynch’s silence is, perhaps unintentionally, bringing back what got us hooked on the NFL in the first place and seems to get lost in the circus every now and then: the game of football.
I will love the NFL till the day I die, but one can’t argue that the game hasn’t seen a spike in showmanship in recent years. In the era of social media, it’s often easy to forget about the game. ESPN spends as much time talking about Johnny Bust’s Friday night as it does about the Brown’s next matchup. This monday, I chuckled when I read that, less than a week from Super Bowl Sunday, an NFL.com headline read “Graham dunks on goal post in pro-bowl.” The next headline was “Luck again seen in hat on team Carter sideline.” When did that become news? Why do people care? Has the average sports fan grown that vapid, that unintense? I’m all for a Gronk spike after a touchdown, the guy earned it, but I am against it being a topic of conversation after an important football game.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the ball was immediately handed back to the referee on a mere 4.4% of the 1,150 touchdowns scored this regular season. That’s nothing! The ball was spiked following a score 28 more times this season than it was given back to the ref, and it was danced around 56 more times. Those are some big numbers.
Now I’m not saying Lynch doesn’t celebrate– we all saw the NFL hit him with a fat $20,000 fine for striking the pose that makes all of America chuckle against the Packers. However, by not talking to the media, by not giving journalists a silly quote for them to blab about, Lynch, this season, maybe inadvertently, called the attention back to the game. This week has been a little different to say the least.
If Lynch really wanted to turn attention back to the game, he did a terrible job this week. Answering questions blandly like Andrew Luck does will get you back to business quickly, but answering them with “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” is certain to grab a headline.
So what’s Lynch’s endgame? What does he want us to do? Am I going against his desires by writing this article? Am I giving in to them? Does he want to grab our attention or shy away from it? What is the right answer? Tell us!
Actually, don’t. I’ve had enough of media week. Can I get ready to watch the game now?