Marshawn Lynch is the anti-Super Bowl.
For all the pageantry and shameless promotion that goes into the NFL’s championship game – easily the biggest sporting event in the US – the running back for the defending champion Seattle Seahawks stands for just the opposite, his gilded cleats notwithstanding. He hates interviews. He hates talking about himself. He’d rather be at home with his family.
Watch his interviews from this week in Arizona ahead of the Super Bowl and you get an idea of his personality.
But for all his one-line interviews and reticence – and fines received from the NFL – he’s the kind of player the NFL loves, the fans love. The kind of player that belongs in a Super Bowl, even if he often seeks refuge from the spotlight shone on the big game.
Despite his reluctance, bordering on refusal, to engage with the media, he is one of the most exciting players in the NFL when he has the ball in his hands. See the two plays below for example.
If he and the Seahawks can manage to beat the New England Patriots in Sunday's Super Bowl, and repeat as champions, he will have even more media to dodge. Here's what you should know about him.
Marshawn Lynch and the media
Lynch loves to play football. He just doesn’t want to talk about it and he doesn’t want all the attention that comes with being a Super Bowl-winning running back. He said as much in an interview with NFL.com writer Michael Silver.
“I've never seen anybody win the game in the media. But at the same time, I understand what it could do for you, if you wanted to be someone who talks a lot,” he said. “But that's not me.
“And I'm not as comfortable, especially at the position I play, making it about me. As a running back, it takes five offensive linemen, a tight end, a fullback and possibly two wide receivers, in order to make my job successful. But when I do interviews, most of the time it'll come back to me. There are only so many times I can say, 'I owe it to my offensive linemen,' or, 'The credit should go to my teammates,' before it becomes run down.
“Football's just always been hella fun to me, not expressing myself in the media. I don't do it to get attention; I just do it 'cause I love that (expletive).”
Marshawn Lynch the person
When he was 12 years old, Lynch told his mother, Delisa, that he was going to grow up to play in the NFL and he would buy her a house, according to the New York Daily News. And, sure enough, 17 years later, Lynch has done just that.
Lost in the hoopla of his interviews and the violence of his playing style is a man that enjoys giving back to his community. He has set up a charity, called the Fam 1st Family Foundation, that aims to help disadvantaged youth in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Lost behind the tinted screen on his helmet is the kind of man that has the words "Mama's Boy" tattooed on his body, whose father was never really around to see grow up.
Marshawn Lynch the football player
Lynch grew up in Oakland, California, where he attended high school and played four sports. He eventually attended the University of California, Berkeley where he was a star for the Golden Bears football team.
He was drafted with the 12th pick of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, where he played for three and a half seasons before being traded to the Seattle Seahawks. Since arriving in Seattle, Lynch has been among the best running backs in football, scoring 54 touchdowns in 75 games, according to Pro Football Reference.
In 2014, Lynch reached the pinnacle of his sport when the Seahawks won the Super Bowl. This year they’re back, and on Sunday are looking to repeat as champions.
Marshawn Lynch the exile
Even though he’s been an unquestionable success since he got to Seattle, there was a time when Lynch’s future in the NFL was very much in question. He posted fairly average statistics during his time in Buffalo, New York, which was marred with off-field incidents. He left the scene of the accident after his hit a woman with his car in Buffalo and he was caught in possession of a firearm in California.
The weapon charge earned him a three-game suspension from the NFL and in that time he fell out of favour with the Bills organization. Eventually, the Bills traded Mr Lynch to the Seahawks in exchange for two late-round draft picks, a tiny price for a player that would become one of the best running backs in the league.
Marshawn Lynch the Skittles fiend
Lynch’s affection for Skittles is well-documented. His love for the tangy candies goes back to his days playing youth football, when his mother would give them to him for scoring touchdowns. As a professional, he teamed up with Skittles to raise money for charity.
Now he doesn’t get a pack of Skittles every time he scores, instead, for last year’s Super Bowl, Skittles donated money to Lynch’s foundation for each touchdown he scored.
Even though Lynch’s mother no longer gives him Skittles for touchdowns, he isn’t hurting for the candies. In an interview with USA Today he said fans constantly give him Skittles.
When asked how many Skittles he eats on a weekly basis, Lynch said “To be honest, I can’t tell you. I have no idea.”
He’s even started incorporating the candies into his workouts.Reuse content