Though he announced his intentions to retire on Sunday, Feb. 7, Marshawn Lynch will always have a special place in the hearts of Seattle Seahawks fans. The man affectionately known to the Pacific Northwest as “Beast Mode” had too many memorable moments to count during his 5 1/2 seasons since the Seahawks traded for the Buffalo Bills’ first-round draft pick (12th overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft. His violent running style was the heartbeat of a new, tougher mentality for the franchise and helped carry it to its first Super Bowl title and within 1 yard and one hand off that never came of a repeat championship. Here is a look at five of the most memorable moments during Lynch’s stay in Seattle:
1. Beast Quake
Though he rushed for nearly 573 yards and 6 TDs in his first 12 games in a Seahawks uniform, it wasn’t until the NFC wild card playoffs that Lynch reached superhero status in Seattle. Lynch rumbled 67 yards late in the fourth quarter, breaking through a tackle attempt from nearly every New Orleans Saints defender on the field and punctuating the run by emphatically throwing a Saints defensive back to the ground. The run not only clinched a trip to the next round of the playoffs but also generated an earthquake from Seattle fans at CenturyLink Field jumping up and down in excitement.
2. Super Skittles
Always known for his love of Skittles candy, Lynch was the star of the Seahawks’ first championship parade following Super Bowl XLVIII. After running for 39 yards and scoring a touchdown in Seattle’s 43-8 win over Denver, Lynch positioned himself on the hood of a Duck Boat during the parade through downtown Seattle, throwing Skittles to fans lining the route. After he was done with the Skittles, Lynch asked Bellingham’s John Scott for his Native American hand drum, which Lynch pounded throughout the rest of the parade and upon entering CenturyLink Field for the stadium celebration.
3. Beast Quake 2
One powerful, tackle-shedding run was not enough for Lynch, who pulled off a near duplicate in a late-season win over Arizona in 2014. Much like the first run nearly four years earlier, Lynch bulled his way through the line. He then threw another would-be Cardinals tackler to the ground and raced 79 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown. This run also probably would have moved some seismometers if not for the fact that it occurred in the desert, but the cheering from living rooms and bars all over the region could be heard on just about any street.
4. Speech mode
Lynch’s unwillingness to speak to reporters during his tenure in Seattle was well known, but that became a problem when the national media became involved during the Seahawks’ back-to-back runs to the Super Bowl. After the NFL was displeased with his standoffish stay at Media Day before Super Bowl XLVIII, Lynch was coaxed into making an appearance before Super Bowl XLIX. Lynch strode to his podium and replied “I’m here so I won’t get fined” to 29 questions before standing up 4 minutes and 51 seconds in and saying, “Time.” For the record, he was not fined.
5. Groin grab
While Lynch’s touchdown runs against the Saints and Cardinals may have been more memorable, perhaps no run was more important than his 24-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Green Bay in the 2015 NFC Championship Game. Lynch broke into the open to score and celebrated by turning around in the end zone and giving the Packers his trademarked groin grab. The league fined him $20,000 for the move, but the touchdown gave the Seahawks a 22-19 lead in a game they had trailed by 12 points just 45 seconds earlier. Green Bay ultimately sent the game to overtime, but Seattle won to head back to the Super Bowl.
Seahawks Tribute: #ThankYouBeastMode
The Seattle Seahawks posted this video in honor of his retirement.