Marshawn Lynch is enjoying pseudo-retirement, and recently partnered with past teammate Cliff Avril to build a school in Haiti, cementing that the former Seattle Seanhawks running back is an absolute diamond of a person.
But as today, April 22, is Marshawn Lynch's 30th birthday -- and birthdays are occasions for celebration and reflection in equal measure -- it's as good a time as any to revisit the night he pissed all over my parade without the courtesy of calling it rain.
January 8, 2011.
My proper introduction to Beast Mode, a distinct and separate being from the man we know as Marshawn Lynch.
Marshawn Lynch was a guy who played running back for the Seattle Seahawks. He's from Oakland. Beast Mode was the consummate answer to the irresistible force paradox, built from whatever that metal is that space shuttles are made of. He's from the planet Apokolips and emits gamma rays.
Full disclosure, I am a New Orleans Saints fan. I don't remember exactly when it happened, but at some point, my dad told me that's what we were, and it was what it was. There still is a mesh Reebok youth XL Aaron Brooks jersey in my closet. I got it after he was harassed into throwing a pass backwards in that risible road loss to the San Diego Chargers in 2004. I am waist deep in it. I am a goner.
But in 2011, we (yes, we) were actually good. People had to worry about us. We got to walk around calling ourselves "defending Super Bowl champions." We had designs on a repeat.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, were the least bad team in a bad NFC West division, and snuck into the playoffs with a 7-9 record. They had a four-point lead with a little more than two minutes left, but were sitting on a second-and-10, which I was confident would turn into a third-and-long, and eventually a three-and-out that would set up a game-winning drive for us. Of course, none of that happened.
Marshawn Lynch took the handoff out of that second-and-10, and tore through our defensive line like a V8 pickup truck driving straight through a garage door. It was at this moment that I realized "Beast Mode" wasn't a mode at all, but an actual thing that he became. For the next 67 yards, every would-be Saints tackler was just a bug to be squished on his visor as he careened toward the end zone.
Especially Tracy Porter -- dear, sweet Tracy Porter -- who at least managed to lay a hand to Lynch's shoulder pads before getting heaped to the side for Tuesday trash collection (best seen at the 2:00 mark). It was super unfortunate and hurt me deeply, but... how can you not appreciate something so awesome?
You know the rest. The Seahawks ended our repeat bid with a 41-36 win, and I had to read this sentence the next day on ESPN:
Happy birthday, Marshawn Lynch. You still didn't have to do Tracy Porter like that.