Chapman: Super Marshawn for the win
Ultimately, I just want to see a good game that matters in the fourth quarter come tomorrow evening.
Last year’s Super Bowl was incredibly boring unless you are a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan. Unfortunately, I don’t see the outcome being too different as the NFC champions’ defense is unbelievably good. Even pretty boy superstar and future Hall of Famer Tom Brady is going to have issues with the Seattle pass rush and lockdown secondary. Peyton Manning’s offense couldn’t handle the pressure, though there is something to be said for Brady’s playoff success, three Super Bowl rings and genius – if not cheater – of a coach Bill Belichick. (Seriously, how many times can one team be suspected of shady dealings and the owner still get indignant when questioned?)
I can’t say I really want either team to win, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch rush for a cool 300 yards and four touchdowns – and still not talk to the media following the game.
If you follow sports, you undoubtedly have heard countless “sports journalists” whine about Lynch not talking to the media. I may be going against many in my industry, but the condemnation of Lynch is simply silly.
Lynch is exercising his right to not talk and I don’t blame him. I thoroughly enjoyed his media day response to every question posed Tuesday. “I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” he said to every reporter who questioned him. After all, he has said often, “I’m all about that action, boss.” His play backs that up pretty well.
Having covered NFL games, including the postgame locker room frenzy, I’ve seen firsthand how stupid the questions can be.
I was one of the dummies once. I was covering a week 17 NFC East game where host Washington beat Philadelphia to knock the Eagles out of playoff contention. I was granted a press pass as former James Madison University player Akeem Jordan was playing for Philly. We wanted a feature story on him as he was playing a big game just hours from our alma mater.
While I waited for Jordan to finish showering, I moseyed around the dejected visiting locker room, smiling inside as Donovan McNabb and others swallowed a loss to the sorry Redskins (I’ve suffered through the Dan Snyder era and my affinity for the Washington football team diminishes with each subpar season). Wanting a quote from a big-name player about the rookie from JMU, I made my way to legendary safety and 9-time Pro Bowler Brian Dawkins’ locker.
Dawkins had more muscles than I knew existed and used every bit of his 6-foot, 210-pound frame to crush opposing players on a weekly basis.
“Uh, Mr. Dawkins, I’m working on a story about Akeem Jordan. Do you have a minute?” I said, my voice quivering.
Dawkins peered through my naive soul and gave the most stern “No” I may ever hear. Needless to say, I didn’t push the issue. Nine-time All-Pro safeties are mean dudes.
In retrospect, it was a dumb question. Why the heck would this long-time star, competitive as they come, care to answer a question about some rookie after the team lost a shot at the playoffs thanks to a goal-line stand by the hapless Redskins?
Timing was the bigger issue in that instance. But after most games, throngs of reporters badger players for the same cliche quotes: “We just believed in ourselves,” “We really put it on the line,” “Any time you can get a win in this league,” etc.
It gets nauseating. Lynch may have obligations to the press – imposed by a money-first, integrity-second NFL that proved in 2014 how incredibly inept it is at handling just about every thing – but should he?
Being able to fine Lynch because he doesn’t care to BS with lazy reporters is great for Roger Goodell and company. Ratings-first, journalism-second ESPN and much of the other 24-hour “news” outlets eat this stuff up and thus focus less on the league’s months-long lack of action despite knowing a star player knocked out his fiance.
Lynch has made it clear all season and before this year that he does not want to talk. Yet reporters get ruffled. “How dare he? He’s a star player! We need to do our jobs!” There are 52 other players on an active roster. If a reporter can’t get over Lynch’s silence and find a wealth of good material from 52 other players, said reporter probably isn’t that good a reporter.
The league is just as pathetic for threatening to increase the fines. It was pretty easy for its office to stay mum and play the ignorance card and say nothing when the Ravens released comments from a battered woman, saying she was partially to blame. Don’t tell me any player has obligations to the press after all that nonsense.
Here’s to Marshawn being Marshawn and channeling that Beast Mode. Hopefully he destroys the Patriots, wins MVP outright and doesn’t cave to the bully that is the NFL.
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