Marshawn Lynch slowed, crossed the goal line, and in one motion jumped, made a 180 turn and grabbed his crotch as he fell to the ground.
This came after a 79 yard touchdown run against the Arizona Cardinals in which he slithered through the line of scrimmage and burst to the sideline, where he bulldozed not one, but two defenders, (all while perilously staying in bounds) and continued to outrun any Cardinals defenders who dared challenge the mighty Beast Mode. This run and subsequent celebration might best encapsulate the essence of Lynch: the merciless yet nimble running style and the brazen, “I don’t care if your kids are watching” attitude he brought to the game.
Sadly, after eight glorious years in the NFL, Lynch called it quits. Gone were to be the days of Lynch single-handedly propelling himself past mountainous defensive linemen into the end zone. Gone were to be the days of his famous interviews in which he simultaneously gave the NFL the finger and captured the heart of every single fan who was watching. But now, after the grieving of football fans everywhere, a black and silver sliver of hope has appeared….
Ever since Lynch came into the NFL, it has been the pipe dream of every Raiders fan (and I hope every NFL fan) for him to play for the Silver and Black. And until recently, it has been just that: a pipe dream. The ongoing futility of the Raiders instilled little confidence that the team could land a marquee free agent, let alone Beast Mode himself. And even if Oakland had the clout to do so, why would a player of Lynch’s stature leave Seattle’s destructive offensive line and lights-out defense for a team that hadn’t been to the playoffs in over ten years and whose overall dysfunctional would be hard pressed to match?
But it’s not 2012 anymore, and the Raiders aren’t who they once were. An elite offense led by Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree provide scoring punch, and a defense anchored by the haunting Khalil Mack makes Oakland a legitimate contender. If it weren’t for a late season foot injury to Carr, the Raiders would’ve had a shot at the super bowl. Combine that, the departure of running back Latavius Murray and Lynch’s itch to play the game he loves and you’ve got yourself a good old fashioned, “Oh My Gosh, This Could Really Happen” smoothie.
Marshawn Lynch and the Raiders go as well together as pretty much anything you can think of: peanut butter and jelly, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, hell, maybe even Coca Cola posters and the 1950’s. Lynch grew up in Oakland as a Raiders fan, attended Oakland Technical High School and played football for UC Berkeley. He chose to open his first Beast Mode Apparel store at 811 Broadway Street, located in the heart of the city that raised him. Lynch has lived in Buffalo and won a championship in Seattle, but still calls Oakland home. It’s not only Lynch’s personal ties with the Oakland that make it a perfect match, either.
Last week, it was announced that the Raiders will be moving to Las Vegas in 2019. The owners’ 31-1 vote crushed the hearts of loyal fans and sent Raider Nation into a tailspin. The move was painful for all, but especially devastating to younger fans who, for their entire lives, had rooted fiercely for the same team that, year after year, floundered helplessly on the field. Now, for the first time in 15 years, the team is competitive, and Mark Davis is just gonna rip the team from those very same fans? It’d be truly horrific if the Raiders moved to Vegas and then won a championship instead of winning one in Oakland while they still had the chance, right?
That’s where Marshawn comes in. He has the chance to help drive the Raiders to a championship while they’re still in Oakland. He has the chance to become the ultimate hero that Raiders fans deserve. He has the chance to become the savior of Oakland sports. Furthermore, his career timeline coincides perfectly with the team’s. By 2019, Lynch will be 33 and undoubtedly in the twilight of his playing days. When the team moves to Las Vegas he can retire to Canada once again, only this time he will have immortalized himself as nothing short of a football demigod to the rest of us and a god to Raiders fans.
And guys, this could actually happen. Yesterday, on April 5, Lynch met with the Raiders and told them he plans to un-retire. This comes a week after he met with former head coach Pete Carroll about making a possible comeback. Carroll said, “He came through the office and had a good visit. I know that he is somewhat entertaining the thought of [coming back]. I can’t tell you how strong it is.” In other words, all signs point to yes and Lynch becoming a Raider some time in the near future.
Close your eyes. Imagine, if only for a second, Lynch donning a #24 Raiders jersey and sprinting out of the tunnel onto the field. Him running behind Oakland’s powerful offensive line, into the end zone and subsequently into the welcoming arms of the black hole. Now open your eyes. What you just envisioned is football perfection. It’s poetry in motion. Lynch’s return to Oakland would be the football gods blessing us, or possibly just apologizing for allowing the Patriots to win another Super Bowl. Either way, it’d be magical, for this reason alone: Marshawn Lynch and the Oakland Raiders are a match made in heaven.