Seattle Seahawks: Not so Fast on Marshawn Lynch’s HOF Chances

Oct 5, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) works out before a game against the Detroit Lions at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 5, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) works out before a game against the Detroit Lions at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Seattle Seahawks and their fans may see it differently, but Terrell Davis’ election into Canton doesn’t necessarily improve Marshawn Lynch’s prospects.

It started early Monday morning, when Brock Huard and Mike Salk declared on 710 ESPN Seattle that Terrell Davis‘ induction into the Hall of Fame helps Marshawn Lynch immeasurably. The great John Clayton agreed with them and now more people than ever are convinced the former Seattle Seahawks running back will end up in Canton.

However, I’m here to state that I don’t believe it is quite as certain as you may think. What a lot of people have to understand is Davis was somewhat of an exception rather than the rule, when it comes to career longevity – or lack thereof.

In truth, a big part of the reason for the former Denver Bronco making it into the Hall of Fame, comes down to his success in the playoffs. In fact, you can make an argument for him being the greatest postseason running back in NFL history.

For a start, consider that Davis has the best average yards per game in playoff history, at 142.5 yards, with his closest contender being Arian Foster, with 128.8 yards. At this point, it’s important to note Lynch averaged 85.2 yards per game, considerably lower than Davis.

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Next, the newest running back to enter the Hall has the most consecutive 100-yard rushing games in postseason history, with seven. Emmitt Smith is the only other runner to manage seven such games, but they were spread out over 18 appearances.

Davis’ ability to perform when the pressure was highest was also indisputable, after surpassing 100 yards both times he appeared in the Super Bowl. This included Super Bowl 32, when he was named MVP, after rushing for 157 yards and a record-tying three touchdowns.

As a final note on the 47-year old’s ability to raise his game in the playoffs, his average gain of 5.59 (minimum 100 attempts), is also the best in postseason history. Marcus Allen is second-best, at 5.05 yards per carry.

Now let’s turn to the regular season, where Lynch stacks up much better. In simple terms, he has 9,112 career rushing yards, compared to 7,607 by Davis. He has more touchdown runs, 74-60 (83-65 if you include receiving TDs).

The enigmatic four-time Pro Bowler also has six 1,000 yards rushing seasons, compared to four by Davis. Suddenly, you begin to understand why the perception is that he has improved his chances of election to Canton.

Seattle Seahawks
Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; NFL former player Terrell Davis speaks with the media after being elected into the NFL Hall of Fame during the 6th Annual NFL Honors at Wortham Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

However, again alluding to what makes Davis a special case, is what he actually managed to achieve every time he touched the ball, even during the regular season. For a start, his average rushing yards of 97.5 is third all-time, behind just Jim Brown and Barry Sanders.

Again, for the sake of comparison, Lynch averaged 71.1 yards on the ground, 35th-most in NFL history. In fairness, things are a lot closer in terms of average yards per carry, with Davis only slightly ahead, 4.6 compared to 4.3.

Now at this point, it should be stressed this is not a case of saying Lynch shouldn’t or doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. It’s more about trying to make people realize why Davis was more deserving than first thought.

There is no denying Lynch was one of the most physical, punishing runners the NFL had even seen, possibly since Brown. However, there is an argument to be made that if Davis’ career hadn’t been cut so short, he had a chance to go down as the greatest rusher of all time, or at least in the conversation with Brown and Sanders.

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One additional factor going against Lynch, which does not allude to Davis, is how the media feels about him. We’ve already seen how not being popular can impact your chances, with Terrell Owens once again missing out on the Hall.

Along those lines, we all know how Lynch reacted to the media, especially as his career progressed. However, I don’t believe a player’s off the field activities should influence their chances.

It’s about what they did on the field that matters, with Lawrence Taylor being one of the best examples. Unfortunately, certain members of the media do let personal feelings get in the way of making the right decision.

(In that respect I agree wholeheartedly with Art Thiel’s stance. The media should have nothing to do with the election process.)

Ultimately, it is my opinion that Lynch does deserve to eventually end up in the Hall of Fame. However, don’t believe for one moment that Davis’ election has made his chances that much better.

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What’s your take in respect of Lynch’s Hall of Fame prospects? Do you believe Davis’ election improves the former Seahawk’s chances and if so, why? Share your thoughts in the comments section.