Has Project Beastmode been a Success?
It seems like only yesterday that Russell Wilson threw a pick on 2nd and goal to hand the Patriots Superbowl 49. Oh the humanity – even thinking about it now makes me shake my head in disbelief. It happened at a time when few, if any, running backs trumped Marshawn Lynch on short yardage situations. They nicknamed him ‘Beastmode’ for Christ’s sake. We would later find out that Lynch expected the handoff prior to the snap, and was visibly upset.
Lynch played one more season at Seattle before announcing his retirement from the NFL. Seahawks fans and Skittles’ marketing heads alike were crestfallen, but the league missed him too. A mere year after his announcement, Lynch returned to play for his hometown team of Oakland. Some scoffed at the idea of his return, but the fact of the matter is that he’d been fresh from a year off, and he’s still only 31.
It’s been a romantic return. He’s clearly ecstatic to be playing for Oakland, and fans (regardless of the team they follow) have been delighted to have him back on our screens. You can catch him dancing on sidelines and spreading his unique influence around to lift team spirits. In contrast to his popular personality within a squad, it’s not uncommon to see Lynch get suspended for pushing a referee or to avoid talking to media. He’s a marketing diamond in that respect, and it’s no surprise that he’s ranked among the top selling jerseys this season.
So, Has the project worked? Well, it depends who you ask. Statistically speaking, it’s been quite average. Take a look:
As I said, on paper it’s quite average. It’s actually on par with his last season in Seattle in terms of yards per attempt, but with less yards total. The fact of the matter is that Lynch is used quite frequently, in spite of being labelled an impact or third down back by some. He’s averaging over 10 attempts per game after all.
Comparing this with the rest of league, Lynch ranks at 29th in terms of yards, 24th in attempts, and tied 4th for touchdowns. He’s had less attempts compared to the other RBs tied to 4th place, so by comparison you have to say that he is making his impact known.
The issue with Lynch this season might stem from inconsistencies though. Against Miami, I felt like we were watching Lynch from 2013. On his first home regular season game against the Jets, he ran riot with great gusto. When he plays like that, it’s not just the Raiders who benefit – it’s all NFL fans. I wrote about how the league is missing personality a few weeks ago, and I stand by that. Lynch is an exception to that rule, but only when he’s running amuck.
Who remembers Lynch when he went for 12 yards on 9 attempts in Denver? It would be a forgettable game for anyone, not just because of the stats, but because of Lynch not bringing his bravado to the game.
It’s been patchy, but the return of Marshawn Lynch has been both a commercial success for the Raiders and NFL, while the rest of us can enjoy his big personality when it flickers from time to time. He missed the game in Buffalo, and we saw a rejuvenated man in Miami. The Raiders have a bye now too, so here’s hoping for ‘Beastmode’ in week 11 against the New England Patriots. Oh how he’d love to beat them.
This OTI piece was written by Matt Carolan. Matt is a New York Football Giants fan from Co Wicklow, and is currently working in marketing. Matt can be found on twitter at