Super Bowl week has been rather quiet on the soundbites front. Not much back-and-forth or trash talk is being doled out, so naturally the man not saying much at all is getting the attention. Yes, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has been criticized and fined by the NFL throughout the season for not speaking to the media.
The league wants Lynch to talk in press conferences but won’t listen to his reasons for not being outgoing when the mics are thrown into his face. Lynch’s reasons for his choice make sense, however. He likes to let his play do the talking, and in Super Bowl week, that actually makes sense. Why? Because many notorious Super Bowl media day trash-talkers dominating the headlines during the week walk away with a loss on Sunday.
Perhaps the most infamous case of a player talking smack during the week and being unable to back it up in the Big Game was Jeramy Stevens in 2006. Stevens, who also happened to have played for the Seattle Seahawks, talked a lot before the Seattle-Pittsburgh Super Bowl in Detroit. In response to the media frenzy that surrounding Steelers running back Jerome Bettis’s return to his hometown, Stevens said, “The story of Jerome Bettis returning to his hometown is heartwarming, but it’s going to be a sad day when he doesn’t walk away with that trophy.” He also said that Steelers linebacker Joey Porter was going to have a tough day with Seattle tackle Walter Jones. Porter responded by shooting back, “He’s too soft to say something like that,” Porter said. “He’s going to have the opportunity to back up his words. I’m going to have the opportunity to back up my words. So it’s something I’m looking forward to and I’m ready to get going.” In the end, Porter backed up his words with a Super Bowl title while Stevens looked silly, dropping three easy passes from Matt Hasselbeck and being held to 3 catches for 25 yards.
Another example of trash talk gone wrong was Ray Buchanan of the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. Buchanan and Shannon Sharpe were not too fond of each other even before the Super Bowl and they sure weren’t going to go out for a drink afterwards after the exchange on media day. Buchanan went on the offensive when it was his turn at the podium, calling the Denver tight end “Mr. Ed” and saying he looked like a horse. Sharpe, never one to back down from a shot like that, replied with some barbs and stated something along the lines of what Joey Porter would say a couple years later: “On Sunday, he’s going to get the chance to back up what he said.” Who backed it up? It sure wasn’t Buchanan. His secondary got carved up by John Elway and he was a relative non-factor. Sharpe didn’t perform his best either, but his Broncos won and he didn’t start the trash talk in the first place. Buchanan was never a great corner after that game. And that dog collar…
In conclusion, those two major examples of Super Bowl trash talk show that by not talking much to the media, Marshawn Lynch may be doing himself a favor. Talking smack isn’t going to improve his chances of winning the big game, staying focused will. He’s never been a big talker, but he’ll have a big impact on the game nonetheless.