(Attention: Poll at the bottom)
Up until this past Saturday, I think most Seattle sports fans would rank Edgar Martinez’s double off the Yankees’ Jack McDowell in the fifth game of the 1995 American League Division Series — The Double — as the seminal moment in Seattle sports history.
But along comes Marshawn Lynch with The Run — an astonishing, jaw-dropping, tackle-breaking work of brilliance to clinch the Seahawks’ playoff upset over the Saints.
It’s not a stretch to predict that Lynch’s run, like Edgar’s double, will become legendary in the annals of Seattle sports. Over time, in fact, it will likely be romanticized into something even more superhuman than it was in reality. We’ll tell our grandkids how Lynch broke 15 tackles, hurtled bodies like Edwin Moses, and crawled across the goal line.
Like Martinez’s hit, Lynch’s run was the climactic moment in a playoff game against
a high-status opponent — the mighty Yankees, in the M’s case, and the defending Super Bowl champions in the Seahawks’ case. Both teams were emerging from down periods, and both were decided underdogs, adding to the fan euphoria. Both feats were utterly stunning to watch unfold.
But I’d still give the edge to Edgar. For one thing, it turned a 5-4 Mariner deficit into a 6-5 victory, while Lynch’s run just added to a 34-30 lead the Seahawks already held. Secondly, the Martinez double involved a second iconic player in Ken Griffey Jr., whose sprint around the bases, as the relay came in from left field, was an event of supreme exhiliration and tension.
Thirdly, as Carson and SprtsFan astutely pointed out (and I was remiss to leave out of my original post), the Martinez double came in the context of an unlikely breakthrough season that saved baseball in the Northwest. It was the culmination of a storybook year that included the M’s furious comeback to catch the Angels, and the climax of a sensational series against the Yankees that was a soap opera by itself, with Game 5 a non-stop rollercoaster of emotions. The Seahawks, of course, barely made the playoffs, and with a losing record to boot. If they should somehow use this game to capapult into the Super Bowl, we might have a different view of the relative gravity of the two achievements, but for now I give the edge to Martinez.
Fourthly, Martinez was and remains, a beloved Seattle figure, one who spent his entire career here and had already built up a deep wellspring of affection. Lynch, until this run, was just another Seahawk player, admired for his hard-running style but, as a mid-season pickup, not yet one of the real fan favorites.
He will be now, of course, but as nomadic as NFL running backs tend to be, and as short-lived as their careers are, I doubt if he’ll have a chance to become as popular as Edgar Martinez, who married a local woman and remains a part of the Seattle community seven years after his retirement.
The Lynch run was spectacular, but it falls a few yards short of The Double. Of course, that conclusion is subject to review from the booth.