Even the Football Gods must have been shaking their heads in disbelief.
If you watched Sunday’s NFC Championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers, you witnessed one of the most improbable comebacks in pro football history.
And if you watched the pre-game show on FOX, you were shocked the learn of the NFL’s threat to eject Seattle’s star running back Marshawn Lynch from the contest for his intention to wear 24-karat clad cleats.
First, a quick review of the game. After being badly outplayed, and down 19-7 with less than three minutes to go, the Seahawks mounted a relentless comeback — including a recovered onside kick and a successful two-point conversion — that resulted in a heart-stopping 28-22 overtime victory and a ticket to the Super Bowl. Lynch wouldn’t be denied as he rumbled for 157 yards on 25 carries and scored a touchdown.
Before the game, however, Fox analysts speculated whether Lynch would play at all — and the controversy hinged on an apparent NFL dress-code violation. FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer reported that Lynch would be ejected from Sunday game if he insisted on wearing a pair of $1,100 gold cleats designed by shoe-customizing guru Soles by Sir.
The Nike Vapor Speed Mid TD shoes were gilded in 24-karat gold flake paint and accented with a gold-plated sole and cleats. Lime green laces — to complement the Seahawks’ official colors of lime green and blue — completed the motif.
TMZ reported that Lynch had the shoes especially made for his anticipated return to the Super Bowl, but decided to wear them in the NFC Championship game because he was so pleased with the way they turned out.
NFL officials were not pleased. The league demands that each player wear officially sanctioned footwear. The shoes have to be black, white, or one of the official colors of the team. In Lynch’s case, metallic gold did not qualify.
Typically, a violation would result in a fine, which is a penalty most players are willing to absorb. Lynch, for example, was fined $10,000 for wearing “Skittles” shoes against the San Francisco 49ers in December of 2011. On Sunday, the NFL was ready to get tougher.
Just before game time on Sunday, FOX reported that the crisis had been averted. Lynch had complied with the NFL’s request and wore green-and-blue shoes — although they did have what appeared to be metallic gold soles and cleats (not a violation, apparently).
Gold shoe photos: Instagram/Soles by Sir; Lynch photos: courtesy Getty Images; Skittles shoe photo: NikeBlog.com