Sure enough, this is what I got when I checked the Doppler radar for Denver at the scheduled kickoff time.
|—||Joe Flacco, confirming what I’ve suspected about Ray Lewis and his speeches for years.|
FEAR SERIES: RAY LEWIS
There will never be enough words to describe Ray Anthony Lewis Jr. His life off the field has been polarizing, publicized, forgotten and now highly conversed and covered once again. He’s still risen above it all and day after day been the man you see every sunday. All of that aside; He (along with the original fear post) is the epitome of this sub series done on thecoachingstaff. This man embodies his craft and the word fear. He can crush you with over 1,000 lbs. of force. Trash talk ALMOST as much as Gary Payton. He’s the reason receivers don’t go over the middle. For almost 2 decades there have been 2 constants in the nfl, The Baltimore Ravens’ defense and the now defunct record of Brett Farve starting every game. What has the been the common denominator of the Ravens; defense? Of course it’s Ray Lewis and just like Farve, even if you don’t like Ray theres still some part of you, as a sports fan is still inspired by the guy and that fire he has commands the respect. He is hard work and he’ll be the 1st to tell you hard work aint hard work if hard work aint hard work. He does not and will not shy away from anything or anyone and he has succeed at every level because he refuses to settle for less.
“You’ve got to go out and show them that I’m a different creature now, then I was five minutes ago, cause I’m pissed off for greatness. Cause if you ain’t pissed off for greatness, that just means you’re okay with being mediocre.”
When you watch Ray Lewis, and you hear commentators describing him. The words they use don’t illustrate an ordinary man, they use words that describe a lion willing to die for his pride. Announcers use words like roaming, circling, eyeing because he is the ultimate predator, You know it, I know it, and he knows it.
“I already believe I am the best linebacker in the game. Now, I have to show one more thing ? that I am the most dominating, influential person in the game and the best football player to ever put on a pair of cleats.”
”I don’t go out and try to bash people and then get to the football. No, I get to the running back. No running back wants to face me in this league.”
His teammates even know it
- Tackles: 2,050
- Interceptions: 31
- Sacks: 41.5
- 13× Pro Bowl (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001,2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010,2011)
- 7× AP first-team All-Pro (1999, 2000, 2001,2003, 2004, 2008, 2009)
- 3× AP second-team All-Pro (1997, 1998, 2010)
- Super Bowl champion (XXXV)
- 2× AFC champion (2000, 2012)
- Super Bowl XXXV MVP
- 2× AP NFL Defensive Player of Year (2000, 2003)
- 3× AFC Defensive Player Of The Year (2000, 2001, 2003)
- 2× NFL Alumni Linebacker Of The Year (1999, 2003)
- 2× All-American (1994, 1995)
- Record 13 Pro Bowls for an Inside/Middle Linebacker
- Record 10 All-Pro selections for Inside/Middle Linebacker
- Record 10 All-Pro selections for a Linebacker (tied with Lawrence Taylor)
- Most Games Started at Inside/Middle Linebacker (227)
- Most Interception Return Yards for an Inside/Middle Linebacker (503)
- Most seasons played at Inside/Middle Linebacker (17) 
- NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
- 20 sack/20 interception Club- Quickest to reach (113 games)
- 30 sack/30 Interception Club- Quickest to reach (204 games)
- 40 sack/30 Interception Club- Only Member
And his mark of greatness is not only he see himself succeed but his desire to will others to be great. That’s Ray’s more enduring quality thats continued to shine through out his tenure in the NFL.
Win or lose, when he leaves the game I will forever remember him as these three things.
He is resolute.
He is power.
Here are my two favorite hits delivered by ray lewis.
Ray Lewis: Great write-up, great game, great player, great career.
"Look, Ray Lewis is an inspirational leader and one of the all-time greats, but I don’t think performance-enhancing drugs have any place in the NFL. We need a level playing field to… are you looking at my antlers? My eyes are down here, buddy. OK, as I was saying, illegal substances hurt the integrity of the game, and…is that a saw? Did Ray send you?!? Help!!!"
Ray Lewis’ first career sack on October 14, 1996. That man in blue, Jim Harbaugh.
Ray Lewis, let’s really make this a story book ending and book end this career. You gotta sack Harbaugh on the sidelines for the grande finale. You just gotta.
Pic: Ray Lewis consoles his latest victim, Tom Brady.
"Great moment @ 1.5 hours after the game, Peyton Manning and his family waited to congratulate @raylewis52."
Winners and Losers: Wild Card Round edition
So, that wasn’t the most memorable weekend of football, was it? Still, we’ve got several interesting match-ups set up for next week, and who will ever forget Ray Lewis’s final pre-game dance in Baltimore?
Onto the winners and losers of the wild card round:
The Green Bay Packers as contenders: The defense figured out a way to bottle up Adrian Peterson in their third game against the superhuman running back in the last six week and Aaron Rodgers was efficient in spreading the ball around (completions to 10 different receivers). Experience counts in the playoffs, and even though it was against an inferior opponent, the Packers reminded everyone why even with an uneven regular season, they’re still going to be a tough out in these playoffs. I can’t wait for Green Bay-San Francisco next week.
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady: Anything can happen in the playoffs, but I imagine the two quarterbacks were texting each other throughout the weekend marveling at the level of competition that the AFC teams displayed. We’re still on track for an AFC Championship Game showdown between these two in Denver.
Arian Foster: Most rushing yards by a running back in his first three career playoff games in NFL history. By the way: undrafted.
Christian Ponder: Nothing like a bad performance from your back-up QB to enhance your own value by default. Although I think the Vikings would be wise to explore the free agent and trade market for a quarterback this off-season.
Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks in general: The numbers weren’t spectacular for Wilson, and there was no 50 point performance from the offense this time around. But down 14-0 on the road in the first quarter, all the questions came back: were these Seahawks just a great team at home? Is this team capable of playing from behind? Wilson answered that with two key drives in the first half to get the game back to a manageable 14-10 deficit. Also, even though he had a key fumble, Lynch was spectacular on the day (137 yards, and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter). The Seahawks defense also tightened up after the early deficit. That was an impressive win, by Seattle. They struggled early in a hostile environment, made mistakes throughout, and still walked out with a double digit win. It’s the type of win that will have people debating all week long whether they might just be able to go into Atlanta and give themselves a great chance at the upset.
Ray Lewis: A great final home game send-off for the future Hall-Of-Famer. Oh, and he got a shoutout from Kobe Bryant’s brand new Twitter account.
The Cincinnati Bengals franchise playoff drought: Saddest stat I read all week was that the Bengals had not won a playoff game since 1990, and since that time, every team in the league has won a post-season game (Browns? Yes. Jaguars? Yes, shouts to Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell. And the list goes on). Marvin Lewis is now winless in four playoff games and, Andy Dalton, what exactly is his ceiling? Joe Flacco? Matt Schaub? I suppose that’s not entirely bad, since both those guys are still playing next week.
Joe Webb: If you follow the Vikings, or just football in general, you’ve heard whispers about Joe Webb and his freakish athletic ability, pretty best summed up by this video of him jumping over 7 dummies at the NFL combine. But on Sunday, pressed into action, he showed that there’s still a lot to go for him to be a competent quarterback.
The end of great regular season narratives: Time to tuck away #CHUCKSTRONG, and wonderful seasons from Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Adrian Peterson. But they’ll be remembered.
Football fans with Jets fatigue: Just when we thoughts Jets drama was behind us for at least a few weeks, we had to read all about Rex Ryan’s curious tattoo this week. The Jets aren’t just insufferable, they’re inescapable.
The Redskins: So, Washington fans, this is precisely why the Nationals took so much precaution with Stephen Strasburg by leaving him off the post-season roster, right? It was painful seeing Robert Griffin III out there on one leg, I mean, your knee isn’t suppose to bend this way, is it? With much chatter about whether Dr. James Andrews actually allowed Griffin to return to a game in December when he suffered his initial knee injury, coach Shanahan went ahead and risked further damage to his franchise, the investment that made the Redskins a topic of conversation again in football this year. We’re crossing sports for comparisons, but this reminds me of when the Blazers allowed Brandon Roy to return, and while that alone might not have cause the injuries that eventually forced him to retire (he’s since returned, but is on the injured list again), it does show what the long-term repercussions are when you don’t safeguard your best assets. Let’s just hope that we’ll see the same RG3 again next year. Also, Dan Snyder, let’s improve the field conditions just a little bit can we?
Who were your winners and losers?
Colts at Ravens: The Intangibles Bowl
The main storyline was clear heading into the divisional round match-up between the Colts and Ravens: #CHUCKSTRONG.
It went from a hashtag, to a movement, to a full blown playoff rally cry for the Indianapolis Colts, who really did win 11 games this season. Curtis Painter, we barely remember you.
But by mid-week, with news that Ray Lewis will be retiring after the season, the whole intangibles meter swung a bit back to the home team. Here stands their leader, win or lose this week, likely playing in his final game in Baltimore.
Despite the inconsistency of the Ravens all year, and a defense that is more reputation than performance at this point, you have to figure that Lewis’ swan song and the home field advantage will matter.
Everyone’s excited for this one, except for Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, who continues to just stare at something in the far distance, we’re just not sure what.
Speaking of legacies, welcome back to the spotlight Joe Flacco. He is elite, in a fleeting, once in a while type of way. He can amaze. He has amazed. But he’s incredibly frustrating as well. Which kind of describes the last decade of Ravens football. A few solid regular seasons, a couple of divisional titles (back to back AFC North champions), but whether it be the Steelers, their own kicker, or the Steelers again, that second Super Bowl appearance has eluded Lewis and crew.
But under John Harbaugh, they have yet to go one-and-done in the post-season.
The Colts have been a wonderful story, but they’re also faced one of (the?) easiest schedule of the season and been incredible in close games. I’m starting to sound like Bill Barnwell.
But it feels like this is what happens: Joe Flacco shows glimpses of being great again, the defense rises one more time, the rookie quarterback gets an important road playoff lesson for the future, and yes, Jim Caldwell will even crack a smile at the end of the game.
Ravens win 34-10.