Flying Rats Live Another Day
Dear Lord. We’ve got to see Ray Lewis do that stupid dance at least one more time.
My thoughts on the head flying rat are well known: He’s a thug who obstructed the investigation of a double homicide in 2000 and yet somehow is regarded with the same reverence normally reserved for non-murderous professional athletes who’ve enjoyed long careers. Like eternal greats Mario Lemieux, Michael Jordon, and Derek Jeter, Lewis also is the face of a franchise, one whose 2012 squad is on its way to New England next weekend for the big AFC championship game after beating the Denver Broncoles on Saturday in double-overtime. (My pick: Pats by 7.)
From a purely objective standpoint, Lewis is indeed one of the best linebackers ever to play the game. He’s never the biggest guy on the field, and he’s certainly never the fastest (or the most in shape), but he can diagnose plays more quickly than three guys stabbing two other guys to death in Atlanta after a Super Bowl game. He never blasts blockers, just oozes around or over them, his eyes always trained on the backfield and/or his coverage assignment. He’s delivered some serious hits on ball carriers, most of the time while plugging holes to confront running backs, which is saying something –– most big hits come downfield and are on helpless receivers. As my very smart college coach once told me and my teammates, it doesn’t take an ounce of courage to blast someone who not only isn’t looking at you but also doesn’t know you’re there. Lewis has pummeled his share of tailbacks and fullbacks, guys who knew he was there and knew he was coming. Maybe a little too late, but still.
There have been harder-hitting linebackers, and there have been slicker, faster LBs, but the number of linebackers capable of either taking your head off or going right around you is small and includes Ray Lewis.
On Saturday, Lewis registered 17 tackles: impressive and probably owning to a defensive line sworn by all that is purple and black in Ye Olde Land of the Baltimoron to keep blockers off St. Ray Ray, allowing him to slide, slide, slippity-slide his way into a glorious sunset.
And, dear god, did you want to throw up as badly as I did Saturday every time some idiot announcer said Ray Lewis was “elevating his team to another level”? God. First of all, what the heck does “another level” even mean? “Another level” of what? Is there a series of levels that we all “elevate” to? Why do people still spout that stupid hip-hop nonsense? Secondly, Ray Lewis made a few tackles. He’s supposed to do that. Whatever “another level” may mean, it probably has nothing to do with one guy doing his job. No, this annoying Ravens team is playing way beyond its skill level thanks mainly to two guys.
And Joe Flacco.
But! There’s a big “but” here. But! One of them is taking advantage of his amazing physical abilities while the other is getting by on the horseshoe up his ass.
I think we know which one is which.
I mean, seriously. Joe Flacco closes his eyes and throws the ball with all of his might within at least 20 yards of a Ravens receiver and just hopes for the best. And his receivers are coming through for him! Anquan Boldin, on the other hand, a Flacco enabler, is simply dominating, catching footballs with his fingertips and out-jumping DBs like he’s wearing trampoline-shoes, making those poor corners and safeties look like kids clamoring for an ice-cream cone from Daddy. “Not now, children. Daddy’s hungry.”
I’m still picking New England, but don’t be surprised if these infuriating flying rats pull out another big win.
And then we’ll have to see that stupid effing dance one last time in New Orleans. Gawd.