Before I get too far into this, I’d just like to say: I’m not a Ray Lewis hater.
Over the years I have heard countless casual fans ask something to the effect of, “didn’t he kill someone?” and I usually make an effort to explain some of the specifics of the case, how he probably isn’t guilty of anything more than hanging out with some shady people. I believe that he is the greatest middle linebacker I’ve ever seen, and possibly ever. In his younger days his sideline to sideline speed was mind blowing, and as he has aged his intangibles have been just as impressive.
All of those things have not stopped him from suddenly becoming one of the most annoying players in the NFL.
I have always playfully given Ray shit about his epic pregame speeches, but secretly I enjoyed them. I like it when sports looks like a movie every once and a while. But the fact that “Ray Lewis will not be doing trademark dance before the Super Bowl” is even a story, says something about how unbearable the man has become. Look, the squirrel dance is awesome, I try to replicate it when I’m drunk sometimes…but hasn’t it felt shoved down our throats this postseason? The media deserves some of the blame for it, of course, but I know I’m not the only one who felt really strange about Ray getting in the victory formation specifically to do that dance at the end of their game against the Colts. It wasn’t about team, or God, it was a blatant “look at me” moment which I wouldn’t mind from most players, and in fact I’d expect it. But that moment contrasts heavily with the way Lewis talks about himself.
Speaking of God, I believe Ray’s tears at the end of the New England game were genuine, but the words I took issue with. The unspoken implication seemed to be that the Ravens won because Ray believed in God so hard. The issue that I have with that, and I felt the same way during Tebowmania last season, is we act like there were no Christians on the Patriots. We act as if just because no players on the other side are bringing up their Lord and Savior every five minutes that they must be a bunch of atheists. At least in Tebow’s case, he didn’t perpetuate that idea. Now, full disclosure, I am agnostic so my opinion probably doesn’t count…but I can’t imagine that Christians can be that comfortable with the way that Lewis talks about some of these things. But hey, at least he balanced things out by blaming the PED allegations “on the devil”. I feel like Ray imagines Satan and Jesus in a constant fist fight over what is going to happen in his life.
If the 49ers win on Sunday, will that mean that God liked them more? If any victorious 49er points that out during their postgame press conference, that man will be my new favorite player.
Ray should be a fine broadcaster after he retires, as long as he doesn’t break down each game by telling us who believes in God more, or if he can go twenty minutes on TV without doing the squirrel. In all seriousness, I don’t think he is a bad dude. I just think he has bought into his own hype, and has begun to take himself entirely too seriously. The irony is it has turned him into a joke.