Assuming you’ve been pinned under something heavy for the past month, you probably hadn’t heard that Ravens LB Ray Lewis is retiring after 17 years in the NFL. And after yesterday’s victory over the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Lewis is going out in the best way imaginable, with a second Super Bowl championship under his belt.
“My last ride.. Up in the clouds… This feeling is so real. We coming home with the crown Baltimore.”
Regardless of the off-field controversy that seems to endlessly surround Lewis, you can’t deny his greatness as a linebacker, and his impact on the game during his career.
Am I nuts, or does it look like Lewis is flying coach here? Seems a little odd for the world champs to be slumming it in coach, no?
UPDATE: It appears that Lewis wasn’t the only one who got to cradle the trophy on the flight home … according to the Ravens’ Twitter, the Lombardi was passed around the entire plane:
The Lombardi Trophy was passed around the entire #Ravens team plane. Coaches, players, staff. Really cool!
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) February 4, 2013
By now this photo has made the rounds, but we couldn’t resist sharing a genuine, un-staged moment between two of the greatest football players of our time.
Following the Broncos devastating 38-35 playoff loss to the Ravens – more than two hours after the game had ended – Peyton Manning met up with Ray Lewis in the visitor locker room to congratulate him on the victory:
They say a picture says a thousand words, and with Lewis taking his final run at the post-season, we can only imagine the stories these two warriors have to share from their storied careers as opposing forces in the NFL.
What we wouldn’t have given to be a fly on the wall for that conversation. Even though only Peyton’s young son was close enough to hear what was said, fortunately for us, Ravens media director Chad Steele was there to capture the moment and share it with the world.
We love our GIFs here at ReadAndReact, so we’ve started a new weekly feature where we collect the best GIFs from each NFL week, and post them all in one convenient spot for your viewing enjoyment.
Most of these come courtesy of the always-awesome GIFulmination, Bleacher Report, @SBNation GIF or @CJZero … so special thanks to those guys. Submit your favorites GIFs to email@example.com, and PLEASE BE PATIENT WHILE THIS PAGE LOADS. Try scrolling over GIFs, and click images to launch in a new tab.
The biggest story of the season so far … they’re BACK!!! Gene Steratore – take a bow:
And then there’s this remarkable Hochuli-Lewis mash up GIF, courtesy of @LSUFreek:
Former Ravens owner Art Modell was laid to rest on Tuesday in Baltimore, and Modell got his send-off from one of the best in linebacker Ray Lewis.
Lewis has long been known as one of the most inspirational teammates in the NFL for his fiery, sermon-like pre and post-game speeches. And once again, Lewis delivered in his tribute to Modell, the visionary:
This man lived a life that should make every person in this room smile and find a different way to impact somebody along the way. Because once it all settles, and we all have to lay here one day, what will your legacy be? A legend, leaving a legacy of commitment, of sacrifice, of obedience. A vision, to honor a great man.
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
Here’s some good news for NFL fans … “A Football Life” – the acclaimed series produced by NFL Films for the NFL Network – is returning for a second season.
Following up on the success of last year’s inside look at the enigmatic Bill Belichick, “A Football Life” will premiere on September 12th, with (what else) a feature on Tim Tebow, and his wild ride through the 2011 season. A week later, we get to go on the field with Ravens LB Ray Lewis, who allowed himself to be mic’d up for every game last season for the production (the first player in NFL history to do so).
In addition to these two episodes, this season promises unprecedented insight into such NFL luminaries as Jimmy Johnson, Barry Sanders, and Steve McNair … as well as some of the more important moments in the history of the league (“The Immaculate Reception” and the 1995 Cleveland Browns).
Watch a sneak preview HERE, and get a complete list of subjects for the upcoming season of “A Football Life” after the jump.
Ray Lewis has long been a controversial figure in the NFL, but no one can argue the man’s ability on the field as one of the finest linebackers of our generation. But the thing that perhaps makes Lewis even more special are his innate gifts as a leader, and his undeniable ability to motivate his teammates around him to be better.
As we watch yet another Ravens defensive coordinator get plucked away for an NFL head coaching job in Chuck Pagano (after Marvin Lewis, Mike Nolan and Rex Ryan before him), you can’t help but wonder if it really hasn’t been Lewis who has been the true guiding force of the Baltimore defense all along. Not taking anything away from Pagano, but with guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed in that locker room, it feels like almost anyone could step in and coach this unit to the playoffs.
The latest proof of Lewis’ status as the unquestioned leader of the Ravens comes from his post-game locker room speech immediately following their gut-wrenching AFC Championship loss to the Patriots. Watch and listen as Lewis drops into preacher mode to put things into perspective, congratulating his teammates on a job well done this season, telling Joe Flacco “you played your ass off” in the loss and to keep his head up, while also exhorting them all to get back to work and become stronger as a team.
For this clip, Lewis’ speech has been set to Ravens season highlights, as extra motivation for sad Baltimore fans everywhere.
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
Yup. It happens to even the best of ‘em.
Watch Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch send both Ray Lewis and Jarret Johnson flying with this incredible juke move from Sunday’s 22-17 win over the Ravens:
Yikes. That’s just nasty.
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
This is the first pre-season highlight we’ve bothered to post here at R&R, and not surprisingly, the clip has very little to do with the action on the field. During the final moments of last night’s 34-31 win over the Redskins, Ravens’ LB Ray Lewis was being interviewed on the sideline when his attention was diverted by his team’s last-minute comeback attempt.
Watch as Lewis drops straight into play-by-play mode as he encourages rookie QB Tyrod Taylor (aka “the human highlight reel”) in leading the Ravens on a game-winning drive:
Love or hate the Ravens, you can’t help but appreciate Lewis’ pure, unadulterated love of the game.
As much positive spin as there seems to be coming from the NFL labor negotiations of late, we’re still just over two weeks from when training camps are scheduled to begin, and we’re still sitting around waiting for some real news, with no football in site. So, in our latest installment of “laughing to keep from crying over the whole nightmare”, we bring you this opus from the good folks over at Funny or Die: Field of Dreams 2: NFL Lockout Edition.
In the trailer for this fake sequel (which is more-than-plausible, and in fact looks better than half of the crap being spewed out in in today’s originality-bereft Hollywood, where bastardizing the best movies of my childhood seems to be the only idea left … ahem. Sorry, minor rant there), Twilight‘s Taylor Lautner appears alongside Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta and Dennis Haysbert, as the man who welcomes the disenfranchised NFL’ers into his cornfield, spurred on by the voices in his head. Ray Lewis, Tony Gonzalez, DeSean Jackson, Antonio Cromartie, Steve Smith (NYG) and a litany of other NFL players (who currently have nothing better to do) come to Iowa rekindle the magic and purity of the game in the National Corn League … at least until the lockout finally ends and the money comes calling, that is:
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
It’s a great time of year to be a football fan. No longer do we have to endure the endless din of the baseball season, and the NBA is just getting started, so the gridiron gets center stage for the next few months. And the midway point of the season also brings the return of Thursday Night Football on the NFL Network. Which means we get one more night of the week where we have an excuse to drink, and we don’t have to endure crap like Grey’s Anatomy on television.
Tonight we get a good one, with two 6-2 division-leading teams facing off in and inter-conference battle. With the Falcons vs Ravens, we get to see Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Roddy White, Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice, Michael Turner, Ray Lewis & Tony Gonzalez (to name a few), so there will be no shortage of star power on the field. Should be a great match-up, and White – who leads the NFC in receiving – is expected to play. But both teams come into tonight with very little rest since their last game, so we’ll see if that has any effect on their play.
For those of you without NFL Network – which seems to be a healthy percentage of homes out there, you can watch the game live online here.