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.
On Sunday, Seahawks WR Golden Tate delivered a knockout blow to Cowboys LB Sean Lee on a blindside block that made all the highlight reels, and has now left Tate $21,000 poorer after being fined by the NFL.
The hit also gave us one of the more brutal photos of the football season so far:
The look on Lee’s face – with Tate’s helmet planted squarely in his jaw – is downright scary, and it’s fortunate that Lee wasn’t seriously injured on the play (although, the long-term effects on his brain probably won’t be known for a while).
WATCH THE PLAY HERE (GIFs below). In real time, it most certainly is a blindside block, but it’s looks as though Tate put his helmet in Lee’s chest and wasn’t aiming for his head (despite the result). Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has said that “I don’t think he could have done it any cleaner”.
It was one of the rare cases of the reality actually being better than the hype.
With five rookie quarterbacks starting their team’s opener on Sunday, Robert Griffin III stood head and shoulders above the rest of his class by putting on one of the most impressive debut performances by a QB in NFL history, and leading the Redskins to a shocking 40-3 victory over the Saints.
Griffin’s stat line - 19-of-26 for 320 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, for a 139.9 passer rating – is impressive enough. In becoming the first quarterback in league history to throw for over 300 yards in a winning debut, RGIII put all of advertised physical tools – speed, agility and cannon for an arm – on display for everyone to see. But considering that he did it all on the road, in a hostile Superdome, in his first game on the NFL stage … it was his poise, intelligence and confidence that really stood out. Starting the game off 8-for-8, Griffin looked like a veteran running Mike Shanahan‘s offense out there.
Meanwhile, number 1 overall pick Andrew Luck threw three interceptions and fumbled once in a loss, Russell Wilson had a mixed performance but came up short on a game-winning drive, Ryan Tannehill was in over his head in throwing 3 picks, and Brandon Weeden looked completely lost with a 5.1 QB rating, the worst pro debut by a QB in modern history.
As we all know by now, after winning his second Super Bowl Championship as a member of the NY Giants this year, RB Brandon Jacobs decided to head for greener pastures and sign with the 49ers. And by “greener”, we mean a place where he could get “more money”.
Well, one young Giants fan took that to heart, and decided to try and do something about it. When his parents informed him that the Giants couldn’t afford to keep the bruising back, 6-year-old Joe Armento reached into his own piggy bank in an attempt to convince Jacobs to stay in New York. Check out this amazing letter that Jacobs received from Joe (with the help of his mother Julie), and posted to his Twitter account on Tuesday (full text after the jump):
The usually imposing back seemed genuinely touched by the gesture, Tweeting: “I almost cried. I’m still trying to hold it in. I may have to pay him a surprise visit.”
After giving it some thought and taking suggestions from his followers, Jacobs decided he would take young Joe on a trip to Chuck E. Cheese, in an attempt to make up for his departure. He also promised to repay the $3.36, but plans to keep the actual money Joe sent, apparently as a reminder of the fans he made while in NY.
Great stuff, all-around.
FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER AFTER THE JUMP
This bumblebee-esque monstrosity was apparently inspired by the original 1934 Pittsburgh Pirates, and was chosen “to show a unique part of Steelers’ history”:
“We wanted to use a jersey that we wore early in our history as we celebrate our 80th season,” Steelers’ President Art Rooney II said. “We have never used those jerseys since the 1934 season and I think our fans will be excited to see our players wear them in action this year.”
More uniform pics here, and after the jump. And while our initial reaction was horror, the more we look at it … yeah, they’re still pretty bad. There’s a reason these unis were left on the shelves for 80 years. And the socks aren’t helping.
Unfortunately for fashion aficionados everywhere, the Steelers will don the throwbacks for not one, but two home games this year.
Today’s deep thought comes to us via Adam Schefter’s Twitter, where he wondered aloud whether the infamous Madden Curse might be stronger than ever:
Mind = Blown.
It really makes you wonder why anyone would ever want to be on the cover of Madden at this point … let alone campaign for it like Rob Gronkowski did this off-season.
Fortunately for Pats fans, Gronkowski got knocked out of this year’s voting in the quarterfinals by Calvin Johnson, who will now square off against Aaron Rodgers in the semis, prompting Packers Nation to flood the voting for Johnson to keep Rodgers away from the cover. On the other side of the bracket, favorite Cam Newton is up against surprise #11 seed Patrick Willis, who narrowly defeated Victor Cruz to advance in the quarters, much to the delight of Giants fans everywhere.
I’m not sure if this is quite what EA Sports had in mind when they opened the cover up to fan voting, but it at least makes things interesting.
CHECK OUT A LIST OF MADDEN CURSE VICTIMS AFTER THE JUMP
UPDATE: Justin Tuck tweeted that the ring design is not final yet … so this might not be the finished product.
Via back-up linebacker Clint Sintim, comes this image of the Giants Super Bowl XLVI Ring, featuring all 4 Lombardi Trophies the franchise has won:
Not too shabby. Apparently Sintim jumped the gun with his Twitter post, and an official statement from the team is expected later today.
In the words of Bart Scott , I genuinely CAN’T WAIT to hear Rex Ryan explain their thinking on this one. Let the Big Apple circus commence!!!
Before all you Jets fans out there go and purchase your new Tim Tebow jerseys, you might want to wait for the deal for the Broncos QB to actually be finalized.
It seems that the trade between the Jets and Broncos that would send Tebow (and a 7th round pick) to New York in exchange for a 4th and 6th round pick has hit a snag.
And despite the fact that the Jets announced the deal on their Twitter page (which is still up at the time of this posting), they apparently didn’t really read Tebow’s contract before agreeing to the terms. And now they’re contesting a clause that would require NY to pay back $5 million in advance salaries from his rookie contract in Denver.
If this deal doesn’t end up going through, the Jets are going to end up looking really, really stupid.