In honor of Super Bowl Media Day, here are some takes on recent football stories as well as the latest Ray controversy.
News Item: Patriots coach Bill Belichick blows off the AFC Championship post-game interview with CBS’ Steve Tasker. It goes unnoticed until the Hoodie is pointedly called out by Shannon Sharpe on the CBS post game show.
A Fan’s Take: Long version – its bull when Belicheat apologists insist that fans should expect nothing more from the notoriously taciturn Hoodie. Short version – sore loser.
Second Take: Considering that the president of CBS was watching the game from Bob Kraft’s suite (cynics call CBS the New England Patriots Football Network), we should wonder whether Shannon will still have a job with CBS next year.
News Item: Last Wednesday Ed Reed announced that he would “definitely be playing” in 2013. Since he will be a free agent after the Super Bowl he will be available to a variety of suitors besides the Ravens.
A Fan’s Take: Before we put him in a Patriots jersey, let’s remember this is the 2013 edition of Ed being Ed.
Extra Take: Ignore the speculation from the network trolls about where Ed will play next year and let’s get through the Super Bowl first. I’m hoping the Ravens will do the same thing with Ed they did with Ray Lewis 4 years ago; let him test the market and them make him an offer.
Maybe he’ll really wise up and retire after his 1st and last Super Bowl win.
News Item: With the Ravens in the Super Bowl, merely the mention of Ray Lewis inspires extreme comments in the social media. Comments on Twitter, Facebook and Pro Football Talk are either: love and admire Ray or, simply, Murderer.
A Fan’s Take: Ravens fans need to understand that the Ray haters will never go away and they will never change their minds. A good refresher for younger fans and for all of us on what happened 13 years ago can be found in this excellent article, Ten Point Stance, by a reporter who was on the ground in Atlanta – CBSSports’ Mike Freeman.
New Items: In a New York Times article, former Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said that his firing was a “brilliant move” for the Ravens.
A Fan’s Take I have to put my anti-Cam snarky comments aside for a minute and say that these were refreshing, candid, and remarkably adult comments by a man who had to know he was not well respected in the locker room and was universally vilified by the Ravens fan base.
News Item: Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te’o gets caught in a cat-fishing hoax regarding a pseudo-internet girlfriend who pseudo-died of leukemia, then spends weeks trying to spin himself out of the lies and contradictions he wove around himself.
Media types are wondering if his draft position is in danger.
A Fan’s Take: Who cares? It’s the most overblown, unimportant sports story in recent memory. The only reason this story of a naïve 22 year old has received so much play is that the media were equally duped by the hoax and they’re out for payback.
Second Take: As far as his draft status is concerned, Te’o should worry more about how Notre Dame’s pseudo-defensegot blown out of the water by RB Eddie Lacy and the Alabama Crimson Tide. His play alone in that game will cost him millions.
News Item: Baltimore Sun columnist Peter Schmuck and Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Bill Livingston engaged in a “Point – Counterpoint” discussion in Sunday’s Sun on the relative merits – or lack thereof –of Art Modell’s election to the Hall of Fame. Reading the respective articles is like reading the Democratic and Republican comments in the Congressional Record: two diametrically opposed viewpoints that have no common ground.
A Fan’s Take: Nothing has changed. Did anyone seriously think Art’s death would change the minds of those in the Mistake on the Lake, particularly media hacks who have been stoking fan hatred for 16 years? Prediction: One former Raven will be elected to the HOF on Saturday, and it won’t be Art Modell.
News Item: Because fans may get fed up with the way the game is evolving into flag football, and because the increasing size and strength of players may boost the possibility of player death on the field, Bernard Pollard told CBS Sports that he thinks pro football, as we know it, may not exist in 30 years.
A Fan’s Take: Even though many in the sports media are denouncing Pollard’s comments, they are food for thought. Bernard is the first to correctly point out that, in spite of the NFL’s emphasis on player safety, coaches and organizations still want players that are bigger, faster and hit like freight trains. Something has to give. You can’t have it both ways.
News Item: Joe Flacco is dull. Really dull! So says his Dad in another New York Times article. But response to a question regarding the viability of playing the Super Bowl in a cold climate, Joe said that was a “retarded” idea. So much for dull.
He immediately retracted the statement, called it a stupid, and later apologized citing his work with the Maryland Special Olympics, among others. The gist of his statement, though, is spot on.
A Fan’s Take: It’s a PC world. Maybe he should have said the idea is developmentally disabled.
Now this…In this week’s Sports Illustrated, an article states that Ray Lewis (sigh) was prescribed a deer-antler extract in order to speed his recovery from his triceps injury. The only problem is it contained a substance banned by the NFL. Ray denied the story and the Ravens brass, blind-sided by the story, went into full protection mode.
A Fan’s Take: Whether or not one believes he did or did not take the extract and knew it contained banned chemicals I leave to the individual. But I listened to an interview Jim Rome conducted with one of the SI authors who said this article just happened to be “slotted for publication” at this time and was not intentionally published to embarrass the Ravens or Ray Lewis.
Second Take: R-I-G-H-T………..
All that aside, at this point I am developing some serious Ray Fatigue…….
Is It Game Time Yet?
Note: Stats and other information courtesy of the Baltimore Sun, Profootballtalk.com and CBSSports.com