Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ray Lewis Syndrome

During his first 6-7 years in the league, Ray Lewis was quite simply phenomenal. Able to stack-and-shed linemen, light up ball carriers, and fly all over the field in coverage, the guy was as beastly as it gets. Then Ray began experiencing something really unfortunate: the second half of his career. He lost a step or four in coverage and started getting abused on occasion by offensive linemen. Which is fine except for one problem: His already annoying self-promotion grew at an even faster rate than his play declined. In 2003 they should have created a stat called the ray lewis, which is awarded to a player when he gets pancaked by an opposing player and/or jumps into a 15-player pile up, gets up from the fracas, and starts yelling "not in my house" to the player(s) that just kicked his ass. I remember a 2006 interview in which he compared himself to Michael Jordan and demanded that the Ravens find him his Scottie Pippen. And lets not forget this past offseason, in which, despite his supposedly intense love of and respect for the city of Baltimore, he declared that he wouldn't accept anything lower than a max-contract because he didn't want to accept that he's only 65% of his old self.

You might expect the media to see through Ray's shennanigans and accept his decline, but a funny thing has happened: everyone who covers the league seems to aid Ray in his self-aggrandizement. Every analyst on both NFL network and ESPN will always gush about his supposed intensity, ferocity, leadership, passion, textbook fundamentals, physicality, blah blah blah. It seems like every other week that we hear him give some interview in which prepares a speech with inane content and makes it sound eloquent (followed by the interviewer acting like a high school girl in the presence of Orlando Bloom). For years if we wanted to watch the Ravens play on Sunday Night Football we had to be willing to sit through Paul Magwire's endless Ray Lewis Eulogies in which he basically told the world that Ray Lewis gives him nightmares and makes him piss his pants (of course, listening to Paul Magwire always has been, is, and will be the most traumatic, tortorous, and horrifyingly awful experience in sports broadcasting, so this really shouldn't be all that surprising). Last year the absurdity reached its apex, when the Ravens chose to use their cap space to re-sign Lewis instead of the younger, more productive Bart Scott (and it sounds like the Cowboys had a similar offer lined up).

Ladies and Gentlemen, using my vast (read: nonexistent) medical knowledge that I have accumulated from watching lots of Scrubs (and a little bit of House), I present: Ray Lewis Syndrome. The symptoms: A player constantly pumps himself up; the sports media follows suit, leading to the player becoming wildly overrated. It's not enough to simply be overrated, like Steve Nash or Tim Tebow; the athlete must go out of his way to inflate his image and distort his value. With that, here is the list of athletes whom I have diagnosed as suffering from this dangerous condition...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

10 NFL Myths (and maybe a few predictions)

With the NFL Season about to kick off, you're going to start hearing "experts" give their cliche, unoriginal "analysis". All these season previews are getting more and more predictable: Constantly overhype the same teams every year, and don't forget to predict the Super Bowl Champions to suddenly regress to mediocrity. Never fear, because here at All Things Sports we are give you candid and refreshing (at the very least, different) insight. In general, my number one rule is to always go against the pulic sentiment. 90% of the public is cluless. With that, here are some myths that need to be shattered: