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When I was asked by one of the editors to write a predictive article about this year’s Superbowl, two things occurred to me at once; first, that I thought the Niners should be considered favorites, and two, that I’d rather predict a Ravens victory.
You see, I’ve bet against the Ravens twice already this post-season.
First I thought it was highly unlikely that the Ravens would beat the Peyton Manning lead Broncos, whose late season pace was unrivaled. The Broncos entered the playoffs pegged by many to have a good chance at winning it all.
Nope, Manning’s comeback tale was sullied by late game heroics by Joe Flacco and company.
Then, in the AFC Championship, I thought it was unlikely to the point of impossibility that the Ravens beat the Patriots at home in a championship game. Moreover, when the Patriots went into the half with the lead, small though it was, I thought the game might have been over. Tom Brady was 65-0 when entering the second half with the lead at Foxborough. It was almost a statistical impossibility. Yet, once again the Ravens defied the odds with a dominant performance in the second half.
Einstein once defined insanity as the tendency to repeat an action while expecting a different result (although there was a touch of irony about a scientist saying so), and therefore I can’t bet against the Ravens again, if not simply to save what semblance of sanity I still have.
Enter the lunacy of a sports writer.
I am going to evoke that old, often fool hardy title, mentioned by many sports writers in the past: I think the Ravens may be The Team of Destiny.
It is too hard to ignore the beautiful symmetry of the occasion. Ray Lewis might win a Super Bowl early in his career, and once more capture the goal that has eluded him for a decade, in his final season. What’s more, it will again be following controversy during Super Bowl week. Last time it was Lewis’s implication in a murder trial, this time it’s an allegation of his using a banned substance (deer antler juice? Wtf?)
How enduring would the image be? I’m talking of course about Lewis, drenched in sweat, sobbing into the Vince Lombardi Trophy: the coronation of one of football’s great false kings.
Oh, stop it with your half-hearted indignation. Your need to love and absolve Ray Lewis has kept you from reading about his many alleged sexual indiscretions and possible stabbing? Ray Lewis is interesting, aside from being (probably) the best linebacker of all time, purely because we don’t know for sure if he’s the best human in football or one of the worst. He’s either a reformed family man of tremendous caring, or he’s a total phony.
But really, who cares? We’ll probably never know for sure. All we’ll know is that he was an incredibly resilient, dominant force in football for a generation, and that if he bookends his career with another ring, we will surely refer to him as the greatest linebacker ever, all bracket disclaimers aside.
It’s not really a prediction; it’s a confused, troubled wish, seemingly as confusing and troubled as the player who inspired it.
Ravens win 28-24.
by Jesse B