ESPN had a great idea. They took a poll of writers and used only current players as examples. They wanted to know who, if anybody, the writers felt could play in any era. As we all know, football has gotten faster, but it used to be more brutal. So, who could hack it in any era? Lots of guys. However, Ray Lewis was the top vote-getter. Uh, duh!
I could’ve predicted that and you could have too. Think about it. Ray Lewis has lasted 16 years. He’s the meanest and nastiest player in football without being particularly dirty. So, he’s got the grit of a Butkus, but he’s fast enough to keep up with the skill position players of today. Does this make him extra special? Aren’t there other guys who could’ve played in any era? YEAH.
Mike Singletary would have been a good choice. John Elway for sure. Walter Payton. You get the idea. But Ray Lewis stands out because he plays right now, and that’s what makes him unique. He is so far beyond everybody else at his position right now that it’s hard to say anything bad about him. Forget any personal failings he may have. On the football field, he’s a monster. He’s, for sure, a first ballot hall of famer. Somebody won’t make it the year he is eligible because he has to go in.
Imagine him playing alongside Butkus–you can imagine it, can’t you? It all makes sense, and that is why the Ravens defense has been so good for so long. They have passed from what I would call the “west coast” era into a SUPER pass-happy era where every offense has five million weapons on it, and yet they shine.
Ray Lewis deserves a ton of credit for that, and I hope he stays in the game and coaches in a new era so we can keep him on that list permanently.