Everybody loves a feel good story. People in the media pounce on it like a pack of hyenas on a dead antelope. Doing everything they can to get every piece for themselves until there's nothing but skin and bone.
In regards to Ray Lewis, who announced that he would retire after the Baltimore Ravens season ended, it started off small. For Lewis, he knew he had one more home game to do his dance, and walk off the field at M&T Bank Stadium a winner. He did, and it was fine. Ray got his moment in the spotlight.
The following week in Denver took it to a higher level. After the Ravens took down Manning and the Broncos, Lewis began preaching emotionally on CBS like he was on early Sunday morning television. For some of us, we began to tire of Ray's preaching. His love for the camera is without a doubt obvious to everyone.
The cameras at CBS had us cringing as an emotional Lewis, who knew he was on camera, was making faces that many of us make 30 minutes after we take laxatives. The play of Joe Flacco was then overshadowed by a preaching Ray Lewis after the Ravens clinched the AFC title.
From the moment Lewis announced he was hanging it up before the playoffs, the story has become a monster of the media's own creation and it will live for another week or two in the event the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII. It's gone too far and we have to deal with it.
Ray Lewis has had a hall of fame career. A place in Canton is waiting for him. Lewis is a man who over a decade ago was involved in a double homicide, was able to fix his image in a league where second chances are a dime a dozen, found God, and has made that obvious over the past month, whether we want to hear it or not.
Ray Lewis is an athlete that loves the camera, will find the camera, and do his act.
Oh, Ray will hang it up after the season? What about his teammate Ed Reed? This might be his last ride. What about 49ers receiver Randy Moss, who believes he is the best receiver of all time. That of course is Randy being Randy. You should know that by now. This is a man who pretend to moon the Green Bay crowd. So Lewis isn't the only old buck out there taking his last ride.
Sports Illustrated came out with the story about Lewis using deer antler extract spray, a banned substance under the substance abuse policy. Of course, despite the check Lewis made out to S.W.A.T. and the phone call he made back in October to the company, Lewis denies it and calls it a "trick of the devil." So I guess if Ray says he didn't do it, I guess we should forget about it and take him for his word, right?
If you are taking Lewis at his word, I suggest you do a search on Lance Armstrong.
In the defense of a Ray Lewis supporter, they might say that the focus on one player in the Super Bowl is common. Jerome Bettis in Super Bowl XL and John Elway in Super Bowl XXXIII are two great examples. However, there are some differences between these players and Lewis.
Bettis and Elway were a lot more humble and modest than Lewis has been. Neither ever went searching for the camera, preached live on the camera, and were never surrounded by past and current incidents off the field. We also weren't hoping the stories would stop and both players would go away.
Love him or hate him, Ray Lewis is one of the best linebackers the game has ever seen. You can't deny him that. But it has reached a point where we are tired of the preaching, the desire for attention by Lewis, and the weekly postgame sobbing.
ESPN is going to hire Lewis as an analyst after he retires. That will be interesting to see.
Save the tears for Canton, Ray. Although we'll still see them if the Ravens win on Sunday.
The Los Angeles Kings Twitter account @LAKings has been one of the more interesting and entertaining NHL accounts to follow over the past year. The Kings won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history back in June.
In an age where commercialism and sponsorship are all around us. It's safe to say we haven't seen it slide its way into social media, specifically Twitter accounts. Well, the Kings have one.
The more clever of NHL accounts is now "Presented by McDonalds." The company has become the official sponsor of the modified 2012-2013 season for the team.
Oh, the golden arches. The same arches that are known by people all over the world have been able to find their way onto the lower right side of the Kings avatar.
Will this be a new trend down the road in social media? Will the Flyers be presented by Xifnity? Will Anheuser-Busch slap their name on a mid-western team's account?
But hey, it's still better than putting advertisements all over the jerseys, right?
Steelers Nation, your hearts must have sank when Joe Flacco connected on a 70 yard pass to Jacoby Jones to tie the game with less than a minute left. You couldn't believe it when Peyton Manning threw an interception to set Justin Tucker up for the game-winning field goal in double overtime, and you were grabbing for the remote when Ray Lewis started preaching on national television.
Add on the New England victory over Houston and you have an AFC championship game that we saw last year, and did not want to see again.
Welcome to your worst nightmare come to life Steelers fans. The Ravens and Patriots, Pittsburgh's most two hated rivals in the past decade, are playing for the right to go to New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII. It's an old debate of selecting the lesser of two evils. It's a lose-lose situation in Pittsburgh.
Cheer an NFC team? Hold on a second! If you're gonna pick a team, there is only one Steelers fans should be supporting. The Atlanta Falcons.
Of all four teams left, the Falcons are not expected to win the NFC title game or the Super Bowl if they make it. They almost blew a 20 point fourth quarter lead to the Seattle Seahawks. There are several reasons why Pittsburgh fans should jump on the Falcons bandwagon.
First of all, it's New England and Baltimore! The Patriots kept the Steelers out of Super Bowl's XXXVI and XXXIV. Don't forget "spygate" too. Then there's Bill Belichick. The man you would love to have on your sideline, but you hate him and his dumb hooded sweatshirt on the opposite side of the field.
The Baltimore Ravens; well you know the story. Fans of the Steelers hate Joe Flacco. He calls himself one of the best quarterback's in the game, and that uni-brow! All together now, "RAY LEWIS KILLED A GUY!" The best defense against the future hall of famer Steelers Nation has.
The San Francisco 49ers. Why would yinzers have a problem with them? Count the rings the Steelers have, and then count the 49ers championships. If San Francisco wins Super Bowl XLVII, they tie the Steelers for most Super Bowls. That bragging right gets thrown out quicker than a Christmas tree on January 2nd.
And last but not least. The Harbaugh brothers! Can you imagine how annoying the media coverage will be if Baltimore plays San Francisco in the Super Bowl? They are both annoying and the fact that they are related is even worse. Steelers fans already despise Jon Harbaugh, the man known for the premature Gatorade bath in 2011 when they beat the Steelers in a regular season game. That's cute.
So, the Falcons don't look like a bad option, huh? Defend the bragging rights of the rings, and no Harbaugh brothers.
There's nothing like a large number of head coaching vacancies in the NFL to put college football fans on edge. Over the past two weeks, a total of eight head coaches were given their walking papers. Some vacancies have been filled, but many teams are still interviewing candidates. Two candidates with the same last name have created a buzz.
Brian and Chip Kelly (no relation) both had their respected interviews with the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns. Everyone knew Chip was gonna dip his toes in to test the pro level waters, but didn't jump in. For the Notre Dame head coach, who finished his third year with the Irish with a blowout lose to Alabama, made it clear the Saturday before the title game that he was not interested in any of the job openings.
Less than 48 hours after the BCS National Championship game, Brian Kelly met the Philadelphia Eagles for an interview, and when Kelly was reached for a comment, he was already out of the country before any reporters could get a soundbite. That left the media and Golden Domers across the country speculating if he would take the job or stay in South Bend. Three days later, Irish fans were relieved to hear that Kelly was staying, and was in the process of re-negotiating his contract.
Now, many out there probably felt like Kelly was using this to gain leverage over the university. LSU extended Les Miles' contract after he explored interest from other colleges (Michigan, Arkansas). The more the cash flows, the coaches will go, and the S.E.C. has two of the four highest paid coaches in the game.
For those more skeptic of Kelly's interview with the Eagles, many could understand why he might jump to the NFL level. Kelly has climbed the coaching ladder throughout his career, and has seen success at every job at the FBS level.
Three years at Central Michigan, three years at Cincinnati and now just wrapping up a successful year number three with Notre Dame. Coaching in threes is he? Yes, that stat could make any Irish fan paranoid.
His strategy of going back on his word and taking a quick interest in the Eagles coaching job, and then leaving all of us to speculate for 72 hours paid off. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick and the university blinked first. Kelly will get a nice extension and hopefully his assistants get one as well.
The university lasted three days before agreeing to extend Kelly's contract. If we take a step back in time to the year 2005, when the Irish gave then-head coach Charlie Weis a ten year, $40 million dollar extension after his first seven games at the helm. Well, we now know the honeymoon did not last long between Charlie and his alma mater. After the 2009 season, Weis was let go, and the Irish are still paying him, while he coaches Kansas to a Big XII worst 1-11 and going winless in the conference. A bad experience with Weis could've held Swarbrick back from budging with Kelly. At least he wasn't quick to give him an extension after starting 4-3 in 2010.
One day, Brian Kelly might venture into the National Football League. It may not happen until he overstays his welcome in South Bend or he leaves when he feels like he's accomplished all that he can with the Irish, and there is a lot let to accomplish in South Bend.
Another championship has been played in the United States. BCS National Championship shirts are on racks across the country to celebrate Alabama's third national title in four years.
The Notre Dame ones will make their way to third world countries as an effort to provide clothing for people.
It's hard to figure out how long this has been happening, but think over the last 25 years in sports. They must have an completely different view of American sports.
Here are a few....
* The Buffalo Bills are one of the best teams in the National Football League, and were the team of the 1990's.
* The Ohio State Buckeyes had some good teams in the 2000's (they've never heard of Alabama!).
* The Detroit Tigers are the pride of the Motor City.
* A lot of teams from Canada have won the Stanley Cup in the last 20 years.
* Butler won back-to-back NCAA basketball championships.
* The Utah Jazz and New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets are two of the best teams in the NBA since the mid 90s. The Lakers are still considered good (they win as many titles as they lose).
* The Texas Rangers are becoming a dynasty in Major League Baseball.
If you can think of any more, feel free to comment.
Well, we're down to one more game (unless you consider the GoDaddy.com Bowl a big one) left in the college football season. The grandaddy of them all, the big show, the drawn out BCS National Championship game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama down in South Beach.
Like any game, most of us will choose a side. For most, it's a choice between who is the lesser of two evils.
The Fighting Irish and the Crimson Tide are hated in different ways. Notre Dame is viewed as an arrogant program that has been living in the days of Rockne and Holtz for over two decades. Alabama is the superpower everybody has tried to take down. The natural hate for Notre Dame is heard a little louder (NBC contract, seat at the BCS table), and the dislike of Nick Saban and him being a poster child for the Southeastern Conference's supremacy for almost a decade puts a larger target on the backs of the Crimson Tide.
So with no horse in the race, and if you are not putting any money on the game and watching casually on Monday night, which team do you take?
Do you want to see the SEC lose another BCS bowl game when it's all said and done, showing the college football world that the conference isn't invincible, or does your hate for Notre Dame tune out any hard feelings towards Alabama?
Who are you taking to win the National Championship and why?