In the course of a seven day period, starting tomorrow, two old college teammates will sally forth in two different venues, separated a few hundred miles, give or take a few dozen, but bonded by the simple fact that they are linked in history by their lone college championship, nearly 20 years ago.
As we all know, Ray Lewis is retiring, win or lose, after next week's Super Bowl, having played his entire career for the Baltimore Ravens. There are those unenlightened souls, such as a wire service article that found its way into Friday's Record, who think that Lewis, just because he was acquitted on murder charges more than a decade ago, shouldn't be celebrated as a hero. Anna Welker, the wife of New England's Wes Welker, sounded the alarm with an ill-advised tweet after last Sunday's AFC title game, but what she and others prefer to forget is that Lewis eventually has made his peace. I read an article on Yahoo! where Lewis has become the Ravens' spiritual leader----literally, making good use of the Bible to motivate his team. Proof positive that you don't need Tim Tebow to find a good Christian athlete at the Super Bowl.
Lewis has one ring already, won 12 years ago when Baltimore beat the Giants. Now, he wants to go out a winner, just as the Giants' Michael Strahan did 5 years ago, and Denver's John Elway a few years prior to that. Destiny, then, is on Lewis' side. Sports Illustrated certainly thinks so, as Peter King, also a contributor to NBC's Football Night In America, picked the Ravens to beat Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers. Trust me, Lewis will have plenty of motivation if a certain VIP joins him on the sidelines in 8 days time..........
The last time Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was WWE champion was prior to Summerslam in 2002, when he dropped the title to Brock Lesnar. A zillion movies later, Johnson has returned to his former vocation for one more shot at the gold. Standing in his way tomorrow night in Phoenix is CM Punk, whose 14 month reign as champion is in serious jeopardy. In storyline, Punk, who turned heel by attacking Rock on Monday Night Raw six months ago, has been dogged by the fact that he couldn't beat the organizational flavor of the month, Ryback, cleanly, in two tries, getting illegal help from a trio of self-appointed vigilantes known as The Shield. WWE Chairman-CEO Vince McMahon warned Punk that if the Shield, who attacked Rock on Monday, did it again, it would cost Punk the championship. On Friday Night Smackdown, Punk took it upon himself to call out the thugs, and tell them straight up that he never wanted their help in the first place, considering that it's cost him credibility points, and doesn't want them getting involved when it really means the most to him.
That to me means the Shield could turn on Punk and lay him out, leaving it up to Rock to finish off a surreal night. Some fans think the WWE wants a sequel to last year's Wrestlemania, with Rock---and not Punk---defending vs. John Cena, who has lost his last two Mania matches. I honestly think that Rock could put Punk over cleanly, but let's also remember that McMahon is about as sharp as a dull razor these days from a creative standpoint, and will overbook the match needlessly. He doesn't realize that such follies are what has dragged the ratings down the last six months.
The way I see it, Johnson will be on the Ravens' sideline in New Orleans next Sunday, championship in hand, cheering on Lewis and the Ravens, wanting to be there for his friend and former teammate. And, then, sometime before 10 (ET), they'll walk off into the sunset together. And if I'm right about the People's Movie Star, Lewis will be at the Meadowlands on April 7, to return the favor. It just seems right.
Of course, I could be wrong........