Is Ray Lewis turning the NFL into the WWE?

By Eric D.Graham BASN Columnist
Updated: August 31, 2011

Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis

NORTH CAROLINA, (BASN)—He is one of the primary faces in the NFL.

A future Hall of Famer.

A legend in the league. A true professional.

Matter of fact, he lives and breathes football.

And when he speaks about the game, you feel his passion.

You can see the intensity in his eyes.

His muscle-bound body and broad shoulders are built for football.

His lungs breathe fire.

And his heart beats pure Adrenaline.

By now, you should know who I am talking about.

His name is Ray Lewis.

He plays linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens.

And he is pound-for-pound, the best linebacker in the league.

For this reason, he is known by many names such as Sergeant Slaughter, the Secretary of Defense. the Pastor of Pain, the Punisher and the Raytorious L52.

And after 15 years in the league, 1,900 career tackles, 38.5 sacks, 12 Pro Bowls, a Super Bowl MVP, and two Defensive Player of the Year Awards, he is still bringing the thunder in the middle of the field.

As a result, when he steps on the field, you feel his enthusiasm.

Why? Because his energy is contagious.

And his hits are legendary.

But now, some fans are getting frustrated with his pre-game ritual.

During Super Bowl XXV, if you can recall, then Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens even had the audacity to mock Lewis’ pre-game lindy-hop.

But the question remains, is Lewis’ shaking, shimmering, shouting, and prancing destroying the integrity and dignity of the NFL?

Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis

Former Washington Redskin running back John Riggins thinks so.

And recently, on his radio show, Riggins expressed his disgust with Lewis’ pre-game gyrating that was performed during the Pre-season Beltway Battle between the Ravens and the Redskins.

“You have to be a Ravens fan I know that…and I’m not a Ravens’ fan…” Riggins confessed.

“There are things you see, and once you see it and then you see it again. I don’t know, maybe Elvis had that kind of show. You just had to keep coming back…He had those kind of fans. But I think, Big Ray, the introduction, I am going to use the term…has jumped the shark.” he said.

“I gotta tell you … the NFL has lost its dignity. Let’s face it, that’s the bottom-line.”

Even though Riggins was speaking in a jokingly fashion, there was a sense of seriousness in his voice as he continued to discuss Lewis’s pre-game ritual.

“It’s fine..It’s entertainment. WWE. Vince McMahon. If that’s your thing, no problem.” Riggins said with distain in his voice.

“But to me, the difference is … professional wrestling, even though, they’re great athletes, and they choreograph everything, they work out, it’s hokey. Right?”

“Why do you want to mimic that? Why do you want to emulate something that’s hokey?”

For years, the NFL has been considered the No Fun League and it seemed as if Riggins was confirming that label with his “grumpy old” commentary.

Unfortunately for Riggins, he must have forgotten about the “Fun Bunch” end zone celebration performed by the Redskins in the past.

Despite that fact, was Riggins’ commentary correct, that Ray Lewis’ pre-game ritual with all the smoke, lights, and explosions was starting to look too much like the WWE instead of the NFL?

“To me you are starting to border on some weird stuff here. You are sending out some mixed messages.” Riggins admitted.

“When you really start talking about the integrity of the game… Boy, I am telling you. With stuff like that, you look at. And say, you gotta be kidding me.”

Even though Riggins was being overly critical of Lewis, let’s remember he is not a Ravens fan.

“If you are going to do it, commit to it. But right now, it is the same old crap….” Riggins laughed.

“Come on Ray, use a little originality. If you please…. You gotta change it. You are a one hit wonder, come on. You gotta come up with something new.” he added.

“Couldn’t he parachute in the game or something? Take it to a new level, please.”

Even though Riggins may have been joking half-heartedly when he suggested that Lewis pre-game ritual was destroying the dignity and integrity of the NFL as well as destroying the sacredness of the game, his ill-advised remarks may cause somebody’s ribs to be broken during the regular season.

And instead of calling Lewis “a one hit wonder” as Riggins implied, some poor, innocence player is going to “wonder what hit him when Ray-ray releases his frustration on the field.

Besides, there is nothing fake about Ray Lewis when he plays the game of football.

And I don’t think, you want to make Lewis angry.

But I think, Riggins just did.