Ray Lewis Speech to the Buffalo Bills: Big Deal, or Nah?


Ray Lewis gave a pregame speech to his former coach’s team against the Patriots. Is this something to get worked up about?

The New England Patriots stayed undefeated after beating the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football this week, in an exhibition of How to Not Officiate a Pro Football Game with a few minutes of actual football mixed in.

After the game, rumors started flowing on the Twitter-machine that ESPN analyst and former Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis had visited the Bills on Sunday night and dropped one of his signature pep talks before the Bills faced the Patriots the next night.  The reports were confirmed by ESPN’s Mike Rodak and Rex Ryan a couple of days later.

As SB Nation’s Baltimore Beatdown pointed out on Wednesday, quite a few Patriots fans were not stoked to learn that the guy that was in town to analyze the game was using his spare time to hype up the visiting team.

God, those New England Patriots fans just always have to have something to complain about, amirite?  What a bunch of pathetic whining babies.  The Patriots won the game, so who cares?  So a guy who works for ESPN that used to play for Rex Ryan when they were both in Baltimore tried to hype up the team Rex Ryan is coaching and desperately wants to beat.  Big freakin’ deal.

So if that paragraph describes you, ask yourself this: if the Patriots did the same thing, what would you think?

More from New England Patriots

Let’s jump into a hypothetical alternate universe in which Bill Belichick asks one of the best players he ever coached that moved into TV analysis after their playing career to come by 1 Patriot Place and get his team pumped up before a division rival came to town for a nationally televised game.

Who could that player be?  Well, it would have to be someone with a resume like Ray Lewis, with at least a couple Super Bowl rings, a boatload of Pro Bowls, maybe an MVP award or two, and, of course, a broadcasting gig with one of the biggest sports networks in the world.  Hmmm.  Who fits the bill?

Well, how about that, there’s actually quite a few choices!

Tedy Bruschi, former Patriots linebacker, works for ESPN as an analyst. Bruschi won three Super Bowls, and was a 2004 Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro.

Willie McGinest, another Patriots linebacker, is on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” show every night.  McGinest was also a three-time Super Bowl champion and went to the Pro Bowl twice.

Rodney Harrison, the Patriots’ safety in their back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 2003 and 2004, works as an analyst for NBC’s Football Night in America.  Harrison also went to two Pro Bowls and was a four-time All-Pro.

And finally, the greatest deep-threat receiver of all time, Randy Moss, who, of course, was on the 2007 Patriots team that was within two minutes of an undefeated championship season, is an analyst for Fox Sports One.

More from Chowder and Champions

So in this alternate universe, Bill Belichick calls up Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, or Rodney Harrison to stop by the team’s facility the day before a tough divisional match-up to give the Patriots a pep talk to get them pumped up for the big game.  Heck, maybe he asks all three and they all show up and get everyone jacked out of their minds reminiscing about the Patriots’ early-2000s dynasty run of three Super Bowl championships in four years.

And then, the Patriots take the field, win the game by three points, like they did against Buffalo, and then it comes out a few hours later that Belichick brought in a guy that was in town to broadcast the game to talk to his team and get them pumped up.

What would the reaction be, if the news came out right after a close win, that a TV analyst was in their locker room 24 hours before the game, getting them hyped up?

Surely, it’d be no big deal.

Of course not.  Buffalo fans (or insert your own team’s fans here) would be absolutely livid.  “The Patriots just do whatever they want to win games!  That’s not FAIR!  Analysts are supposed to be non-biased!  Is that even LEGAL?  How can the NFL let this happen?  The Patriots get away with EVERYTHING!  This team just cheats and breaks rules and Belichick needs to be banned from the NFL!!”

Next: Greatest Moments in Patriots' History

(At least half of that, especially the last part, would totally make it into the next Gregg Doyel column in the Indy Star)

Call it an educated guess, but most fans gut reaction if New England pulled this JV-level stunt wouldn’t be “Eh, it’s all good”.

Maybe the team could just watch “Friday Night Lights” instead.