Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/25/13
I consider myself a sophisticated enough fan to usually not let anything the media says influence my view of my teams or the game. This time it's different, This rubbed me the wrong way. I'd like to think I also watch the game with the intelligence of having played at a high level. Because of this, I consider myself an educated NFL fan.Some of the legends who have played this game are better riding off into the sunset and not tarnishing their legacy by saying things that are ridiculous--Ray Lewis-I'm talking about you. Discussing last night's  Broncos-Raiders game on Tuesday morning's ESPN Mike and Mike radio show, Ray Lewis said essentially that the game was not fair because the defense was handcuffed and that Terrelle Prior wasn't as equipped to make plays as Peyton Manning.He mentioned that Peyton Manning’s ability to change plays and alter the offense was "unfair" to other teams. Really?! That's why we play the game--Tom Brady brings the same element-- opposing defenses hardly fool either of them. This isn't little league ball where everyone gets a chance to play and then eats orange slices at halftime. These players are paid very well to win football games. Period. If you think something is unfair, then it is your job as a player to listen to your coaches and prepare for the game as best as you can. If the guy across the line of scrimmage works harder in his preparation than you do--that is your problem--not his. Manning is one of the hardest workers in the league--his time spent studying game films during the week, looking for an edge is legendary. All the elite QBs have done this to some degree. Lewis makes the comment that in the NFL, defenses have been regulated to the point of being irrelevant.Let me digress for a moment--as a football purest, I believe in a 4-3 defense with huge defensive tackles that stuff the middle and funnel everything to the outside players for contain, giving linebackers a huge opportunity to make plays. I don't really care for the 3-4 or Tampa 2 or all the hybrid defenses that are out there. I understand the need for them, and how they work. I just don't like them. That being said, let me return to Ray Lewis.  Of course defense has been hamstrung in the league. The only time fans care about good defense is if it is their team, or if a hit makes a highlight reel. How many fans like to see 9-6 games or 3-0 defensive struggles? If fans are honest the answer is none. The old phrase in baseball was "chicks dig the long ball" in football it's  "chicks dig the vertical passing game and long breaking runs." It's an offensive league, think back to NFL history, can many people besides the most extreme die hard fans name more than Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley on the Joe Montana era 49ers defenses?But all of us know Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Dwight Clark, and Roger Craig. Ray Lewis needs to shut up and realize that he is no longer playing. Ray, I agree that great defense is an essential part of the game, but people buy tickets to watch touchdowns. Ray you were a hall of fame linebacker and we all recognize how important your contributions were to the Ravens and to the game itself, but take it slow at ESPN and listen and learn from your colleagues before you open your mouth again. Please, for us the viewing public, the educated fan, please don't embarrass yourself. Some of us are actually rooting for you to make this transition and offer relevant opinions from a defensive perspective. 
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