Ray Lewis is on the top of the world right now. His son is going to go to his alma mater, he’s retiring on the absolute top of his profession and he’s set for the rest of his life and his children’s lives. But while Lewis is being praised by Ravens fans as the ultimate warrior, his coaches made sure that his flaws weren’t seen on display in the Super Bowl.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told his defensive staff that Ray Lewis wasn’t capable of properly covering Vernon Davis or Michael Crabtree and that they all had to brainstorm a strategy that prevented Lewis from being in situations where he was forced into coverage. NBC Sports Network, which is quickly emerging as a premier sports network, had cameras on Harbaugh and his staff and overheard the gang game-planning so that Lewis wasn’t covering anyone.
“We can’t let Ray be matched up on 85 or 15 all day when we’re playing quarters,” Harbaugh told his coaches.
Ray Lewis hasn’t admitted that he can’t cover Vernon Davis, but at this point there’s no reason in denying it. As for Davis, he told 49ers coaches on the sideline that if they put him one-on-one in isolation with Lewis, Davis was going to burn the future Hall of Famer all game long.
“He can’t match up,” Davis said. “I don’t care what route I got.”
He was right too, as Lewis matched up horribly against Davis in the Super Bowl. But the game was between the Ravens and 49ers, not Davis and Lewis, so lucky for Baltimore the rest of their team decided to show up. Lewis was criticized earlier this week by a former teammate who basically said Lewis mailed it in during the Super Bowl.
That could be an excuse as to why Lewis played so poorly in the Super Bowl, but it’s more likely that Lewis was simply outmatched by Davis. Shame on the 49ers for not exploiting that coverage flaw more often, as we could be praising a very different Super Bowl champion today had that been the case.