So, it’s the Superbowl this weekend and that means A LOT of talk about football (and chicken wings, which, apparently, Americans will consume over 1 billion of during the game. Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day of food consumption in the United States after Thanksgiving).
This is not football as we know it, of course, UK chums, but American football, which has little really to do with either feet or balls (fnar, fnar), but more to do with shoulder pads and helmets…..
I am trying to take an interest in this Superbowl affair. This is what I know so far.
The Baltimore Ravens are playing and they are the local team. This is BIG NEWS.
“The team originated in 1996 when then-owner of the Cleveland Browns, Art Modell, relocated the franchise to Baltimore. The franchise was renamed and legally treated as a new entity (or expansion team) upon moving to Baltimore. The team’s name was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe‘s poem The Raven, as Poe lived for a time in Baltimore, died there in 1849, and is buried there.”
I have hugged Poe. Amazing! This is, apparently, a great thing to happen. Fact is, he chased me round the school summer BBQ for about ten minutes until I gave in and hugged him. Lord knows who was in side – some sweaty old perv no doubt
“The Ravens have experienced great success in their brief history, making the playoffs nine times since 2000, with one Super Bowl victory (Super Bowl XXXV following the 2000 season), four AFC North division titles (2003, 2006, 2011 and 2012) and two AFC Championship titles (2000 and 2012). The Ravens are owned by Steve Bisciotti and valued at $1.09 billion, making the team the 18th-most valuable sports franchise in the world.“
Everyone wears purple (the team colour) to show support, as you would expect. School has asked that Harry wears purple on Friday, but the only thing that he has that has purple in is a lovely checked shirt from John Lewis, which is now a tad on the small side. But he shall wear it and, despite me telling him why he is wearing it, he won’t be in the least bit interested.
The best bit, though, is not the football, or the game (which I mentioned before actually stops for the commercials to run on TV) or who wins (sorry Baltimore), but the story of Ray Lewis, a rather handsome defensive player for the Ravens.
Drafted by the Ravens in 1996, he has played his entire career for the team, and is the last player remaining from the Ravens’ inaugural season. He has been selected to 13 Pro Bowls and been named an Associated Press All-Pro 10 times. He won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003, the sixth player to win the award multiple times. He was the second linebacker to win the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award and the first to win the award on the winning Super Bowl team.
Lewis gained notoriety for his involvement in a January 2000 fight that resulted in an indictment on murder and aggravated-assault charges. In a plea agreement he pled guilty to obstruction of justice in exchange for testimony against two other defendants.
After a triceps tear that sidelined him for most of the 2012 season, Lewis announced that he will retire at the end of the 2012–13 NFL playoffs.”
MURDER INDICTMENT? This is a made-for-TV movie, for sure!
Here is said murder indictment in all its Wikipedia glory:
“Following a Super Bowl XXXIV party in Atlanta on January 31, 2000, a fight broke out between Lewis and his companions and another group of people, resulting in the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Lewis and two companions, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were questioned by Atlanta police, and 11 days later the three men were indicted on murder and aggravated-assault charges. The fight occurred about 200 yards from the Cobalt Lounge at 265 East Paces Ferry Road in the Buckhead Village neighborhood about two miles north of downtown Atlanta where Lewis had been celebrating. The white suit Lewis was wearing the night of the killings has never been found. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard alleged the blood-stained suit was dumped in a garbage bin outside a fast food restaurant. A knife found at the scene did not have any fingerprints or DNA. Lewis subsequently testified that Oakley and Sweeting had bought knives earlier in Super Bowl week from a Sports Authority where Lewis had been signing autographs. Baker’s blood was found inside of Lewis’s limousine.
Lewis’ attorneys, Don Samuel and Ed Garland, of the Atlanta law firm Garland, Samuel & Loeb, negotiated a plea agreement with Howard, where the murder charges against Lewis were dismissed in exchange for his testimony against Oakley and Sweeting, and his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice. Lewis admitted he gave a misleading statement to police on the morning after the killings. Superior Court Judge Alice D. Bonner sentenced Lewis to 12 months’ probation, the maximum sentence for a first-time offender, and he was fined $250,000 by the NFL, which was believed to be the highest fine levied against an NFL player for an infraction not involving substance abuse. Under the terms of the sentence, Lewis could not use drugs or alcohol during the duration of the probation.
On April 29, 2004, Lewis reached a settlement with four-year-old India Lollar, born months after the death of her father Richard, pre-empting a scheduled civil proceeding. Lewis also reached an undisclosed settlement with Baker’s family.“
Well, blow me down – that puts Wayne Rooney’s encounter with a 52 year old hooker in the shade, doesn’t it.
Fascinating. Apparently, according to my American buddy, you either love Ray Lewis or you hate him.
The question is – did he do it….?
Anyway, once upon a time in my youth I was rather intrigued by American football and wrote a 100 page story about the Miami Dolphins and a cheerleader, all illustrated by an 8-year old me. Perhaps my interest in American football will be renewed this weekend. Or perhaps I have a unfulfilled dream to be a cheerleader.
Not for the Ravens, though. I just don’t look good in purple….