There are multiple storylines here — the Harbaugh brothers, the two young guns at quarterback, San Francisco returning to glory — but none is bigger than Lewis' retirement.
The national and international media will descend upon Lewis this morning, and there will be the usual questions about his return from injury, stopping the Pistol offense and how his pending retirement has affected the team.
- Bio | E-mail | Recent columns
- Super Bowl week in New Orleans
- Ray Lewis' first NFL sack was on 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh
- 20 percent of Ray Lewis social media comments are negative
- Ravens who will be Media Day darlings at Super Bowl
- 2013 Ravens cheerleaders [Pictures]
- Mike Preston grades the Ravens for the 2013 season
See more photos »
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 1500 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
But there also will be questions about the double homicide case in Atlanta in 2000 and the recent comedy skit about him on "Saturday Night Live."
The skit about Lewis wasn't funny — it was hilarious. The painted face was perfect, and the detached retina was a nice touch. The part about the ascension to heaven was brilliant, and the "Squirrel Dance" at the end made your eyes water.
Lewis even laughed at himself, but I'm not sure he thought it was that funny privately.
"That's the second time that he's actually imitated me. I just thought it was hilarious," Lewis said. "Somebody sent it to me actually last night. When I saw it, I laughed so hard. I was in tears actually last night laughing about it. It's good to be able to joke about certain things. What I do is very serious, but for them to put it in a skit the way they did and for him to play it like he did is awesome."
But once your stomach stopped aching from laughter, it became sad because it showed what the rest of the country thinks about Baltimore's No. 1 sports hero.
Lewis' handlers or the Ravens public relations staff needs to get Lewis to tone down the theatrics a little. He also should answer questions about what happened in Atlanta.
This is really nothing new.
Outside Baltimore, there is still scorn for Lewis because many believe he got off easy after pleading guilty to obstruction charges in Atlanta.
I have no problem with the outcome of the trial. Lewis went through the judicial process, was charged and was sentenced.
I was also glad to see the Ravens pay Lewis a great tribute during his final home game against the Indianapolis Colts. He deserved to have a day and one more dance. The victory lap was a little extreme, but if Cal Ripken Jr. deserved a victory lap, so did Lewis.
But this crying, praying, quoting Scripture and dropping to his knees during the past two games has gone too far.
I believe Lewis is serious about his show of emotion. I will never question his commitment to Christianity or his love for God.
But I've watched Lewis for 17 years, and while he is the ultimate team guy, he is also the ultimate "I" guy. He loves his fellow players, but Ray Lewis loves him some Ray Lewis, which is why he talks about himself in the third person.
He likes the theater and loves to be a showman, but when is enough, enough?
Even within the past week, more Baltimore fans are being turned off by his behavior as the network cameras zoom in. Microphones and recorders collect his every word even though we're not sure what he is talking about at times.