Ray Lewis' thunderclap hit on Jets wide receiver Dustin Keller was obviously one of the highlights of the Ravens week one victory over the Jets, but it got me thinking a little bit about whether I'd ever reach a point, as a football fan, where the violence became too much. Where instead of being a part of the appeal, it made me uncomfortable.
I was one of the people quick to stick up for Lewis last year when he was flagged, and fined, for his hit on Colts wide receiver Austin Collie in the playoffs. I think it's impossible when you're flying that fast toward the football to somehow avoid helmets coming into contact, especially when a wide receiver lowers his head (like I believe Collie did). Was there really a difference between this hit on Keller and the one on Collie? Not in anything Lewis did, as far as I can tell. (By the way, yes, I'm aware that Preston and I took different positions on this at the time, and I absolutely respect his position, I just looked at it differently. It's not a bad thing when newspaper men see things from different perspectives.) Had Keller ducked his head at the last second, it might have cracked against Lewis helmet. Instead, it was all shoulder pads. But one hit earns him a fine and the other praise.
After witnessing a slew of season-ending injuries around the league in Week 1, Sun editor Chris Korman, Sun reporter Childs Walker and I kicked around the topic of football and violence in The Toy Department, which if you're interested, you can read here.