I was just re-watching The Dark Knight Rises the other day and came up with an interesting theory. The hulking and insanely strong character of Bane reminded me of football legend Ray Lewis: the Hall of Fame-bound, supremely talented middle linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens.
They both have the same traits and characteristics, that is, minus the sociopathic behavior and villainous motives. Not to mention the fact that both Bane and Lewis wear protective helmets to keep them from being harmed. In addition, they both see so-called hero (in Bane’s case it’s Batman and in Lewis’ it’s All-American quarterbacks like New England’s Tom Brady) not as a savior of the people, but as the enemy…
…an enemy they want to place in a full-body cast while they stand over their twitching carcass shouting words of disdain and triumph.
…an enemy they want to put on display, in front of their adoring public, for what they really are – nothing but an average man in a funny colored costume.
Most of all, going up against either of them in “battle” is an experience that would cure the worst case of constipation – guaranteed.
However, not even a super villain from the gridiron lasts forever.
Ray Lewis is retiring from the NFL at age 37.
Apparently, as soon as this season with the playoff-bound Baltimore Ravens is over (Super Bowl or Bust!) and, according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com, Lewis will allegedly take a job as a football analyst for ESPN.
In a league where the average career lasts, roughly, around the same amount of time that a plug-in air freshener does, Lewis’ career lasted an astounding 17 seasons – and every single one of those years was spent with the Baltimore Ravens organization, the team that drafted him with pick number 26 out of the University of Miami back in the 1996 NFL Draft.
In 12 of those 17 seasons, Lewis went to the Pro Bowl and also was named as a First-Team All-Pro seven times and twice was honored as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He also was an integral part of the 2000 Ravens team that sideswiped the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV by a score of 34-7. Did I say integral part? I meant to say that he was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV.
His career was not without controversy, however, and at one point it looked as if Lewis did have a little streak of alleged villainy inside of him, when an incident outside of a nightclub in host city Atlanta during the week of Baltimore’s aforementioned Super Bowl XXXV win almost cost him his career, his reputation, and even his freedom.
Lewis was apparently in the immediate vicinity, although not directly involved, when two nightclub patrons were alleged stabbed and murdered by members of his entourage. Lewis was, at one point, indicted of the two murder charges himself, but all criminal charges against him were dropped in exchange for testimony against the suspects that were eventually charged with the murders – who, by the way, were acquitted of all charges.
Although Lewis was never officially charged with any crime, he was fined by then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue $250,000 for conduct detrimental to the league – which at the time was a league record.
Lewis eventually did manage to gain back his reputation – experiencing an awakening in both a personal and spiritual sense – thus becoming one of the NFL’s all-around good guys off the field by donating money and providing charity work for various, worthwhile causes.
On the field, however, Lewis never lost that ferocious, bad guy edge that kept him sharp and arguably made him one of the greatest defensive players to ever lace up a pair of cleats.
See, linebackers are stereotyped as the NFL’s version of bad guys in the mold of Bane, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad guys off the field.
If you really think about it, Lewis is more Batman than Bane – a charming, wealthy man who gives back by day, but, when the situation calls for it, he transforms into a cunning, calculated and dangerous opponent against all that stand in the way of truth, justice, and that cylindrically-shaped, brown, leather object (some say made from the skin of a pig) that is worshipped by hundred of millions of rabid Ravens fans during a specific section of the calendar year.
However, instead of a cape, Ray Lewis has been witnessed sporting the number 52 on his back.