Lets pretend for a moment that every player in the NFL is put into one draft pool, and 30 franchises draft for one season beginning tomorrow.
If I'm on the clock with the first selection, there are only two players I consider.
And, to be honest, I think I would take Ray Lewis over Peyton Manning by a sliver.
While I know most people reading this are already beginning to throw statistics galore at me as to why Manning, Adrian Peterson, or even Drew Brees is the best player in the NFL, I could care less about a number. Ray Lewis understands how to win.
I got chills listening to him praise God after the Raven's gutsy win over the top-seeded Tennessee Titans this past Saturday. "When men come together for one cause, it's amazing what He will take you through." (interview here.)
The more I play sports, and the more I watch sports, one thing is becoming more and more evident to me everyday: If a team can come together and play as one unit, they will almost always win. Ray Lewis gets this, and he is the best in the NFL at making it happen.
There is just no other way to explain the correlation between his presence and the success of the Baltimore Ravens defense.
Many Ed Reed fans believe Ray may not even be the best DEFENSIVE player on his own team. Ed Reed is tremendous. His numbers are staggering. But at the end of the day, if I am starting a team, I want someone who will make everyone better.
Ray Lewis not just makes everyone better, he takes the next step and unifies 11 players. The Ravens' defense doesn't play for individuals, because there are no individuals...The Ravens' defense is a single unit striving towards one common goal: victory.
It is so beautiful to watch. And if you are with me this far, than there is no denying who is responsible for this. That man is Ray Lewis.
Peyton Manning can throw for however many yards he wants, but one man will never beat a group of 11 playing together to accomplish something together. If I have Ray Lewis on my team, not only am I getting a damn good middle linebacker; I will get an increase in play from the other 10 men on his side of the ball. No one can compete with that.
Because in the end, statistics are just there to give people like us something to talk about; if they didn't exist, I wouldn't have to write this article to convince you Ray Lewis is the best in the NFL.