's Super Bowl XXXV coverage

Sharpe's diatribe, and other random thoughts

TAMPA, Fla. -- Random thoughts about the first few days of Super Bowl week, in and out of the game:

  • Shannon Sharpe, perhaps my all-time favorite quote machine, launched a diatribe against the media surrounding Ray Lewis on Wednesday, pleading with the reporters to keep the focus on football. What Sharpe obviously didn't realize is that he interrupted Lewis from answering a question about knocking out quarterbacks -- a football-related inquiry.

    Ray Lewis and Shannon Sharpe
    Shannon Sharpe stood by teammate Ray Lewis (52) Wednesday.

  • Ravens coach Brian Billick, who deserves more credit than he's been allotted for the team's march to the Super Bowl, badly misstepped Monday when he used the bully pulpit to lecture the media about Lewis. He gave new meaning to being an "offensive coach." Billick actually has a few legitimate complaints; the media has distorted some facts regarding last year's murder case.

    But Billick has also misrepresented some facts. I was privy to the behind-the-scene negotiations between Lewis' lawyers and the Atlanta prosecution team. Yes, prosecutor Paul Howard knew the trial was disintegrating and approached Lewis' attorney, Ed Garland, about a deal. Lewis' plea of obstruction of justice was connected to his willingness to testify. Those are the facts. Anybody (including my friends) who thinks Billick took the focus off Lewis and put it on himself is full of wind. He magnified the focus on Lewis.

  • There have been very few times when, in a professional media setting, I have been tempted to applaud an athlete or coach. I resisted, but I almost did it when Kerry Collins completed his no-holds-barred interview session Monday night. Now that is a man.

  • I like how Ravens safety Rod Woodson handled a question when he was asked about whether the Baltimore defense was the best ever in NFL history. "Ever? That's a big word. That's a big word."

  • On the other hand, the Giants are more than impressed with the Ravens' defense. As they prepared to put in their goal-line offense this week, the Giants' coaching staff had trouble finding enough tape of Baltimore opponents that even got near the goal line this season.

  • From a distance, I hear Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy said he will ask to be released from the team. He didn't have to ask.

  • As of Wednesday, Bills GM Tom Donahoe had heard from Gene Stallings, Jerry Glanville, Forrest Gregg, Gary Moeller and Marv Levy about his head-coaching vacancy. Titans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will interview Friday with Donahoe. His candidacy is not to be taken lightly.

  • If the Lions had not hired Marty Mornhinweg as head coach, the Cleveland Browns may have made a play for Mornhinweg as an offensive coordinator to join one of their preferred head coach candidates, Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis and Giants defensive coordinator John Fox. That would have meant giving the 49ers some draft compensation.

  • The NFL has had better months. Since the conference championship games on Jan. 14, Rae Carruth was sentenced to 19 years in prison on conspiracy to commit murder, the family of the murder victims from the Ray Lewis trial are pursuing publicity and civil suit action, and jury selection began in the trial of Mark Chmura's alleged sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl.


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