Whenever the Baltimore Ravens play a home game at M&T Bank Stadium, either the team's offense or defense is introduced. The player's names are called and the fans cheer as they make their way out of the smokey tunnel and onto the field. The biggest cheers on offense go to QB Joe Flacco, Todd Heap and Ray Rice. On defense, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs get theirs when their names are announced.
However no one comes close to getting the fans riled up into a frenzy like linebacker Ray Lewis does when he emerges from the tunnel. Once the other defensive players have been introduced and are on the field, the smoke thickens, the height of the spitting fire increases and the huge video screens show Ray entering the field to the strands of Nelly's "It's Hot in Herre!" Ray picks up a few tufts of grass to tell the world "this is my house!" and then breaks into his trademark dance that sends the fans into a wild mob of screaming lunatics. His teammates feed off of his passion and cannot wait to get out on that gridiron and hit somebody.
Nothing short of being there as witness to this spectacle compares, as the level of emotion cannot be felt from your living room. If you've ever seen this live, it never gets old and the hairs on your arms tingle with the amazing passion you feel for what #52 has brought to the team, the city and its fans.
Regardless of whether or not the offense or defense is introduced prior to each home game, Ray Lewis should always be the last player out of the tunnel and his trademark entrance should become a staple of the introductions each and every game. Especially in the light of what could be his last season, the team owes this "birthright" to him, and the fans come to the game hoping to see it.
It was mentioned at one time that the team purposely did not do this to prove a point to Ray that they were "bigger" than him and it was about the team and not any individual. However, that is a bunch of bunk, as the purpose of the introductions is to raise the passion level and excite the fans to a level to get the most out of the home field advantage even before the opening kickoff.
So join with me in letting the team know that Ray LEwis should be an integral part of the opening plyer introductions each and every game!