The Stack is back on this Wednesday and there is no need to use deer antlers to improve the blog today. Well....anyway, not a ton of big news out there apart from Super Bowl media day and the Ray Lewis bombshell so let's get right to it and what made "the stack" for today, Wednesday, January 30:
Report says that Ray Lewis used ban substance
Well at least Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis didn't have to answer a lot of questions about the murder trial in 2000. That's because a Sports Illustrated report, which will be in their February 4th edition, came out yesterday shortly before Super Bowl media day, that Lewis used deer antler spray to help quicken his recovery from a torn triceps he suffered in October. Only problem, is that the deer spray Lewis supposedly used contains a banned substance, IGF-1. Apparently the supplier, SWATS or Sports with Alternatives to Steroids, co-owner Mitch Ross specifically, spoke with Lewis about the product that would get him back on the field faster. Lewis is denying it, just like you thought he would and he should. He's never tested positive for a banned substance and for a report to come out that he did on the week of the Super Bowl does seem a little ridiculous.
In a way, this feels like a smear campaign against Lewis. It's almost as though someone is just trying to create more of a distraction for Lewis and the Ravens as they prepare for the biggest game of their lives. Something just doesn't seem right about this. Now, in all fairness, it's not impossible to think that Lewis would seek to find something to help speed up his recovery so he could make it back to field this season. A torn triceps is a difficult injury to come back, especially in the same season. But if Lewis says he did not do it, who are we not to believe him? I just can't believe him 100 percent. A small part of me believes there is a chance that this is true. The timing of this though is most suspicious. Expect Lewis to play with even more energy now on Sunday because of this in order to prove the doubters wrong. If this proves true, this would be a significant blow.
In other PED news, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, as well as four others, has been linked to a firm that deals performance enhancing drugs. Rodriguez has denied the report. Of course he would. His career is so tainted right now. His play has declined. This denial just seems like white noise at this point.
Super Bowl storyline number four
The San Francisco 49ers may not be in the Super Bowl if not for the gutsy call by head coach Jim Harbaugh to go with the "hot-hand" and start Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith (tomorrow's storyline includes season changing moments for each team). Kaepernick was awarded the starting quarterback spot after Alex Smith went out with a concussion November 11 against St. Louis. Kaepernick made an impression in that game, just as he did in his first game at Nevada against Boise State. Now, nine starts later, Kaepernick is on the biggest stage in sports in the biggest game of his brief professional career. His nine starts prior to a Super Bowl is third fewest in the Super Bowl era. Only Jeff Hostetler (6 with the Giants) and Vince Ferragamo (7 with the LA Rams) had fewer starts. Hostetler's Giants won the Super Bowl, Ferragamo's Rams did not.
There was a great story a couple of weeks ago in Sports Illustrated on Kaepernick after he put together one of the best playoff performances in history against the Green Bay Packers. Check it out if you haven't read it. Kaepernick keeps his personality in check, but his play on the field speaks volumes. His work in the pistol formation is making life very difficult for opposing defenses and his versatility is going to make things very difficult for the Ravens. He's fast and he has a fastball. He throws lasers to his wide receivers. Can a player with such few starts handle the biggest stage? I think yes. Until he shows otherwise, Kaepernick has proven that the pressure isn't too big for him and that his play speaks for himself.
Moss declares himself the best
A side note to this storyline is about Kaepernick's teammate Randy Moss, who has a chance to win his first ring on Sunday. It's only Moss's second Super Bowl and he turned quite a few heads yesterday by saying that he was the best wide receiver ever to play the game. He's not making this claim based on numbers, but on impact. In a way he's right. When in his prime, defenses made gameplans to stop Moss. He was a decoy part of the time. Yet he was still able to torch defenses. He put together the best rookie season we've ever seen in 1998. In 2007 with the New England Patriots, he scored 23 touchdowns as the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season before losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. But too many times he didn't give full effort, something he's admitted to more than once. His off-field antics shouldn't factor into where he ranks, but it will to some. Jerry Rice though is still the best. He changed the position. He ranks the best in all major statistical categories when it comes to wide receivers. He's won three Super Bowls. Yes it helps when you catch balls from two hall-of-famers in Joe Montana and Steve Young, but the bottomline is that Rice is the best to ever play the game. So yes Moss, make the argument that you are the best wide receiver ever to play the game...after Jerry Rice.
Coming up Thursday: Super Bowl storyline #5 plus other major sports news