London Fletcher’s numbers may be better, but Ray Lewis can dance

Ray lewisLondon Fletcher is the best defensive player in the history of the NFL.  He’s better than Lawrence Taylor, Reggie White, Dick Butkis, and hell, any combination of those three guys.  We’ll call that player Dickrence Butwhite.

Yeah, I said it.  London Fletcher is better than Dickrence Butwhite.

(laughter from audience)

Oh wait, I didn’t mean London Fletcher. I meant Ray Lewis.  Sorry, I get those two guys confused sometimes. London Fletcher’s name in that sentence sounds beyond absurd.  If you substitute in Ray Lewis’ name… not so much, evidently:


You see, Ray Lewis motivates his teammates. Ray Lewis is respected by every player in the NFL. Ray Lewis’ “impact on the game stretches beyond the field,” or so I’ve been told by ESPN.  Ray Lewis has done it for a long time. Ray Lewis plays through pain. Ray Lewis is a god among us mere mortals. Ray Lewis’ entry dance cured polio. That’s a fact, by the way. Cured that shit so hard that the Bubonic Plague was thinking of making a comeback, but instead said, “Fuck that, Ray Lewis’ dance is still out there.”

But wait… Doesn’t London Fletcher exhibit all those qualities?

  • Motivates teammates? Check.
  • Respected league-wide? Check.
  • Done it for a long time? Check.
  • Plays through pain? Check.
  • Has famous entry dance? Gahhhh… No dance!

But what about numbers?  Ray Lewis’ numbers are certainly impressive:

Ray Lewis stats

Clearly as noted above, Ray Lewis is the best defensive player to ever step foot onto a football field, and will thus be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Shit, why even wait?  Just put him in there now.  But what about London Fletcher?  Here are his career numbers, minus his rookie season, when he wasn’t a starter:

London Fletcher stats

And here’s how those numbers average out on a “per season” basis:

London Fletcher Ray Lewis comparison

Ray Lewis: Twelve-time Pro Bowl player. Seven-time All-Pro. Two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Super Bowl MVP.

London Fletcher: Three-time Pro Bowl player. One Super Bowl win in which he couldn’t even win MVP (I mean, those 5 tackles Ray Lewis made in the Super Bowl were so replete with awesomeness that they were almost forced to give it to him)

Also, can London Fletcher do this…

Nope. And that’s the difference. London Fletcher may retire this offseason. My advice to you, London, is to find a time machine and re-do your entire shitty career, but this time get drafted higher, be a little taller, and for God sakes play with a little more emotion.

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  1. Mike says:

    Are either of these two fine football players the greatest defensive player in NFL history? I don’t think so. I guess too many of you are too young to remember some of the great ones. Dick Brutkus and Deacon Jones could dominate the game today.

  2. wilddre22 says:

    London is the only player i’ve ever seen “Laron” Brandon Jacobs. that in itself deserves respect.

  3. Brandon says:

    Exactly. Ray Lewis is the definition of “Hollywood.” London Fletcher is a TRUE professional.

  4. I think all you need to look at is the way things have transpired over the course of the last two weeks for an indicator of the differences between Ray Lewis and London Fletcher in addition to the reason why Ray is percoieved as the GOAT and London is merely an afterthought.

    Both are 37 years old and in the playoffs. Ray decided he was going to retire and held a press conference proclaiming that this was his “last ride” and offering up what pretty much equated to a sermon to the media, fans, and most likely even his teammates. By the time the game against the Colts came around, he had had nearly a full week of personal attention as well as the media spotlight. Before the game, he did his dance to a raucous crowd in front of a National audience. Heck, once was not enough as he was put onto the offensive side of the ball during the victory kneel down….only to dance again in front of the Colts who were trying to be good sports about losing. I could have predicted this sort of “circus” years ago if you asked me what I imagined Ray’s retirement to be like.

    What about London Fletcher you ask? All this guy did was gut it out through the season by overcoming personal injuries all while lacking supporting personnel/depth on defense. Pretty much due to his own personal awesomeness, he fought and clawed this team to their first NFCE crown since 1999. The porous D of the first half of the season clamped down on opposing offenses and propelled the Redskins to 7 straight victories. He is 37 and during this playoff run he was named NFC Defensive player of the Month for what was probably the best stretch of games he has played for the Skins. He knew how he felt physically, mentally, and emotionally in regards to the end of his career….yet what did he do? Did he hold a press conference to “preach” to the media about his own impending retirement? Did he ask for the spotlight as his career winds down? No…all he did was strap up his helmet and go to war with his teammates. They knew what he was playing for. They knew how he felt. So in what might be his last run at a title, he has a 15 tackle game with a sack. What did he do after the game? He made a passing comment to reporters about needing to take some time to let the emotions fade, talk to his family, and decide if he can do this next year at 38 years old. He gave a passionate speech behind closed doors to his team and that was that.

    Now, if the last two weeks are not a microcosm of these two players’ styles and careers….I do not know what is. All anyone needs to do is look at the last two weeks to understand the differences in perception of these two AMAZING, HOF WORTHY linebackers.

  5. brisulph says:

    My biggest issue is this notion that Lewis is the best defensive player of all time… top 10? Maybe. Top 1? Hell to the no.

  6. frankfurter says:

    Too bad Fletcher spent 5 years playing in NFL Siberia. RayLew got to spend his whole career in retro-rapper purple home colors, those jerseys can bring out the dancer in anybody.

  7. Chastle says:

    Ray Lewis killed a man, anyone consider that? London Fletcher doesn’t had a bloody white tuxedo that is stained with the blood of a dead man and he has amazing stats playing on usually less than stellar defenses throughout his career, he is a man among boys now and he continues to play at a high level and has never let injury come in the way because of how he prepares for football off the field which might be why Ray Lewis might be getting these injuries, If London Fletcher is not a hall of fame player i really don’t know what is because he deserves it as much as anybody out there. I am not going to say London Fletcher is better or worse than Ray Lewis but Fletcher has been the hardest worker not just harder than Ray Lewis but harder than anyone in the league, both on and off the field and has proved him self with his health which Ray Lewis didn’t have. Thank you for bringing this up i know Fletcher is overrated now but he can still play and he has shown it.

  8. Dez Bryant's Probation Officer says:

    “London” is a pussy name.
    If he was “Barkevious Fletcher”, he’d be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

  9. Skins Fan says:

    Jimmy—-You aren’t going to win this one….neither, it seems, is London….but as a Skins fan I really appreciate your laying out the case.

    Maybe if he plays one more year–all 16 games to continue his streak—and can get three more sacks and five more interceptions….and the Skins make the SB…..we can start making the case again.

  10. Eric says:

    Ray was part of one of the best defenses of all time. The Ravens have also traditionally been a defensive team and play off contenders.
    London never had that luck. That as much as anything else has made Lewis the more prominent name.

  11. Yeah… I respect London Fletcher more than anybody (except you, apparently) but Ray Lewis is better. You compared all those numbers but you never really acknowledged that Ray Lewis has only played in 4 more games than London Fletcher.

    On a per game basis:
    Ray Lewis: 8.9 tackles per game, .18 sacks per game, .083 FF per game and .13 interceptions per game
    London Fletcher: 8.5 tackles per game, .16 sacks per game, .085 FF per game and .10 interceptions per game

    Those differences may seem minuscule when you break them down per game, those differences add up. Ray Lewis is second in NFL history behind only Jack Hams in takeaways for a linebacker and he’s the only player in NFL history with 40 sacks and 30 interceptions.

    While Fletcher is absolutely fantastic, once upon a time Ray Lewis was the most dominating player in the NFL (according to NFL coaches: Ray Lewis dominated the middle of the field and even once he started tailing off, he was still playing at a higher level than most. The guy recorded 225 tackles in 2003, TWO HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE. Luke Kuechly led the league in tackles this year and he finished with 164 tackles.

    And I feel like you’re diminishing the leadership aspect of Ray Lewis’ career by cracking jokes about it. But look at the success the Ravens have had with Ray Lewis, he IS that team. With Ray Lewis, the Ravens have finished top ten in defense 12 of Ray Lewis’ 17 seasons. The only seasons the didn’t finish top 10? His first three, 2002 (when he missed 11 games) and 2012 (where he missed 10 games). Daniel Jeremiah said that when he was working with the Ravens, the didn’t have to worry about players giving subpar effort in college because they knew Ray Lewis could get 110% out of them. And I implore you to go and read what Ryan Riddle (former NFL player and Ray Lewis teammate) wrote about Ray on Bleacher Report (I know, I know…), Ray Lewis is not just some media creation, face of the franchise, he was the face of the franchise and the heart and soul of that team.

    Also, I think another reason why Ray Lewis gets more respect than London Fletcher is because Ray Lewis won a superbowl. And it wasn’t just winning a superbowl, it was HOW they did it. They won it with TRENT FREAKIN’ DILFER. They won that superbowl on the back of a historically good defense that was led by Ray Lewis.

    He’s the best non-pass rushing linebacker to ever play the game.

    1. See, that’s my issue. On almost all of the arguments you make about Ray Lewis’ intangibles, the same can be said for London Fletcher. I was in the Redskins’ locker room after the 2nd Eagles-Redskins game this year. All anyone wanted to talk about in there was London Fletcher.

    2. We agree Lewis is better, by the way. The difference in recognition, however, is absurd.

    3. There’s a certain irony in talking about intangibles and using them to rank one player ahead of another.

  12. Cowboy Luv says:

    Ray ray is the best ,London is a piece of !

  13. The Reddgie says:

    Yeah, but can London Fletcher get away with murder?

    1. brisulph says:

      The way he got away with that was HOF level, no doubt.

  14. Mflick says:

    When I think best defense of all time:
    I think of the Bills with Flutie and Wade Phillips running the show. (That is the era right?)

    Or the Rams. All I heard about in their superbowl run was the defense, did they even have an offense?

    The Redskins have been a mess during his entire tenure.

    During that time, the Ravens had a season that allowed fewest points of all time (or close to it) and that defense with Trent Dilfer won a superbowl. That is a little more important than the dance.

    1. You couldn’t turn on a TV this weekend without hearing “Ray Lewis” within 5 minutes. Meanwhile, London Fletcher might retire and it’s covered with the same volume as a mouse fart. That’s my only point here.

      1. Brian says:

        There’s a pretty big difference between ACTUALLY retiring, and just being around that age.

        Also, some people just like the spotlight more. It doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a better player or not. Kinda like how Tebow and the Jets are on ESPN 24/7.

        Extroverts get more ‘attention’ than introverts. That’s not something specific to football.

  15. mjoedgaard says:

    London Fletcher is such a bum, I mean, who does he think he is?

  16. Ray Lewis is also adept at making blood stained suits disappear, a skill for which Fletcher has demonstrated no proclivity.

    1. Fair point. Certainly a check mark in favor of Ray there.

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