Ed Reed and Ray Lewis: Batman and Robin or Batman and Superman?

Football, NCAAF, CFB, NFL article at Knup Sports

Why Ed Reed shouldn’t be overshadowed by Ray Lewis and need to be in his category of all-time great defensive players.

During the 2000s decade and early 2010s decade, the Baltimore Ravens trademark was defense. Boasting 10 top 10 defenses from 2000-2012, twice having the number one defense. (2000, 2006) Baltimore also had two super bowl trophies (XXXV, XLVII), four awards for defensive players of the year (Ray Lewis 2000, 2003; Ed Reed 2004; Terrell Suggs 2011), and 17 first-team all-pros.

The two names that stand out from these unbelievable defenses are Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Ray Lewis was drafted in 1996, 26th overall, and Ed Reed in 2002, 24th overall. Once Reed joined Lewis in 2002, the two were linked together as one of the best defensive duos the NFL has ever seen.

Originally referred to as Batman and Robin, Reed was younger than Lewis and was learning under him at the beginning of his career. However, as their careers unfolded, was Robin learning under Batman, or did Reed create his superhero nickname?

In only his third year in the league, Reed became the Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. While Lewis may have had two D.P.O.Y.s of his own, Reed established himself and his image.

Ed Reed: A Perennial Superstar

Having five interceptions his first year, 7 in his second, and a league-high 9 when he won D.P.O.Y. Reed showed why he was the most feared ball hawk in NFL history. Reed would finish his career with 65 interceptions which rank 7th all-time.

He also led the league in interceptions three times which is tied for the most in NFL history. Reed also has the most interception return yards in NFL history with 1,590. As well as the most career postseason interceptions with 9.

Reed also became one of the only players in the history of the NFL to regularly block punts successfully, having four blocked punts (3 returned for TD ties the NFL record).

Reed also set the NFL record for a 106-yard interception return for a TD, which he would later break in 2008 with a 107-yard interception return. He also had another 100+ yarder called back because his teammate was watching him instead of looking for the other team leading to a holding penalty. (see video below)

What separates Reed from other ball hawks is his ability to put points on the board at the end of the play, whether it was himself or lateraling to a teammate. Reed had 13 non-offensive touchdowns in his career, which is tied for 5th all-time. (7 interceptions, two fumbles, three blocked punts, one punt return)

Let’s ask his opponents if he was robin being helped by Lewis or superman himself playing next to batman. During Bill Belichick’s “A Football Life,” he proclaims Ed Reed as the greatest Free Safety ever to play this game. High praise is coming from arguably the greatest coach in NFL history.

I think it is safe to say that the first-ballot hall of famer, super bowl champion, NFL all-decade of the 2000s team member, and NFL all-time top 100 team member was his superhero, not a sidekick to another one.


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