Ladies and gentlemen, this year's award for the media personality most carried away by last week's NFL season openers goes to — the envelope, please — Brian Billick!
Look, I love Billick. I really do. The guy's smart, funny, articulate. And if you don't believe me, just ask him.
But did you see this? In compiling his power rankings for FOX Sports, where he's a hotshot analyst now, Billick wrote that this year's Ravens team might be the best Ravens team ever.
Yes, even better than the Super Bowl-winning team that he coached! And he based this on one game!
"The way the Ravens beat down the Steelers, given the normally close nature of these games, cannot be over-stated," Billick wrote. "I'm on record as saying this might be the best Ravens team ever, and I still might have under-estimated them."
Wow. And people accuse me of jumping to conclusions.
Billick, he makes me look like an amateur. He's like the Bob Beamon of conclusion-jumping.
The funny thing is that out at the Castle in Owings Mills Wednesday, the Ravens were doing their best to tamp down exactly these types of grandiose expectations for this team.
"I just hope people ain't jumping the gun too fast," linebacker Terrell Suggs said when the subject came up.
I wanted to raise my hand and ask if he'd heard about Billick's wacky best-Ravens-team-ever pronouncement. But Sizzle was already on a roll.
"It's a long season," he continued. "We won our first game. So did half the other teams that played last week. It was a good win, a great way to get started, but we still got a long way to go. It's 15 games, so we're really not trying to get involved with what everyone else's perception of us is."
Yeah, that Suggs, what a kill-joy.
He's like the guy who shows up at your 40th birthday party and mopes around all night with a warm beer saying: "What's the point of all this? We'll all be dead soon, anyway."
Except in this case Suggs is exactly right.
Just because the Ravens put a 35-7 pasting on the Steelers in their opener, it doesn't mean they'll cake-walk through the rest of the season.
It doesn't mean the rest of the league will be quaking with fear when they see Baltimore on the schedule.
As Suggs said, it's a long season. Sure, the Pittsburgh win was a great one for the Ravens. But it's one game. Early in the season. And in the NFL, every game is huge if you want to make the playoffs.
When the Ravens weren't downplaying the significance of last week's win, they were fielding the inevitable questions about a possible letdown Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
On paper, it seems easy to look past the Titans. They lost eight of their last nine games in 2010, finishing 6-10 and last in the AFC South. And they lost 16-14 last week at Jacksonville.
But Joe Flacco, this week's Sports Illustrated cover-boy along with Ray Rice, said he wasn't worried about the Ravens being emotionally flat for the Titans.
"No, I feel like we have a great locker room, we always have," the Ravens quarterback said. "We move on pretty quickly from losses and wins, and that's what we'll be able to do this week."
Speaking of Sports Illustrated, I know the following will shock you. But if you're wondering how excited Flacco was to be gracing the regional cover of the iconic magazine, the answer is: he wasn't exactly turning cartwheels.
"It's kind of cool," was all he said before launching into a riff about how crazy the NFL is from week to week, and how the fans and media anoint players as "great" or "terrible" based on one or two games.
At least Rice seemed a little more excited about the SI cover — and this was his second time as cover-boy. The first was his sophomore year at Rutgers, when he was college football's second-leading rusher.
"My mom thought it was pretty cool," the running back said. "I got a few copies. It's pretty cool. . . . It was a thrill the first time. This was a different thrill."
It was that kind of day at the Castle. While everyone in this town was still basking in the glow of the win over the Steelers, the Ravens were ready to move on.
If only people would let them.
(Listen to Kevin Cowherd Tuesdays at 7:20 a.m. on 105.7 The Fan's "Norris and Davis Show.")Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times