Before the start of Super Bowl XLVII, the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens will each have a player do their signature pregame dance to pump up the players before the biggest game of their careers. On Baltimore’s side is Ray Lewis and in San Francisco’s corner is Isaac Sopoaga.
Most NFL fans know about Lewis’ pregame dance, or has he calls it the “squirrel.” But everyone one else, except the 49ers Faithful, likely doesn’t know about Sopoaga’s dance called “The Haka.”
Much of the attention this week has been on Lewis’ retirement and whether or not he used deer antler spray to aid in his recovery from injury earlier this season. Regardless of whether he took it or not, he will play and we will see his squirrel dance one last time on Sunday. Here is Lewis explaining the origin of the dance:
It started one time, they got ready to introduce the defense, and they were going to introduce us together. This guy in my hometown, Kirby Lee, would always do this dance, and the dance was called the ‘squirrel’, and I told him I was gonna do that dance one day, and he was like, ‘You’re not gonna do it,’ and I was like, ‘I’m gonna do it.’ So one day they were introducing the defense, and I came out and did it and, of course, the crowd went crazy. After that they were like, ‘We need to see the dance again.’ So after that it just kept going. Then I started adding music to it and movie clips to it. It was a good time.
I might be a little biased here, but I say good riddance to Lewis’ dance. I am glad I will never have to witness it ever again on the field. Plus, Lewis has someone place clumps of grass on the field before he is introduced so he can pick it up, rub it all over himself and declare “this is my house!” Using a prop in your pregame dance, really? Sopoaga doesn’t need them.
Sopoaga’s pregame dance is more pure and it shows off his leadership, energy and passion. His dance is called “The Haka” and he learned it as part of his heritage and growing up in Pago Pago, American Samoa. But Sopoaga’s dance is just one example of how he helps his team on the field. As a nose tackle on defense he is tasked with the hardest job, taking on two 300-plus pound offensive linemen so other defenders can stop the run and put pressure on the quarterback.
Both Lewis and Sopoaga are vital to their defenses success on Sunday. But which player has the better pregame dance? I think I know who Niner and Raven fans will pick.