It’s a Block thing: To Immovable Object Jonathan Ogden, Retirement is an Irresistible Force, after personally pancaking “Left Tackle” into a big-money NFL glamour position
The sun will come out, tomorrow…
…because the guy who has been blocking out the Sun — and everything under the Sun — for the last 12 years is finally hanging up his massive cleats. And the non-carbon footprint that he leaves behind will be too big for anyone to fill.
Jonathan Ogden was drafted from UCLA #4 overall in the 1996 NFL Draft, by the brand new Baltimore Ravens. And starting in 1997, Ogden was voted to the Pro Bowl every single year – 11 times in a row — right up through his final season last year. And in the ESPN Age, Ogden became one of the first “celebrity” Offensive Linemen.
Ogden personally drove up the cost of Left Tackles, by showing everyone how invaluable a good one can be. The Left Tackle is usually matched up against the Defensive Line’s Best Pass Rusher, protecting the Quarterback’s blind side. And during Ogden’s Decade of Dominance, the Ravens’ QB’s never had to worry about who had their backs.
Despite never having a Peyton Manning or other top-ranked QB in Baltimore, the Ravens managed to enjoy great success during the Ogden Years, including their Super Bowl Championship in 2000, when Ogden made Trent Dilfer a Fantasy Football Favorite, and when The Happiest Place on Earth didn’t want MVP Ray Lewis to favor Fantasyland a visit.
Unless you count accused murder accessory but unparalleled Linebacker Ray Lewis, Ogden is The Face of the Baltimore Franchise. He was big, tough, and durable, and he epitomized “Smashmouth” Football. If you needed one yard, running right behind Ogden was a guaranteed First Down.
So congratulations to Jonathan, who apparently donates money to UCLA (see photo of plaque below), and even came to watch the UCLA game against Notre Dame in person. Now that he’s retiring, is there any way that Rick Neuheisel — who was with Baltimore the last couple of years — can bring that WEALTH of information (about the trenches) that Ogden possesses, back into the fold at UCLA? If not, watch out for Pete Carroll to go for Ogden, just as a “Screw You!” to Neuheisel. The only thing that is certain: It’s better to have one “J.O.” than two “O.J.’s.”
Speaking of screwing, the convicted sleazebag NBA Ref Donaghy is claiming “fix” in the 2002 Laker-King Game 6, and also in a Yao Ming Playoff series. Mr. Credibility says that the NBA directed the Refs to ensure that the L.A.-Sac series advanced to the full seven games, and to stop Yao from advancing too far. The Lakers shot 27 Free Throws in the 4th Quarter of their Game 6, and Yao was ousted. But if you remember, the Kings were hacking left and right, not moving their feet on Defense, and being thoroughly “out-aggressived” by the Lakers, who earned those trips to the Line. The best team won that series, and that’s probably true for the Houston-Dallas series too.
As far as the general claims that the Refs are instructed to not foul out Star players, this is not a new accusation, and players like Michael Jordan have been reaping the benefits for years. But this is not a conspiracy, or a “fix,” and the big Stars have not abused this situation to make it an issue. And as far as favoring big media market teams, tell it to the Knicks and Clippers, not to mention the Lakers, Bulls, and Celtics during their respective lean years. Has the NBA conspired to allow small-market San Antonio to develop their mini-dynasty?
And speaking of mini-dynasties, here is an “encore” to the UCLA Spirit Squad photos from yesterday: 5 more photos of the Dance Team tailgating at the Rose Bowl (right after this photo of the Ogden Plaque).