Quantifying an offensive lineman's contribution to a team is not an easy thing to do. While you can pour through a seemingly infinite array of statistics for offensive skill positions and defensive players, games-played and games-started remain the only official stats the NFL tracks for offensive lineman.
Quantifying Jonathan Ogden's legendary 12-year career as a tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, therefore, is an impossible task. On Sunday, Ogden's historic, though numberless, NFL career will be honored as he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
To say Ogden's decade-plus stint as the anchor on the Ravens' offensive line is wholly numberless isn't completely true, however. The number 176, for example, represents the games Ogden started for Baltimore. Then there are 9 and 11, the number of times he was selected as an All-Pro and voted into the Pro Bowl, respectively. Ogden missed out on the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, but must have decided he liked Hawaii after earning a spot in his second year -- he wouldn't miss another trip for the rest of his career.
Four is the overall draft pick the Ravens used to take Ogden out of UCLA in the 1996 NFL Draft. It was actually the first-ever draft pick by the Ravens, having just been moved from Cleveland by Art Modell and casting off the Browns moniker. Upon his retirement, Ogden was just the second player remaining from that inaugural season. Ray Lewis just became the last to go.
Then there are the few random statistics that an offensive lineman manages to sporadically scrape together during 12 seasons in the league: seven fumble recoveries and 10 tackles. Ogden's long arms, usually reserved for steering away pass-rushing defensive ends, even managed to pull in two receptions for a whopping two yards. Both catches just happened to be while he was standing in the end zone for touchdowns.
Perhaps the most important number in Ogden's career, and certainly the one that most endears him to Ravens fans, is 1. In his 12 years in the league, Ogden played for only one team. In an age where a player is rarely lucky enough or loyal enough to stick in one place for more than five seasons, Ogden's time in Baltimore seems like eons. The big tackle helped his team to four postseason berths during that span, including a Super Bowl XXXV title in 2000.
On Saturday, as part of the buildup to the preseason kickoff Hall of Fame Game, Ogden will join Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Curley Culp, Bill Parcells, Dave Robinson and Warren Sapp in an induction ceremony for Canton's 2013 class. Everyone else, save fellow offensive lineman Allen, will have a long list of numbers and statistics read along with their name. For a legend who has never relied on the numbers, that will suit Ogden just fine.