Tag Archive | "jonathan ogden"

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Ravens gather to commemorate Super Bowl XLVII a final time

Posted on 08 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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The Super Bowl ring ceremony was quite the extravagant party in Owings Mills that served as a reunion for the 2012 Ravens as well as the final big celebration of the second championship in franchise history.

Yes, Baltimore’s home opener against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 15 will include the unveiling of a second Super Bowl championship banner, but that ceremony will be overshadowed by an actual game and won’t include those who’ve moved on to other organizations but were able to return to the team’s facility to receive their lavish Super Bowl rings.

Media access was limited at Friday night’s event as it was a party for members of the organization, but the Ravens provided an interesting foursome of players to speak to the media minutes after the rings were unveiled.

Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Joe Flacco, and Torrey Smith all stood at different stages of their career as they received their championship rings with the 38-year-old Lewis speaking to reporters first. Having retired after winning his second championship, Lewis spoke as a fatherly figure throughout the postseason and once again expressed his satisfaction over not only having the opportunity to go out on top but to see his teammates experience what it meant to be a champion.

“I always told them I wanted them to really feel what the confetti felt like. Now to be here, to have something that symbolizes it, it’s the ultimate because now it connects us forever,” said Lewis, who also wore his Super Bowl XXXV ring after receiving the Super Bowl XLVII one to wear on his opposite hand. “It took me 12 years to get back and get another ring. I want them to cherish what this moment feels like right now while we’re world champions.”

Flacco, the Super Bowl MVP, responded only how he could with the honest assessment of a gaudy ring that includes white gold and 243 round-cut diamonds. As Lewis pointed out, Flacco won a championship in his fifth season — like the linebacker did with the 2000 Ravens — and the championship surely provided validation in the minds of those who wondered whether he could lead Baltimore to a championship.

The quarterback admitted he probably won’t wear the ring, but it won’t be sitting locked up in his closet either.

“It’s kind of unwearable,” said Flacco, drawing laughter from reporters. “When I see people for the first time, I’m sure they’re going to have some interest in seeing it or at least I’m going to have some interest in showing it off to them. I’m definitely going to bring it a couple of places. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m going to wear it, but it’s pretty special.”

Entering his third season, Smith represented the younger players on the roster fortunate enough not to wait long to taste Super Bowl glory in their NFL careers.

And the former University of Maryland product struggled to keep his eyes off the hardware as he spoke to media.

“I told you all what I was going to be like. I didn’t cry or anything, but I can see how women feel when they get a ring,” said Smith as he laughed. “It has a lot of different meanings. There will never be another season like this. We can win the Super Bowl every year while I’m in the league and there will be nothing like this one.”

The most intriguing of the four to speak was 11th-year linebacker Terrell Suggs, who finally earned the Super Bowl ring he’s dreamed about after starring on the vaunted Baltimore defense for a decade. While Lewis, Flacco, and future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed received most of the attention for different reasons, Suggs won his first championship after the most difficult season of his career in which he recovered from a torn Achilles tendon in late April and then played with a torn biceps for the final two months of the 2012 season.

Always one to provide a colorful quote and having the reputation of being the class clown of the Ravens locker room, Suggs’ sincerity in describing how he felt upon finally seeing his first piece of championship jewelry was the highlight of the brief session.

“To have it so close, it finally hit me what exactly we accomplished together,” said Suggs, who figured out his ring was hidden in front of him when he was discouraged from moving his seat at the beginning of the ceremony. “It didn’t take a year. It took me 11 years to get it. It took coach [John] Harbaugh from when he got here in 2008 — we’ve been chasing this. It finally paid off, all that blood given. There’s not a word that describes what I’m feeling right now and all the emotions.

“The journey was long, but it was worth it. But I will tell you this, I damn sure want to feel like this again.”

Owner Steve Bisciotti took care of former members of the organization by not only awarding Super Bowl rings to David and John Modell, the sons of the late owner Art Modell, but to the five members of the team’s Ring of Honor who played on the Super Bowl XXXV championship team. It appears Bisciotti is setting a precedent by giving rings to Jonathan Ogden, Peter Boulware, Michael McCrary, Matt Stover, and Jamal Lewis, but fellow Ring of Honor member Earnest Byner wasn’t included in that group.

Byner was the only member of the Ring of Honor to have played for the Ravens — the Hall of Fame members of the Baltimore Colts are also honored — who did not receive a ring, so it appears this is a subtle way of ignoring the former Browns, Redskins, and Ravens running back’s inclusion, which was never accepted by fans from the time Byner was inducted in 2001.

He was a favorite of the late Modell, but seeing Byner’s name listed among Ravens greats as well as the Hall of Fame Colts has always looked out of place.

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Ogden to Ravens fans: “Thank You Baltimore”

Posted on 02 February 2013 by WNSTV

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Modell falls short of election to Canton again

Posted on 02 February 2013 by Luke Jones

NEW ORLEANS — After being named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013, the late Art Modell fell short once again for election on Saturday in New Orleans.

As one of his former players, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, was elected to Canton, Modell failed to make the final 10 as he was eliminated along with fellow former owner Eddie DeBartolo, wide receiver Tim Brown, outside linebacker Kevin Greene, and guard Will Shields.

Modell was the longtime owner of the Cleveland Browns before moving his franchise to Baltimore in 1996 and maintained control of the Ravens as they raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the owner’s first Super Bowl title. Current Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti bought the team from Modell, purchasing a 49-percent stake in 2000 before acquiring the remaining majority stake in 2004.

Despite being regarded as a pioneer in viewing television as having a prominent role in taking the NFL to unprecedented heights, Modell’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame has been thwarted on multiple occasions because of the controversial move from Cleveland to Baltimore. He was one of 15 finalists for Canton in 2001 and a semifinalist in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

“The man never did anything out of spite,” Ogden said. “His move was out of necessity; he had no choice. What he did was make sure that Cleveland kept their history. Irsay stole Baltimore’s history from them with the Colts — the name, the records, everything. You can’t tell the story of the NFL without mentioning Art Modell.”

Modell passed away at age 87 on Sept. 6, 2012.

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Original Raven Ogden receives call to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Posted on 02 February 2013 by Luke Jones

NEW ORLEANS — Others to play for the Baltimore Ravens have walked through the doors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden is the first to say he played his entire career with the organization.

The first draft selection in the history of the franchise in 1996 and regarded as the original Raven, Ogden was inducted into Canton in his first year of eligibility on Saturday evening in New Orleans, a day before the Ravens prepared to play in their second Super Bowl. The 6-foot-9 offensive lineman played 12 seasons in Baltimore and was named to 11 Pro Bowls as he was regarded to be the best left tackle in the NFL for a large portion of his career. Only four offensive linemen in NFL history — Bruce Matthews, Randall McDaniel, Jim Otto, and Will Shields — earned more Pro Bowl nods in their careers.

“With the Ravens here in New Orleans and me being the original draft pick of the Ravens, I just want to thank the city of Baltimore, the fans, Ozzie Newsome, who was tremendous,” Ogden said. “Hopefully, I get a chance to go out there on that field [Sunday] and see Ray Lewis play in his last game while I get to go into the Hall of Fame while he’s playing in the Super Bowl.”

Ogden was a key member of the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV championship as he was the anchor of an offensive line for a dominating running game that featured rookie running back Jamal Lewis. He was also named to ten All-Pro teams and was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 2000s.

He was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in 2008 and no player has worn his No. 75 since he retired following the 2007 season.

“I got a chance to be the first Raven, the chance to start an organization, and to start a new fan base because a lot of those guys didn’t even know the Colts,” Ogden said. “It was really just a tremendous opportunity, and our town has grown to become the best in the NFL. We’ve got the best fans in the NFL in Baltimore.”

The offensive tackle chose to retire in part because of a toe injury that hampered him over the final year of his career. He ranks third in all-time games played by a Ravens player (177) and is second in games started (176).

Ogden spent his rookie season playing the left guard position before sliding outside to left tackle for the final 11 seasons of his career.

“Preparing for the pass rush on the left side was never an issue,” former Ravens coach Brian Billick said of his longtime left tackle. “It didn’t take any meeting time. We’d start game-planning with: ‘OK, we’ll run behind J.O. and slide our protection to the right side.’”

Ogden was joined in the Class of 2013 by wide receiver Cris Carter, guard Larry Allen, lineman Curly Culp, head coach Bill Parcells, linebacker Dave Robinson, and defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Culp and Robinson were seniors committee selections while Allen and Sapp joined Ogden as inductees in their first year of eligibility.

The No. 4 overall pick in the 1996 draft joins defensive back Rod Woodson, cornerback Deion Sanders, and tight end Shannon Sharpe as members of the Hall of Fame to have played for the Ravens, but Ogden is the first of that group to spend his entire career in Baltimore. He remains beloved in Baltimore and will be on hand for Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday.

That first draft produced Ogden and Lewis, who will play his final NFL game on Sunday and undoubtedly join Ogden in the Hall of Fame five years from now.

“His size gave you the confidence that we could run the world,” Lewis said in a statement released by the team. “His passion was the reason for his dominance. I was drafted with one of the best of all time, and no one deserves this honor more. He’s the first drafted Raven, and now he’s our first Hall of Famer.”

Former Ravens owner Art Modell did not make the final 10 and missed induction. He was also a finalist for Canton in 2001 and a semifinalist in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

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Newsome pinching himself over Super Bowl XLVII script

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — General manager Ozzie Newsome cannot help but wonder if he’s walking around in a dream state these days as the Ravens prepare to play in the second Super Bowl of the 17-year history of the franchise.

But it’s more than just a chance for a second championship for Newsome when you remember the only owner he knew in his first 26 years in the NFL as both a player and front office executive, the late Art Modell, and the first player he drafted in Baltimore, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, are both up for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next Saturday. Super Bowl XLVII will also mark the final game in the career of linebacker Ray Lewis, the greatest player in the history of the franchise and the second pick made by Newsome in Baltimore.

The story would be almost too perfect for the architect of one of the finest franchises in the NFL.

“That has been the little dream that the little kids have along the way when they are growing up,” Newsome said. “Wouldn’t that be nice that we’re playing in the Super Bowl, and then we have the ultimate that our ultimate warrior is going to play his last down of football in that game? I don’t think you could write a script — I don’t think any of you guys could have written that script.”

In a rare in-season session with the local media, Newsome expressed pride over the Ravens’ resolve to overcome trials, injuries, and a three-game losing streak in December to make the trip to New Orleans. Newsome labeled the city his favorite destination for a Super Bowl and admitted he began thinking about the possibility of playing in this particular Super Bowl 15 months ago, with Ogden and Modell potentially up for Hall of Fame induction in the same year.

Sentimental story lines aside, Newsome appreciates watching the team he constructed finally get back to the Super Bowl after a 12-year absence following the Ravens’ first championship in Super Boxl XXXV.

“I said this to John [Harbaugh] on the bus ride: You just don’t know how hard it is to get to the Super Bowl,” said Newsome as he reflected on the aftermath of last Sunday’s win over the New England Patriots. “It’s even harder, now you have to go and win it. But 12 years since we did this, and we got knocked out in the AFC Championship twice; it’s hard. You’ve got to manage injuries, so many different things that you have to manage just to get this opportunity, and the other 31 teams don’t care for you. It’s hard to do.”

Asked to state the case for Modell to finally be inducted posthumously after he passed away shortly before the start of the regular season, Newsome presented clear evidence for the longtime owner who relinquished control of the team to Steve Bisciotti in 2004.

Next Saturday would appear to be Modell’s last best chance for enshrinement with his memory fresh in voters’ minds and the Ravens dominating the limelight as one of the two Super Bowl entries in New Orleans.

“He was involved in the collective bargaining agreement, involved in the TV deal, involved in the merger, won a championship in 1964, won a Super Bowl, diversity [in being] the first one to hire an African American,” Newsome said. “When you look at the body of work that Art did, then why shouldn’t he be in [the Hall of Fame]? If this game is as good as it is today – and we all think we have a very good game – then Art was an architect of the game. He helped build the game for what it is.”

Modell’s long-awaited induction would be one thing, but to see Ogden earn enshrinement while Lewis rides off into the sunset with a second Vince Lombardi Trophy would be the icing on the cake after Newsome chose the pair as the newest additions to a brand-new franchise in Baltimore in 1996.

It’s enough to make Newsome not want to wake up before Super Bowl weekend.

“It’s part of the dream, I think,” said Newsome as he laughed. “I don’t know, I’ve got to pinch myself to see if I’m still dreaming.”

Mum on Flacco contract

Newsome made it clear he would not discuss contracts and other offseason topics — saving those conversations for the team’s end-of-the-year press conference following the Super Bowl — but that didn’t stop a national media member from asking about the expiring rookie deal of quarterback Joe Flacco anyway.

“I’m not discussing that,” Newsome said. “You know what? I’ve gone on record -– Joe and I have a very good understanding about his contract and where we are. End of story.”

The Ravens desperately want to reach a long-term agreement with Flacco to avoid using the franchise tag. That designation would award him an estimated salary of $14.6 million and eat up the little cap room the organization is projected to have for the 2013 season. Signing Flacco to a long-term contract would increase the chances of keeping such impending free agents as linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and cornerback Cary Williams.

Newsome will address those issues after Feb. 3, however.

“I worry about winning today, but I’ve got to also worry about winning tomorrow,” Newsome said. “I’ve got to be able to balance those books every year.”

McKinnie move

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Ogden, Modell named finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013

Posted on 11 January 2013 by Luke Jones

Former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and late owner Art Modell were named among the 15 finalists in consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013 on Friday.

The first ever draft pick of the Ravens in 1996, Ogden was taken with the fourth overall pick and played 12 seasons in Baltimore, earning trips to 11 Pro Bowls as he was regarded as the best left tackle in the league for most of his career. Ogden was a key member of the Super Bowl XXXV championship team of the 2000 season.

This is Ogden’s first year of eligibility.

Modell was the longtime owner of the Cleveland Browns before moving his franchise to Baltimore in 1996 and maintained control of the Ravens as they raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the owner’s first Super Bowl title. Current Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti bought the team from Modell, purchasing a 49-percent stake in 2000 before acquiring the remaining majority stake in 2004.

Despite being regarded as a pioneer in viewing television as having a prominent role in taking the NFL to unprecedented heights, Modell’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame has been thwarted on multiple occasions in the past because of the controversial move from Cleveland to Baltimore. He was one of 15 finalists for Canton in 2001 and a semifinalist in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Modell passed away at age 87 on Sept. 6, 2012.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 17 finalists (15 modern-era selections and two seniors committee nominations) for the Class of 2013:

Larry Allen (G/T), Jerome Bettis (RB), Tim Brown (WR), Cris Carter (WR), Curley Culp (DT/G), Edward DeBartolo Jr. (owner), Kevin Greene (LB), Charles Haley (DE), Art Modell (owner), Jonathan Ogden (OT), Bill Parcells (coach), Andre Reed (WR), Dave Robinson (LB), Warren Sapp (DT), Will Shields (G), Michael Strahan (DE), Aeneas Williams (CB)

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Ogden, Modell named semifinalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame consideration

Posted on 30 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and late owner Art Modell were named among the 27 semifinalists in consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013 on Friday.

The first ever draft pick of the Ravens in 1996, Ogden was taken with the fourth overall pick and played 12 seasons in Baltimore, earning trips to 11 Pro Bowls as he was regarded as the best left tackle in the league for a large portion of his career. Ogden was a key member of the Super Bowl XXXV championship team of the 2000 season.

Modell was the longtime owner of the Cleveland Browns before moving his franchise to Baltimore in 1996 and maintained control of the Ravens as they raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the owner’s first Super Bowl title. Current Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti bought the team from Modell, purchasing a 49-percent stake in 2000 before acquiring the remaining majority stake in 2004.

Despite being regarded as a pioneer in viewing television as having a prominent role in taking the NFL to unprecedented heights, Modell’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame has been thwarted on multiple occasions in the past because of the controversial move from Cleveland to Baltimore.

Modell passed away at age 87 earlier this year on Sept. 6.

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Jonathan Ogden to enter College Football Hall of Fame

Posted on 15 May 2012 by WNST Staff

NFF Announces 2012 Football Bowl Subdivision
College Football Hall of Fame Class

14 Players and Three Coaches to Enter College Football’s Ultimate Shrine

NEW YORK, May 15, 2012 – From the national ballot of 76 candidates and a pool of hundreds of eligible nominees, Archie Manning, chairman of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, announced today the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision Class, which includes the names of 14 First Team All-America players and three legendary coaches.

2012 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS

PLAYERS

  • CHARLES ALEXANDER – TB, LSU (1975-78)
  • OTIS ARMSTRONG – HB, Purdue (1970-72)
  • STEVE BARTKOWSKI – QB, California (1972-74)
  • HAL BEDSOLE – SE, Southern California (1961-63)
  • DAVE CASPER – TE, Notre Dame (1971-73)
  • TY DETMER – QB, BYU (1988-91)
  • TOMMY KRAMER – QB, Rice (1973-76)
  • ART MONK – WR, Syracuse (1976-79)
  • GREG MYERS – DB, Colorado State (1992-95)
  • JONATHAN OGDEN – OT, UCLA (1992-95)
  • GABE RIVERA – DT, Texas Tech (1979-82)
  • MARK SIMONEAU – LB, Kansas State (1996-99)
  • SCOTT THOMAS – S, Air Force (1982-85)
  • JOHN WOOTEN* – OG, Colorado (1956-58)

* Selection from the FBS Veterans Committee

COACHES

  • PHILLIP FULMER – 152-52-0 (74.5%); Tennessee (1992-08)
  • JIMMY JOHNSON – 81-34-3 (70.0%); Oklahoma State (1979-83) and Miami (Fla.) (1984-88)
  • R.C. SLOCUM – 123-47-2 (72.1%); Texas A&M (1989-02)

“We are extremely proud to announce the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Manning, a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Ole Miss. “Each year the selection process becomes increasingly more difficult, but Gene Corrigan and the Honors Court do an amazing job of selecting a diverse group of the most amazing players and coaches in our sport’s rich history. This class is certainly no exception, and we look forward to honoring them and celebrating their achievements throughout the year ahead.”

The 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Class will be inducted at the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 4, 2012, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. They will be honored guests at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2, 2013 and officially enshrined in the summer of 2013.

Today’s announcement was made from The NASDAQ OMX MarketSite in Times Square, which has hosted the event for the past four consecutive years. XOS Digital produced the NFF web streams for the second consecutive year, and the Orange Bowl and the law firm of Troutman Sanders LLP participated as the supporting sponsors of the announcement.

2012 FOOTBALL BOWL SUBDIVISION
COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS NOTES

PLAYERS:

  • 11 consensus First Team All-Americans (Alexander – 2x, Armstrong, Bartkowski, Bedsole, Casper, Detmer – 2x, Kramer, Myers, Rivera, Simoneau, Thomas)
  • ONE unanimous First Team All-American (Ogden)
  • THREE multi-year First Team All-Americans (Alexander – 2x, Detmer – 2x, Myers – 2x)
  • TWO members of national championship teams (Bedsole, Casper)
  • ONE Heisman Trophy winner (Detmer)
  • THREE winners of college football major awards (Detmer – Maxwell, O’Brien; Myers – Thorpe; Ogden – Outland)
  • FIVE conference player of the year honorees (Alexander, Armstrong, Detmer, Kramer, Simoneau)
  • FIVE members of conference championship teams (Bedsole, Detmer, Myers, Ogden, Thomas)
  • TWO NFF National Scholar-Athletes (Casper, Myers)
  • TEN offensive players (Alexander, Armstrong, Bartkowski, Bedsole, Casper, Detmer, Kramer, Monk, Ogden, Wooten)
  • FOUR defensive players (Myers, Rivera, Simoneau, Thomas)
  • SEVEN first-round NFL draft selections (Alexander, Armstrong, Bartkowski – 1st overall, Kramer, Monk, Ogden, Rivera)
  • FIVE decades represented: 1950s (1) – Wooten; 1960s (1) – Bedsole; 1970s (6) – Alexander, Armstrong, Bartkowski, Casper, Kramer, Monk; 1980s (2) – Rivera, Thomas; 1990s (4) – Detmer, Myers, Ogden, Simoneau

COACHES:

  • TWO national championships (Fulmer, Johnson)
  • SIX conference championships (Fulmer – 2, Slocum – 4)
  • 33 bowl berths (Fulmer – 15, Johnson – 7, Slocum – 11)
  • 28 Top 25 finishes (Fulmer – 13, Johnson – 5, Slocum – 10)
  • 45 First Team All-Americans coached (Fulmer – 19, Johnson – 12, Slocum – 14)
  • SEVEN major award winners coached (Fulmer – John Henderson, Peyton Manning, Michael Munoz; Johnson – Bennie Blades, Russell Maryland, Vinny Testaverde; Slocum – Dat Nguyen)
  • FOUR NFF National Scholar-Athletes coached (Fulmer: Peyton Manning and Michael Munoz. Johnson: Doug Freeman. Slocum: Lance Pavlas)

CRITERIA
1. First and foremost, a player must have received First Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.

2. A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s Honors Courts ten years after his final year of intercollegiate football played.

3. While each nominee’s football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and fellow man. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.

4. Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years*. For example, to be eligible for the 2012 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1962 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.

5. A coach becomes eligible three years after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage*.

* Players that do not comply with the 50-year rule may still be eligible for consideration by the Football Bowl Subdivision and Divisional Honors Review Committees, which examine unique cases. 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME FACTS

  • Including the 2012 FBS class, only 914 players and 197 coaches, have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 4.86 million who have played or coached the game over the past 143 years. In other words, only two one-hundredths of one percent (.0002) of the individuals who have played the game have been deemed worthy of this distinction.
  • Founded in 1947, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame inducted its first class of inductees in 1951. The first class included 32 players and 19 coaches, including Illinois’ Red Grange, Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Carlisle’s Jim Thorpe.
  • 288 schools are represented with at least one College Football Hall of Famer.
  • Induction for this class of Hall of Famers will take place December 4, 2012 at the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City’s historic Waldorf=Astoria.

CHARLES ALEXANDER
Louisiana State University
Tailback, 1975-78

One of the truly great runners of his era, Charles Alexander dominated the Southeastern Conference in the late 1970’s. He becomes the eighth Tiger to enter the College Football Hall of Fame and third running back in the last five years, following Billy Cannon in 2008 and Jerry Stovall in 2010.

Nicknamed “Alexander the Great”, he left Baton Rouge as the most accomplished rusher in SEC history, holding the league’s career records for rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns. He became the first back in SEC history to break the 4,000-yard barrier and record 40 rushing touchdowns. Alexander earned consensus All-America honors and was named team MVP in 1977 by setting school and league records with 311 attempts for 1,686 yards and 17 touchdowns. His carries and yards marks remain single-season records at LSU. Alexander followed that up by again receiving consensus All-America accolades in 1978 by rushing 281 times for 1,172 yards and 14 touchdowns. His stellar efforts as a junior and senior helped lead the Tigers to back-to-back bowl games, rushing for a combined 330 yards in the 1977 Sun Bowl and the 1978 Liberty Bowl.

The Missouri City, Texas, native was chosen in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He amassed 2,645 rushing yards and 1,130 receiving yards during seven seasons in Cincinnati, helping the Bengals reach Super Bowl XVI.

A former member of the Tiger Athletic Foundation Board of Directors, Alexander worked with the Louisiana State Youth Opportunities Unlimited. He also regularly volunteered with the United Way in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a member of the Bengals. He was named to the LSU Modern Day Team of the Century and is also a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, the 75th Anniversary All-Sun Bowl Team and the Houston Area All-1970’s Team.

OTIS ARMSTRONG
Purdue University
Halfback, 1970-72

One of the top runners of his era, Otis Armstrong left school owning Big Ten MVP honors, First Team All-Conference accolades and the league’s all-time rushing record. He becomes the sixth Boilermaker to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.

The eighth-place finisher in 1972 Heisman Trophy voting and a consensus All-American, Armstrong’s 3,315 career rushing yards set school and conference records and placed him sixth in NCAA history at career’s end. Armstrong’s senior campaign in 1972 remains the best in Purdue history. He earned the Swede Nelson Award for great sportsmanship and team MVP honors by rushing 243 times for 1,361 yards, accumulating 1,868 all-purpose yards (all of which set single-season school records at the time). Armstrong led the Big Ten in rushing that season, and his 276-yard effort versus Indiana remains a school best. His 670 career carries remain a school record.

A first round selection by the Denver Broncos in the 1973 NFL Draft, Armstrong played eight seasons with Denver. He led the NFL in rushing in 1974, earning First Team All-Pro honors and appearing in his first of two Pro Bowls. The Englewood, Colo., native helped the Broncos appear in Super Bowl XII. Armstrong is an active church member, and he frequently helps young children stay out of trouble by teaching football skills. He was inducted into the Purdue Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.

STEVE BARTKOWSKI
University of California
Quarterback, 1972-74

Another legend in a long line of prolific Pac-12 passers, Steve Bartkowski becomes the 16th California Golden Bear to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Bartkowski earned consensus All-America honors by leading the nation in passing with 2,580 yards in 1974. The gunslinger also set school single-season records during his senior campaign by attempting 325 passes and accumulating 2,387 yards of total offense. He was universally named the best quarterback in the West following his senior year after being named team MVP, First Team All-Pac-10, an All-Coast Team selection and the NorCal Player of the Year. His four 300-yard passing games set a school record and still rank among the top five in Golden Bears history.

The first pick of the 1975 NFL Draft, Bartkowski played 11 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and one year with the Los Angeles Rams. He was named the 1975 NFL Rookie of the Year, appeared in two Pro Bowls and compiled 24,124 career passing yards.

In addition to his football exploits, Bartkowski was an All-American first baseman for the Golden Bears baseball team in 1973. He became a member of the California Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. Bartkowski also hosted the outdoors shows Backroad Adventures with Steve Bartkowski on TNN and Suzuki’s Great Outdoors with Steve Bartkowski on ESPN. The Atlanta native serves on the board of directors for multiple organizations and is a member of the Christian Sportsmen Fellowship.

HAL BEDSOLE
University of Southern California
Split End, 1961-63

Ahead of his time as a long, big-play threat, Hal Bedsole helped College Football Hall of Fame coach John McKay and USC win the 1962 national championship. He becomes the 30th Trojan to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.

Bedsole set school single-season receiving records during his consensus All-America 1962 campaign, corralling 33 passes for 827 yards and 11 touchdowns. He became the first player in USC history to top 200 receiving yards in a single game on Oct. 20, 1962 in a win over California. He capped the record-setting year with a huge game in the 1963 Rose Bowl, leading top-ranked USC over No. 2 Wisconsin with two touchdown passes in a 42-37 Trojans victory. The two-time All-Pac-8 honoree led the Men of Troy in scoring in 1961 and 1962 and set a school record by averaging 20.94 yards per reception for his career. He caught 82 passes for 1,717 yards with 20 touchdowns during his years on campus.

Drafted by the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs in 1964, Bedsole played three seasons in Minnesota. Inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001, Bedsole retired after a long career as a radio broadcast sales manager.

DAVE CASPER
University of Notre Dame
Tight End, 1971-73

Cited by College Football Hall of Fame coach Ara Parseghian as perhaps the greatest athlete he ever coached, Dave Casper earned All-America honors on the field and in the classroom. He becomes Notre Dame’s 44th player to be selected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Serving as Notre Dame’s co-captain and offensive MVP during his senior season of 1973, Casper led the Fighting Irish to a national championship while earning consensus All-America honors. He was also named an NFF National Scholar-Athlete, a CoSIDA Academic All-American, and an NCAA postgraduate scholarship winner. Casper was a proficient tight end, catching three passes for 75 yards in No. 5 Notre Dame’s 24-23 win over No. 1 Alabama in the 1973 Sugar Bowl. A versatile asset, he also saw action at split end, as an offensive tackle and along the defensive line during his career.

Taken in the second round of the 1974 NFL Draft, he played 11 seasons for the Oakland Raiders, Houston Oilers and the Minnesota Vikings. The Alamo, Calif., resident was named a First Team All-Pro performer five times, appeared in four Pro Bowls and was chosen to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

A long-time member of the NFF Chicago Metro Chapter, Casper sat on the Ronald McDonald House’s board of directors beginning in 1986. He founded the Dave Casper Celebrity Golf Tournament in 1985 to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. Casper also supports the Big Brother/Big Sister Organization and Rotary International. He received the GTE Academic Hall of Fame for Outstanding Career Achievement and Contributions to the Community award in 1993, and he was one of six people to receive an NCAA Silver Anniversary Award for living a life of distinction in 1999.

TY DETMER
Brigham Young University
Quarterback, 1988-91

With a Heisman Trophy, a Maxwell Award, two Davey O’Brien Awards and 59 NCAA records, Ty Detmer left BYU as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in college football history. His accomplishments led him to become a College Football Hall of Fame inductee, and the sixth Cougar to enter the sport’s ultimate shrine.

Twice named a consensus All-American, Detmer won national player of the year awards from organizations such as UPI, CBS, Scripps Howard and the U.S. Sports Academy. His 15,031 career passing yards and 121 touchdowns were NCAA bests at the time, and the gunslinger still holds nine NCAA records. A three-time First Team All-WAC performer, Detmer led College Football Hall of Fame coach LaVell Edwards’ teams to three conference championships, four bowl games, three AP top 25 finishes, a 28-21 win over top-ranked and defending national champion Miami on Sept. 8, 1990 and a 37-13-2 overall record. The NCAA Today’s Top VI Award recipient still holds 10 school records, including the season and career marks for total offense, passing yards and 400-yard games.

A ninth round selection of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, Detmer played 14 seasons with the Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons.

The founder of the Ty Detmer Charitable Foundation, he regularly holds the Ty Detmer Youth Football League in Grants, N.M. He remains involved in the Davey O’Brien Foundation and the Children’s Miracle Network, and he makes yearly appearances at numerous fundraising events for youth organizations. A 2000 inductee of the BYU Athletics Hall of Fame, Detmer is currently the head coach at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas.

TOMMY KRAMER
Rice University
Quarterback, 1973-76

One of only two quarterbacks in college football history to earn consensus All-America honors for a sub-.500 team since 1970, Tommy Kramer proved his worth by finishing fifth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1976. Kramer becomes the sixth Owl to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

A consensus All-American in 1976, Kramer led the nation with 3,317 passing yards and 3,272 yards of total offense. Both marks ranked second in NCAA single-season history at the time. The 1976 Southwest Conference Player of the Year became the first player in league history to top 3,000 yards of total offense in a single season while also recording four of the top eight passing performances in SWC history. The San Antonio native held every career and single-season school record for passing and total offense for more than 30 years, and he led the Owls in passing all four years on campus.

Chosen by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 1977 NFL Draft, Kramer compiled nearly 25,000 career passing and 159 touchdowns yards during 14 NFL seasons. He was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year and earned his only Pro Bowl berth during the 1986 campaign.

Kramer was chosen to the Rice Athletics Hall of Fame and also the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. He earned the nickname “Two-Minute Tommy” for executing multiple late-game comebacks. A Kiwanis Club member, Kramer is still active with the Rice football program, returning to campus annually for the Huddle Up football reunion and serving as the Owls’ honorary captain on numerous occasions.

ART MONK
Syracuse University
Wide Receiver, 1976-79

The winner of the Lambert Trophy as the top college football player in the Eastern U.S. in both his freshman and senior seasons, Art Monk became the mark of consistency during his remarkable career with the Orange, earning First Team All-America honors in 1979. Monk is the ninth Syracuse player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.

As a senior in 1979, Monk hauled in 40 receptions for 716 yards (17.9 yards per reception) with three touchdowns. He set a school record in 1977 for most receptions and receiving yards by a sophomore, catching 41 passes for 590 yards and four scores. With 1,644 career receiving yards in 35 games, Monk set a school record with a 47-receiving yards per game average. He also recorded the greatest game by a receiver in Syracuse history on Nov. 5, 1977 against Navy, catching 14 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. A versatile playmaker who entered college as a running back, he posted 31 kickoff returns for 675 yards and 44 punt returns for 430 yards. Monk ranks sixth in school history with 3,899 career all-purpose yards. The last player to lead Syracuse in receiving for three consecutive seasons, Monk led Syracuse to its first bowl victory in 13 years with a 31-7 win over McNeese State in the 1979 Independence Bowl.

Chosen in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft, Monk played for the Washington Redskins from 1980-93 and the New York Jets in 1994. He set an all-time single-season receiving mark in 1984 by catching 106 passes. Monk broke Steve Largent’s all-time career receiving record with 819 career receptions, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

An active member of the NFF Central New York Chapter, Monk sits on the board of trustees at Syracuse. The co-founder of the Good Samaritan Foundation, he has worked with the Leukemia Society, Project Harvest and I Have a Dream.

GREG MYERS
Colorado State University
Defensive Back, 1992-95

The personification of “student-athlete” and the winner of the 1995 Thorpe Award, Greg Myers claimed as many decorations off the field as he did for his stellar on-field performance. Myers becomes the second Ram to enter the College Football Hall of Fame, following 1981 inductee Thurman McGraw.

The first player in WAC history to earn All-WAC honors four times, Myers holds the league record with seven all-conference selections, four as a defensive back and three as a return specialist. A two-time First Team All-American, Myers led the NCAA with 555 punt return yards and three punt return touchdowns. He also set the WAC record with 1,332 career punt return yards, and he posted Colorado State records with three punt return scores and a 15.9-yard average. As a defensive back, he totaled 295 tackles and 15 interceptions. Myers helped guide the Rams to back-to-back WAC titles and Holiday Bowl berths.

A 1995 NFF National Scholar-Athlete, he was also named the Honda Scholar-Athlete of the Year that fall. Myers was named a two-time Academic All-American and a four-time Academic All-WAC honoree. The 1996 Nye Trophy recipient as CSU’s most outstanding male athlete in academics, he was named to the NCAA Today’s Top VIII. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences in 1996 and a M.D. from the University of Colorado in 2006.

A fifth round pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, Myers played five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys. A 2001 Colorado State University Sports Hall of Fame inductee and a 2012 Colorado Sports Hall of Fame member, Myers has sponsored the Greg Myers Scholarship Golf Tournament to raise money for student-athletes. He has worked with Shriners Hospitals; made numerous appearances at inner-city schools; and participated in Doug Pelfrey’s Kicks for Kids. He is a member of the Groupsmart Community Outreach Program.

JONATHAN OGDEN
University of California – Los Angeles
Offensive Tackle, 1992-95

A unanimous All-American and the winner of the Outland Trophy in 1995, Jonathan Ogden was a cornerstone left tackle all four years he spent as a Bruin. He becomes the 11th UCLA player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Ogden won the Morris Trophy as the Pac-10’s top offensive lineman, the UPI Lineman of the Year award and shared the Henry “Red” Sanders Award as the Bruins’ most valuable player as a senior in 1995. The four-year starter allowed just one sack as a senior.

Ogden experienced success early during his years in Westwood, earning the John Boncheff, Jr. Memorial Award as UCLA’s top freshman and a Freshman All-America nod from The Sporting News. Playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach Terry Donahue, he also helped the Bruins win the Pac-10 title in 1993. Ogden’s No. 79 jersey is one of eight to be retired by UCLA. A two-sport athlete, he earned two top-five finishes in shot-put at the NCAA Indoor Championships and also placed fourth in shot-put at the 1995 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

The fourth overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, Ogden played 12 seasons for the Baltimore Ravens. He started 176-of-177 games; earned First Team All-Pro honors four times; and appeared in 11 Pro Bowls. Ogden helped the Ravens win Super Bowl XXXV.

He founded the Jonathan Ogden Foundation, which aims to assist inner-city students through athletics, and the foundation supported the NFF’s Play It Smart program at Patterson HS in Baltimore for many years. The Henderson, Nev., resident also established the Ogden Club, which hires tutors to work with Baltimore City high schools, and in turn enlists high school athletes to tutor at local elementary schools. Ogden stages the Jonathan Ogden Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament, benefitting youths in Las Vegas and Baltimore.

GABE RIVERA
Texas Tech University
Defensive Tackle, 1979-82

The most accomplished defensive lineman in Texas Tech history, Gabe Rivera was a consensus All-American as a senior in 1982. He becomes the fourth Red Raider to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.

Carrying the nickname “Señor Sack”, Rivera averaged 80 tackles per season from his defensive tackle spot. He compiled 62 solo tackles, 43 assists, 10 TFL, five sacks, 25 quarterback pressures and eight pass breakups during his All-America campaign in 1982. He was named an Honorable Mention All-American in 1980 and 1981, and earned First Team All-Southwest Conference honors in 1982 and Second Team All-SWC accolades in 1981.

Chosen with the 21st overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft, Rivera played six games for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rivera had his career cut short when he was left a paraplegic by injuries suffered in a car accident midway through his rookie season.

Rivera was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. He is also a member of the Texas Tech Hall of Honor. He has volunteered as a tutor with Inner City Development in San Antonio, and he has worked with Gridiron Heroes, a nonprofit that aids high school football players that have suffered spinal cord injuries.

MARK SIMONEAU
Kansas State University
Linebacker, 1996-99

A two-time All-American, Mark Simoneau stands as possibly the greatest defender in Kansas State history. He becomes the second Wildcat to enter the game’s ultimate shrine following Gary Spani a decade earlier.

A three-time team captain, Simoneau holds a school record with 251 career unassisted tackles, ranks third in school history with 400 total tackles, 52 TFL and eight forced fumbles. The 1999 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year also notched 15.5 sacks and seven fumble recoveries. A 1999 Butkus Award runner-up and a three-time First Team All-Big 12 selection, he led Kansas State to one of the greatest stretches in school history. With Simoneau on the roster, the Wildcats earned a 42-7 record, a 28-4 record in Big 12 play, a claim to two Big 12 North titles, three AP top 10 finishes, the first No. 1 ranking in school history, and wins in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl and the 1999 Holiday Bowl.

Drafted in the third round of the 2000 NFL Draft, Simoneau played 11 seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs. He recorded 370 total tackles in 124 career NFL games.

Simoneau has participated in service events with local children’s hospitals, retirement homes and the United Way of New Orleans. Simoneau’s high school was the center piece of the book Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen by Joe Drape.

SCOTT THOMAS
United States Air Force Academy
Safety, 1982-85

A driving force in one of the most successful four-year runs in the history of Air Force football, Scott Thomas earned consensus All-America honors his senior year in 1985. He becomes the third Falcon player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.

Playing for 2011 Hall of Fame coach Fisher DeBerry, Thomas notched 221 career tackles with four TFL, 10 interceptions, 22 pass breakups while averaging 28.8 yards per kickoff return. He returned a punt, kickoff and interception for a touchdown during his 1985 All-America campaign. A two-time All-WAC honoree, Thomas led the Falcons to the first conference title in program history with a 12-1 record and No. 5 final ranking in 1985. He also guided Air Force to a 38-12 overall record, four consecutive bowl wins, four wins over Notre Dame, the first top 10 finish in academy history and three Commander-in-Chief’s Trophies with a 7-1 record against storied rivals Army and Navy.

Thomas also was a four-year letterman for the Air Force basketball team, and he logged more than 4,100 hours of military flight time. He gained national attention during the first Gulf War after his plane went down over enemy territory in 1991. Thomas currently serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force reserves while working as a commercial pilot.

A regular keynote speaker for nonprofit organizations, he volunteers with Young Life youth ministries and as a little league coach. He is also a Kiwanis Club member. Thomas served as the guest picker during ESPN’s College GameDay visit for the Army game on Nov. 7, 2009. Thomas is a 2011 United States Air Force Academy Athletic Hall of Fame inductee.

JOHN WOOTEN
University of Colorado
Offensive Guard, 1956-58

Described as a “quick, agile tackle who provided bone-crunching lead blocks” by Colorado historian Fred Casotti, John Wooten blazed a path for others to follow, becoming one of the first African-Americans to earn All-America honors as a lineman. The 1958 All-American will join five other Buffalo players as College Football Hall of Fame inductees.

Wooten paved the way for one of the most powerful rushing attacks in college football, driving the Buffaloes to rank 12th nationally in 1956 with 252.1 yards per game, first in 1957 with 322.4 yards per outing and fifth in 1958 with 249.5 yards per game. In 1957, Colorado finished second in the country with 415.2 yards of total offense per game, and running back Bob Stransky ranked second nationally with 1,097 rushing yards. The 1957 All-Big 7 performer also saw action on the defensive line where he recorded half a dozen fumble recoveries. Wooten aided Colorado to a 20-9-2 overall record with a 27-21 victory over Clemson in the 1957 Orange Bowl.

Chosen in the fifth round of the 1959 NFL Draft, Wooten played 10 seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins, appearing in 136 games. A two-time All-Pro, he participated in two Pro Bowls. He is a 2010 inductee to the Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor.

After retiring from football, Wooten had a long administrative career with the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens before retiring in 1998. He was named to Colorado’s All-Century Team in 1989, the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. Wooten serves as the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, which works to promote diversity in NFL coaching, front office and scouting staffs.

PHILLIP FULMER
University of Tennessee
Head Coach, 152-52-0 (74.5%)

Tennessee’s head coach from 1992-2008, Phillip Fulmer led the Volunteers to the school’s sixth national championship in 1998. Under Fulmer’s leadership, Tennessee finished in the AP top 25 in 13-of-17 seasons and appeared in 15 bowl games.

The 1998 National Coach of the Year achieved 137 wins in his first 15 campaigns, tying for the fourth-most in a 15-year span in college football history. Fulmer owned two SEC championships, a piece of seven SEC East Division titles, an impressive 5-0 record when playing the nation’s No. 1-ranked team, an 88-19 home record and nine 10-win seasons. He trails only College Football Hall of Fame coach Gen. Robert Neyland on Tennessee’s all-time wins list. Fulmer’s teams appeared in two BCS games, winning the first national title in the system’s history with a victory over Florida State in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl.

Fulmer coached two William V. Campbell Trophy winners in Peyton Manning and Michael Munoz. Nineteen players earned First Team All-America honors under Fulmer, and 70 Volunteers were named First Team All-SEC during his tenure. He also coached nine 1,000-yard rushers and six 1,000-yard receivers.

A co-captain of the 1971 Volunteers football team, Fulmer is the national spokesperson for the Jason Foundation, an educational organization aimed at preventing teenage suicide. A member of the board of directors for Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Inc., he is active with Boys and Girls Club, Team Focus, and Child and Family Services. The 2003 American Football Coaches Association president, Fulmer is the co-chair for the Ride for Prostate Cancer event and the vice-chair for Boy Scouts of America. He contributed $1 million to the University of Tennessee to be split evenly between athletics and academics. Fulmer was inducted to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

JIMMY JOHNSON
Oklahoma State University, University of Miami
Head Coach, 81-34-3 (70.0%)

The Oklahoma State head coach from 1979-83 and Miami head coach from 1984-88, Jimmy Johnson continuously led his teams to victory, earning numerous coaching honors along the way and the national title with the Hurricanes in 1987, capped by a 20-14 victory over Oklahoma in the 1988 Orange Bowl.

Johnson began his head coaching career in Stillwater, Okla., leading the Cowboys to a 29-25-3 mark. He won Big 8 Coach of the Year honors his first year after taking Oklahoma State to a 7-4 record. Under Johnson, the Cowboys won the 1981 Independence Bowl and the 1983 Bluebonnet Bowl. He coached 15 First Team All-Big 8 performers during his five seasons with the Pokes.

At Miami, Johnson enjoyed a 52-9 mark in five seasons with five New Year’s Day bowl appearances. During his final four seasons in Miami, he posted a remarkable 44-4 record, including four top 10 finishes and two national title appearances. He earned two National Coach of the Year distinctions while coaching 12 First Team All-Americans. Johnson’s star pupils included future College Football Hall of Famers Bennie Blades and Russell Maryland as well as the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner in Vinny Testaverde. Johnson’s tenure was the genesis of an NCAA-record 58 home-game winning streak, which lasted from 1985-94.

A member of Arkansas’ 1964 national championship team, Johnson became the only person to win a college national championship as a player and coach and lead a team to a Super Bowl victory when he guided the Dallas Cowboys to victories in back-to-back Super Bowl victories following the 1992 and 1993 seasons. In the NFL, he held the Cowboys head coaching job from 1989-93 and with the Miami Dolphins from 1996-99.

A member of the University of Arkansas, University of Miami, State of Texas and State of Florida Sports Halls of Fame, Johnson supports charities such as The Children’s Health Fund, Malaria No More, City of Hope, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Johnson, who works as an NFL analyst on FOX, has donated his time visiting troops overseas and hosting a fundraiser for the Gridiron Greats Foundation, which raises money for former NFL players in need of medical assistance.

R.C. SLOCUM
Texas A&M University
Head Coach, 123-47-2 (72.1%)

The head coach at Texas A&M from 1989-2002, R.C. Slocum is the winningest coach in Texas A&M and Southwest Conference history. A four-time national coach of the year honoree, Slocum’s Aggies experienced reigns of dominance over the SWC, including a 22-game league winning streak, a 28-0-1 conference record from 1991-94, and three SWC titles. He also led the Texas A&M to one of the school’s landmark victories on Dec. 5, 1998, with a 36-33 double-overtime upset of Kansas State, which gave the Aggies their only Big 12 championship and only win over a No. 1-ranked team.

Slocum led the Aggies to 11 bowl games in 14 seasons, five New Year’s Day bowl appearances and 10 AP top 25 finishes. He retired as college football’s sixth-winningest active coach. Under Slocum’s leadership, 14 players earned First Team All-America status. Linebacker Dat Nguyen submitted one of the finest seasons in school history in 1998, winning the Bednarik and Lombardi awards.

Slocum, a standout receiver and defensive lineman for at McNeese State, holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from his alma mater, and he was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2001. He currently works as a special assistant to President R. Bowen Loftin at Texas A&M.

A Texas Sports Hall of Fame and Texas A&M University Athletics Hall of Fame member, Slocum served as the chairman of the Children’s Miracle Network in Central Texas as well as the Cattle Baron’s Association, which raises scholarship money for young people in ranching. He is active with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Scotty’s House home for abused children. A former AFCA Board of Trustees member, he served as grand marshal at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade. 

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Top 5 moments of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry

Posted on 12 January 2011 by Luke Jones

Saturday marks the 33rd meeting (including playoffs) between the Ravens and Steelers in the 15 years since the NFL returned to Baltimore.

With Pittsburgh holding a 20-12 all-time edge and always coming out on top when the stakes are at their highest, the highlights are admittedly scarce from the Baltimore perspective despite the matchup blossoming into the most intense rivalry in the NFL. A conflict bred from off-field venom and disdain (circa 2001) has morphed into mutual respect and even tighter competition in recent years as the last six meetings in the regular season have been decided by four or fewer points (the Steelers won 23-14 victory in the 2008 AFC Championship).

The divisional-round encounter will add another memorable chapter to Baltimore-Pittsburgh lore, but before looking ahead to potential triumph or bitter disappointment, we look back at the top 5 moments (with a couple honorable mentions added for good measure) in the history of Ravens vs. Steelers — from the Baltimore perspective.

And for our Pittsburgh brethren lurking and ready to chime in, be sure to check back later in the week for the five worst moments in the Ravens-Steelers rivalry.

Honorable mention >>>

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Ravens 10-Pack: Baltimore feeling Super at 4-1

Posted on 12 October 2010 by Luke Jones

Even with the daunting task of traveling to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots this Sunday, you have to feel good about the Ravens’ 4-1 start and the early lead atop the AFC North with the first month of the season already in the books.

With three of the first four on the road (two of them division games), you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thought the Ravens would fare better than they have after road victories against the Jets and Steelers. And when you take a look around the rest of the league, the Ravens’ accomplishments look even more impressive.

Parity is a word all-too-familiar to NFL fans, but the notion seemed to be waning over the last few seasons with the regular-season success of the 2007 Patriots and extended runs at perfection by the Colts and Saints last year. However, with the 1972 Dolphins uncorking the champagne before Columbus Day — with no 4-0 teams in the NFL since 1970 — and only eight teams sporting one loss through the first five weeks of the season, 2010 appears up for grabs in mid-October.

Are the Ravens the best team in the NFL?

Being this early, who cares? But it’s difficult to argue any team has looked better than Baltimore.

If the Ravens can beat New England (3-1), it will mark just the second 5-1 start in franchise history, the other coming in the 2000 season.

However, for some perspective, at the time of the 5-1 start, Tony Banks was the starting quarterback and the Ravens had just won their second straight game without scoring a touchdown.

Things changed very quickly — in a bad way — before a historic run began and Trent Dilfer and the Ravens found themselves holding the Lombardi Trophy at the end of January.

1. Since taking over as head coach in 2008, John Harbaugh has shown the uncanny ability to take care of business against inferior teams, home or away.

In 37 regular season games under Harbaugh, the Ravens have never lost to a team that finished the season with a losing record. As unimpressive as that might sound to the casual observer, you’ll find a “bad” loss by a playoff-caliber team nearly every week in the NFL.

Of course, the opposite argument can be made that the Ravens have fallen short too many times against quality opponents — especially last season when they struggled to get to the playoffs at 9-7 — but winning the games you’re supposed to win and holding your own against winning teams will put you in an enviable position.

The postseason.

Time will determine whether their Week 2 loss in Cincinnati breaks the string, but the Harbaugh-led Ravens have managed to avoid the unwarranted defeats the team suffered in previous seasons.

2. All eyes will be on Bill Belichick and the Patriots in their first game since trading disgruntled receiver Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings and re-acquiring former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks. The removal of Moss will undoubtedly impact the New England offense, but how much?

Expect a little gadgetry on Sunday as Tom Brady deciphers where everyone fits in the post-Moss era.

Of course, Belichick had an extra week to figure it out with the Patriots’ Week 5 bye, and his record in New England coming off the bye week is an impressive 8-2, including seven straight wins. But before we write off the Ravens at Gillette Stadium and bow to the genius of Belichick, we should remember that four of the last six have come against the Buffalo Bills.

Not to belittle an impressive feat, but game-planning against a team led in recent years by the likes of Dick Jauron and Mike Mularkey is a bit easier than facing the team that blasted you in the playoffs just nine months ago.

In the Harbaugh era, the Ravens are 2-1 when playing teams coming off their bye week. All three games were last season, which included wins against Cleveland and Denver as well as a road loss to Cincinnati.

3. Putting aside the obvious threat of Brady to Wes Welker, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s biggest concern might be a pair of rookie tight ends.

Through the Patriots’ first four games, Welker leads the team in receptions (26), but not receiving yards. That distinction belongs to Aaron Hernandez (18 catches for 240 yards) despite being the second tight end drafted (fourth round) by New England in April. Rob Gronkowski, a second-round selection, has posted modest numbers (six catches for 62 yards) but was an impressive talent eyed by the Ravens leading up to the draft.

The Ravens have struggled covering the intermediate middle of the field in recent years, so the inside linebacker corps of Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain, and Dannell Ellerbe will need to keep a close eye on these rookie targets.

4. As much as we lamented the absence of Matt Stover a season ago, let’s tip our caps to Billy Cundiff. His ability to boot the football deep into the end zone on kickoffs is an underappreciated factor in the Ravens being 4-1.

His four touchbacks against the Broncos on Sunday matched the total number by Baltimore kickers all of last year.

Whispers of Stover will not dissipate — if they ever do — until we see Cundiff make a 47-yarder to win a late-season game, but the distinct upgrade on kickoffs cannot be overlooked.

As great as Stover was with the game on the line, fans easily forget his kickoffs barely traveling inside the 10-yard line, often setting up the opponent with good field position.

5. Plenty has been said about Cam Cameron’s choice to use Haloti Ngata at tight end on Sunday’s opening drive and the near-disaster that followed with the defensive tackle down on the field.

I offer you three names: James Jones (1996), Herman Arvie (1996), and Jonathan Ogden (1996 and 2003), three linemen who all registered touchdown catches with the Ravens.

The difference in this case? Cameron and Harbaugh have too many offensive weapons at their disposal to risk losing one of the greatest defensive players in the game today. Why spend draft picks on two tight ends to complement Todd Heap and then risk your best defensive player trying to be too cute?

Ngata playing offense was a fun spectacle until we saw what nearly happened with the Ravens’ season flashing before the eyes of 71,000 people at M&T Bank Stadium.

Lesson learned — hopefully.

6. It was natural for questions to arise whether the Ravens had any interest in bringing back Antwan Barnes after he was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles last week, but  Harbaugh promptly shot down the idea on Monday. (Update: Barnes signed a contract with the San Diego Chargers on Wednesday afternoon)

In three years with the Ravens, the linebacker-defensive end managed only five sacks and sealed his fate last October when he whiffed on a tackle of Cedric Benson that led to a 28-yard touchdown run and an eventual loss to the Bengals.

Barnes is too small to provide help at defensive end, where the Ravens need a consistent pass-rush threat, and not athletic enough to play linebacker on every down. If they didn’t want him before the season, what would have changed a month later?

“I haven’t had a conversation with him,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “We don’t really have a roster opportunity right now for that. We wouldn’t be opposed to it. Antwan’s a good person, a good player. Obviously, he’s done some good things here. But, right now, there’s no way roster-wise we could pull that off.”

In other words, “Thanks, but no thanks — we’ve moved on.”

7. If all goes to plan and you believe the recent comments made by Harbaugh, Sunday will mark the final game before All-Pro safety Ed Reed returns to the 53-man roster after beginning the season on the physically unable to perform list.

During training camp, I said Tom Zbikowski would do an adequate job at free safety in Reed’s absence, and the third-year safety has done just that. So with the Ravens currently having the second-best pass defense in the NFL (behind only the New York Giants), the question must be asked:

How well will Reed fit into the secondary when he returns to the starting lineup?

The Baltimore defense no longer plays the exotic, aggressive schemes of Rex Ryan, but employs a conservative, “bend, but don’t break” style under Mattison. Reed has always gambled in the defensive backfield, at times leaving teammates out to dry in coverage while also making some of the greatest plays in NFL history.

With the 32-year-old returning from hip surgery, it will be interesting to see whether Reed takes a more conservative approach in coverage or returns with a bigger chip on his shoulder to prove he’s still one of the best defensive players in the league and deserving of the new contract he so desperately wants. If Reed proves to be a lesser player than he was prior to the hip procedure but plays with the same aggressive style, the secondary could be more vulnerable to the big play.

That said, it is hard to doubt a player who will one day be enshrined in Canton.

8. Speaking of injured players, you have to wonder how long the Ravens will continue to wait for Jared Gaither to return. Other than being a limited participant in one practice a couple weeks ago, the offensive tackle has been out with a thoracic disc injury since training camp.

With roster decisions looming with Reed and fellow PUP list members Brendon Ayanbadejo and Matt Lawrence, Ozzie Newsome and Harbaugh may need to pull the plug on the projected starter at right tackle.

The improved play of Marshal Yanda at right tackle and Chris Chester at right guard has eased concerns on the right side of the line. Cohesion upfront is difficult to develop, so Gaither’s potential return would require another period of adjustment, something the coaching staff might be uncomfortable with later in the season.

Keep in mind, Gaither has not played right tackle regularly since the early part of his collegiate career at Maryland, so this isn’t a savvy veteran who can step right in to his regular position when healthy.

If Gaither does not make significant progress by the bye week, his season will likely come to a disappointing end.

9. Much has been said about the return of the three-headed running attack and the 2008-like feel to Sunday’s win over the Broncos, but don’t expect it to last.

Like it or not, the Ravens’ current profile is a pass-first team that runs the ball efficiently. The dominating 233-yard rushing performance against Denver was more the effect of a comfortable lead than some epiphany for Cameron.

Of Joe Flacco’s 97 completions through five games, 50 have been for under 10 yards, looking a little like the “running” game of the Patriots with Brady under helm. However, his 6.6 yards per attempt (the lowest of his career) needs to increase for the offense to continue growing.

Despite the profile change — which really began last season — the ability to pound the football looms large when the elements grow harsh, and the Ravens will use it when appropriate.

10. Ranking 19th in the league in total offense (328.2 yards per game) and tied for 17th in points scored (18.4 per game), the Baltimore offense has room for improvement with Cameron and Flacco trying to distribute the ball to keep a plethora of talented players — and egos — happy.

As well as the defense has played, it hasn’t done its counterpart any favors in the turnover department with only three takeaways and a -6 turnover differential, both last in the AFC.

Nothing gives an offense more confidence than starting drives on a short field, and a few more turnovers might be the serum the offense needs to excel. Fortunately, the defense and kick coverage has played well enough to win the field-position battle in most instances, but the turnover differential must improve if the Ravens are to take a step toward elitism, offensively and as a team.

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