Our message board members have been counting down Baltimore football’s best players to wear each of the numbers from 99 through 1.
In this edition, we’ll count down numbers 79-70. ~Tyler Lombardi
We’ll let you decide this one.
#79 seems to be the biggest black hole we’ve hit yet. The most prominent Colt to wear it was a kicker. It really comes down to Larry Webster or Tony Pashos. Webster was a rotational guy who had some off-field issues. Pashos was a flash in the pan, but it was a big flash. He was a significant part of the reason that 2006 team went 13-3. He stabilized a position that had largely been a revolving door (in more ways than one.)
You could make a case for either, but I’d lean towards Pashos. ~HotInHere
Lou Michaels was much more than a kicker. Back in the day, “Kicker” was NOT a specialized position. He who could kick, kicked.
Michaels was a nasty, belligerent, effective DE for the Colts for a few years.
While not disparaging Webster’s contributions as a Raven rotational player, Michaels far outshone him in effectiveness and irreplaceability. ~jaydee414
No. 78 – DE Bubba Smith, Colts
Bubba Smith was on the team that lost SB3 and won SB5. He felt that the former was a fixed game but didn’t provide specifics. He never wore the ring from SB5 as it provided no relief to losing the former.
After football Bubba had a successful acting career. He did Miller Light commercials with Mike Ditka, appeared on TV series, but it mostly known as Mosses Hightower in the Police Academy series. Bubba left us too soon. He died at 66 with acute heart disease and drug intoxication. ~Bigfish
The Ravens have 2 fan favorites in Birk and Orlando Brown (aka Zeus). Birk played the majority of his 14 career as a Viking, but anchored the OL recently included the second Lombardi. Zeus was a giant mauling left tackle who played 6 years as a Raven. Either would be a nice choice if it was another number, but they are up against a player in Jim Parker if described in one word, legendary.
- 10 time All-Pro
- 8 time Pro-Bowler
- College football HOF
- Outland Award winner
- First offensive lineman who was a 1st ballot Hall of Fame inductee
- Number retired by Colts
- Top 100 player on every list. NFL films listed him as #32.
- Considered the best NFL player to ever wear #77 ~Bigfish
Joe Ehrmann was a staple of the mid-70s Colts that I grew up with. He played 8 solid seasons as a member of the Sack Pack. But what he has given to the youth of Baltimore since retiring (and continuing today) far outweighs anything he could have done on the field. Coach, preacher, philanthropist, mentor, and motivational speaker, Joe is literally saving lives. If we are giving Andy Nelson bonus points for his delicious barbeque, then we are making Joe Ehrmann our number 76. ~HotInHere
75 is Jonathan Ogden. One of the greatest left tackles to ever play the game. A man among boys. Too many Pro Bowls and All Pros to count. The first career Raven ever enshrined in Canton. And perhaps most importantly, J.O. set the tone for the organization. If you don’t believe me, imagine what would have happened had we drafted Lawrence Phillips instead.
On to #74. I have to confess I didn’t remember any Baltimore Colt 74’s off the top of my head that would be worthy. And I was terrified that I was going to have to list 74 as the only worthwhile Raven: Number 74, Michael Oher.
So thank you Billy Ray Smith. Another stalwart Colt defensive lineman, Billy Ray wore the horseshoes for the entire decade of the 60s, including one NFL Championship Game and two Super Bowls.
He was undersized even by the standards of the day, playing defensive tackle at only 230 lbs — roughly the same size as Bernard Pollard. But he had a mean streak, and could intimidate much larger guys across from him. His son played a decade for the Air Coryell Chargers. ~HotInHere
Several guys made a mark with the Baltimore Colts wearing that number.
But of course Baltimore’s all-time football number 73 is the guy who wears it now: Marshal, Marshal, Marshal Yanda. Four Pro Bowls, one All Pro, and a Super Bowl champion. Hopefully he will be a career Raven. He plays like a Raven as much as anyone ever has. No nonsense, no complaining, getting the job done, he brought the phrase “Embrace the Grind” to the team. ~HotInHere
We love our current #72. Kelechi Osemele came into the league as a dominant force, and was a major reason for the victory in SBXLVII. If he re-signs with the team, he has a chance to become Baltimore’s all-time greatest #72. But he’s not there yet.
Bob Vogel is in the Ohio State Hall of Fame, playing under Woody Hayes as one of the best linemen in college football. The Colts took him 5th overall, in spite of the fact that they already had Jim Parker. (Sound familiar, J.O. fans?) Parker moved to guard, and Vogel spent the next ten years protecting the Golden Arm’s blind side. He played in two Super Bowls and five Pro Bowls, and missed only one game in his career. Bob Vogel is Baltimore’s best 72, and he’s set a pretty high bar for K.O. to reach, should he attempt it. ~HotInHere
Like with #72, we are talking about a number that is currently occupied by a young stud on the Ravens offensive line. If Rick Wagner becomes a career Raven, and his career follows the trajectory he started last year, then he could become the all-time 71.
But number 71 is currently occupied in Baltimore by a man who actually did play his entire (eleven year) career in Baltimore. While Dan Sullivan played every position along the line during those eleven years, he is most remembered as a guard who carved out running lanes for Tom Matte and Lenny Moore. He played on both Super Bowl teams. Drafted in the third round out of Boston College, he immediately nestled under the wing of another Colt out of the same school: Art Donovan. The two remained close friends until Arthur’s death a couple years ago. ~HotInHere
Nobody wore #70 for the Ravens for very long. Harry Swayne wore it in SBXXXV, but it’s mostly been a backup lineman number in purple.
And only one man ever wore that number for the Colts. But man, he wore the HELL out of that number. He was the first one to wear it, and wore it so well they retired it. Arthur James Donovan Jr: four-time All Pro, two-time NFL Champion, NFL All-Decade team of the fifties, “Fatso” set the tone for the Baltimore Colts as a franchise. He was the first Baltimore Colt elected to Canton. The accolades go on and on. But off the field he was so much more.
You will never find anyone who had a bad encounter with Mr. Donovan. Most people who approached him for an autograph ended up having a beer with him. A true treasure of Baltimore, #70, Art Donovan. ~HotInHere