Hogs outnumber humans in Minnesota. This is a fact. The 1990 census uncovered 4,357,099 of us and 4,360,000 of them. Further bad news for us: The number of them just jumped by several.
Fortunately, they're just visiting. They'll be among the Washington Redskins leaving the state after the Super Bowl on Sunday.
''Vee hear about der Hogs - vut are der Hogs?'' German TV asked Jeff Bostic yesterday.
To answer, Bostic revealed what a Hog does when he's on his best behavior.
''We have Hogs' Night Out. We all have tuxedos, and the latest fashion touch is Converse tennis shoes. We go to some restaurant and try not to get in trouble.''
Names and numbers have changed somewhat through the years since former offensive line coach Joe Bugel noticed Russ Gr'imm and fellow Redskins offensive linemen rooting around in training camp in 1982 and sagely remarked, ''You look like a bunch of hogs.''
Grimm is now a Lesser Hog. Head Hogs are Bostic, the center, guards Raleigh McKenzie and Mark Schlereth, and tackles Jim Lachey and Joe Jacoby, who gives every impression of being suitably humble about being enshrined in Hog Heaven as a Charter Hog.
''It's something you ought to be proud of,'' said the 11-year guard-tackle. ''It's something to look back on. It's something great, because it opened the eyes of the media to what happens on the offensive line.''
Hogs think rugs smell
If there is a Boss Hog these days, it is Lachey, the 28-year-old former Ohio State lineman who was acquired by Washington in 1988 from the Los Angeles Raiders in a steal for quarterback Jay Schroeder. Lachey previously had played for the San Diego Chargers. Now, he threatens to muscle right into the, uh, Hog of Fame.
But he, too, is suitably humble. Try as one might, it's hard to find a really haughty Hog. Then again, being considered a Hog is probably a pretty humbling thing in itself.
''We don't talk about it (being Hogs, that is) as much as the other teams do,'' Lachey said. ''It is a great mystique. When I was out in San Diego and LA, you'd go into a grocery store and somebody was sure to say, 'Boy, you're a big guy - you must be a football player.' Then you go to Washington and in the checkout line a little old lady says, 'Oh, you're a Hog!' and starts critiquing the offensive line play.''
Though Hogs come and go (Jacoby, Bostic and Grimm are the only Charter Hogs left, unless you include 13-year tight end Don Warren), the essence of Hogism remains.
Hogs get down and dirty.
''We don't like this,'' Bostic said, kicking at the Metrodome rug. ''Hogs like mud.''
What it takes to be a Hog
Hogs aren't born, they're made.
''There's nothing really required,'' Grimm said. ''Obviously, if you play offensive line you've got some size to you. Everything else falls into place. You're out there sweating together, it's blood and mud and stuff, and everything else seems to blend in.''
He pointed to where Chip Lohmiller was entrancing the news media here for Sunday's game between the Redskins and Buffalo Bills. ''If you want to stay clean, you should be standing on the podium where Lohmiller's standing,'' he said.
All told - this is today's fun fact - the front five Hogs weigh in at 1,415 pounds, 285 of those belonging to Schlereth, who has undergone five surgical procedures on his left knee and three on the right, not including one complete knee reconstruction and one complete elbow reconstruction.
''I've also had chipped bones in the elbows, ankles and fingers,'' he said, ''but other than that I've been relatively healthy.''
As you can see, True Hogs suck it up, and when you get right down to it all offensive linemen are at the least lower-case, uncapitalized hogs.
As a token of his esteem, quarterback Mark Rypien presented each of the Hogs a watch. However, none was noticed to be wearing his yesterday.