Letterman Pays Tribute to Art Donovan in Super Bowl Ad
by Joel Keller, posted Feb 10th 2010 5:01PM
If you were watching carefully during the now-momentous Letterman/Oprah/Leno promo for the 'Late Show' that aired during the Super Bowl, you'll notice that Dave was not wearing an #18 Peyton Manning Colts jersey, like he did in the 2007 promo with Oprah that kicked off this series. Instead, he wore a #70 Colts jersey, a number which is not on the team's current roster.
When I saw the promo for the tenth or eleventh time (for some reason, I still get a kick out of it), I vaguely recalled that #70 was the number for Art Donovan, a Hall of Fame defensive lineman for the then-Baltimore Colts in the '50s and '60s. He was also a frequent TV presence in the '80s and '90s, telling hilarious stories about his playing days on Letterman's shows, as well as many others.
Richard Roeper wondered this, too, and confirmed it in his column this morning. See what happens when you follow up a notion with a simple Google search?
More on Donovan, including video, after the jump.
Donovan, who turns 85 in June, has been keeping a much lower profile these days. But memories of his TV appearances, which ranged from Lite beer ads to his appearances on Letterman's shows, are still fresh. He talked about being a regular, blue-collar guy, which is what professional sports were like in the days before TV rights deals, multi-million dollar contracts, seven-figure endorsement deals, and steroids. He prided himself on making it to the Hall of Fame on a pizza-and-beer lifestyle, and loved to tell (mostly) true stories about the guys he played with and against.
Below is a great example from a 1986 Letterman appearance, where he tells the story about how he lost a weekly $2,000 weight-related bonus instituted by his coach, Weeb Eubank, and his attempts to get the money back.