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NFL – Special – Men Who Played The Game – Colts Art Donovan & Lions Bobby Lane imasportsphile.com


There are many reasons why I enjoy watching NFL Films productions….cuz they simply had the best eye through the lense of the camera…and when you coupled that with their understanding of the NFL game and its players….you have a video that is worth watching over and over again.

The “Men Who Played the Game” series is one of my very favorites….cuz NFL Films did not just choose the greatest players to feature in their films….for they liked to also go into the character of the pro players….and in this video….they picked one of the all time greatest characters to ever play the game….Baltimore Colts DT Art Donovan.

On the day of Art Donovan’s passing on August 5, 2013….the following article was written by Douglas Martin for the Baltimore newspaper as follows….“Art Donovan, a 300-pound tackle for the Baltimore Colts whose nimble brutality helped propel him to the Hall of Fame and his team to two championships in the 1950s, and whose humor-laced tales about himself and the game won him an equal helping of celebrity, died on Sunday in Baltimore. at the age of 89.”…..as the Baltimore Ravens, the city’s current football team, announced his death.

Donovan was an All-Pro defensive tackle, played in five Pro Bowls….who in 1968 became the first Colt and the first pure defensive lineman inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio….as the  12-year National Football League veteran was one of the Colts’ “Magnificent Seven”….which was led by quarterback Johnny Unitas….who along with Donovan helped make the 1958 league championship showdown against the Giants at Yankee Stadium the greatest game ever played….that is of course in the opinion of many football historians.  The Colts won the game, 23-17 on a Unitas-led drive in the league’s first sudden-death overtime championship game. A national television audience of 40 million watched this game as it spilled into the night….and suddenly, baseball was no longer America’s indisputable national sport.

Other members of The Magnificent Seven may have been better known than Donovan….with the likes of QB Johnny Unitas, RB Lenny Moore, WR Raymond Berry, OT Jim Parker, DE Gino Marchetti and Coach Weeb Ewbank….but Donovan’s smack-down belligerence coupled with astounding agility for a 6-foot-3, 300-pound behemoth….was at the center of the Colts’ effort. Donovan made a key tackle to help set up their final drive in “the greatest game ever played”…. but always self-deprecating….he volunteered in his autobiography that at another point in the game, he had ended up flat on his back.

Art Donovan wasn’t just an incredible football player….for he was also one of the great characters of all time in the NFL….and he deserves his place in history and part of Imasportsphile as long as we are posted. 

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