Like millions, I stayed awake during a record-setting ‘Boring Bowl 53’


Famed newspaper columnist and humorist, Lewis Grizzard, coined nearly as many memorable sayings as his more famous colleagues of long ago, Mark Twain and Will Rogers.

Lewis was known for such classic witticisms as “Elvis is dead and I’m not feeling too good myself,” or “Chili dogs always bark at night.”

His most famous might have been: “If you’re not the lead dog in the dog sled, the scenery never changes.”

I never had a drop of Lewis’ prodigious talent for writing but, being in the same profession, our paths did cross a number of times over the years. Once, while making the way from a distant parking lot to my seat at Sanford Stadium, I stopped for few minutes to speak to Lewis and take a breather alongside a long white Limousine parked on the sidewalk just downhill from Gate 8. Lewis had hired the super-stretch Lincoln to chauffeur him and a few friends to the game. As usual wherever Lewis went, a crowd had gathered, giving him something he enjoyed nearly as much as his beloved Bulldogs — an audience. Some wag in the crowd asked Lewis what he thought about another game earlier that same day between two SEC teams who battled to the last second in a real barnburner.

Grizzard was not impressed.

“If it ain’t the Georgia Bullogs playing, it’s just two mules fightin’ over a turnip!,” quipped Lewis to the roaring delight of the partisan crowd.

Having spent formative years in the newspaper business as a sportswriter, I’ve covered many games in which I “had no dog in the hunt.”

And having matriculated at dear old UGA myself, I have always agreed with Lewis. Games which don’t involve our ‘Dawgs are just time-wasters till the real game comes on.

Which brings me to Sunday’s Super Bowl 53. (I would have used those Roman numerals but typing all of that would have lasted longer than the excitement of the game.)

You can tell an incredible amount of planning goes into a Super Bowl. How else could it be that this game had such a hideously unentertaining halftime show that it could make the 3-3 first half seem positively spine-tingling?

And what does it say about America’s tastes when a split-second almost glimpse of Janet Jackson’s you-know-what created an uproar, yet a sweaty male singer could remove his entire shirt, exposing enough ink to print thousands of copies of our next issue — and no one is offended. I mean — really, ladies — a few muscles make up for modesty and good taste?

Much has been said about this year’s Super Bowl being the game when youth and talent would show up the aging dynasty, New England’s Patriots. The Pats’ legacy has been built, largely, around the arm and talent of their square-jawed quarterback, Tom Brady. Some believed Brady to be over the hill at age 41.

I suspect 99% of that speculation came from people who haven’t yet reached 40. I can remember being that cocky. Luckily, I survived it.

In the end, Brady and the Patriots may not have displayed a lot of the dazzle they have displayed in many other Super Bowl games, but, at the end, when it counted, just like that old tortoise in the fable, slow and steady won.

And the youthful Rams? Brady and company left them with little more to take home than that turnip they’d been scrapping over. 

• Robert M. Williams, Jr. is Editor & Publisher of The Blackshear Times. Email:

Robert M. Williams, Jr. can be reached at