Date Of Birth:
7 May 1933
Date Of Death:
11 September 2002
Place Of Birth:
Best Known As:
Baltimore Colts quarterback, 1956-72
Quarterback Johnny Unitas was one of the greatest professional football players in history, his storybook career coinciding with the rise of football as television entertainment. Despite an unpromising start in high school, Unitas went on to modest success at the University of Louisville and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1955. His slight build gave the Steelers doubts, however, and he was waived in the first year. After playing semi-pro football for a few dollars a game, Unitas was picked by the Baltimore Colts in 1956. He defied the skeptics and went on to earn a reputation as a tough competitor who was cool under pressure, and his winning performance in the 1958 title game against the New York Giants became legendary. During his career, "Johnny U" took the Colts to two NFL titles and one Super Bowl victory, was named Player of the Year three times and was chosen for ten Pro Bowls. He broke records for pass attempts (5,186), pass completions (2,830) and total yards (40,239), and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
In Super Bowl III Unitas and the Colts were defeated in an upset by the New York Jets, lead by quarterback Joe Namath.