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About the Legend

John Constantine “Johnny” Unitas (May 7, 1933- September 11, 2002), nicknamed “The Golden Arm” and often called Johnny U, was a professional American football player in the 1950s through the 1970s, spending the majority of his career with the Baltimore Colts. He was a record-setting quarterback and the National Football League’s most valuable player in 1959, 1964, and 1967. His record of throwing touchdown passes in 47 consecutive games (between 1956-1960) remains unsurpassed as of 2012. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.

The Beginning

Unitas was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1933. His father died when Johnny was four years old. His unusual surname was a result of a phonetic transliteration of a common Lithuanian last name Jonaitis. Attending St. Justin’s High School in Pittsburgh, Unitas played halfback and quarterback. After high school, Pitt offered a scholarship, but Unitas failed the entrance exam. The University of Louisville came through with a scholarship, and Unitas left home for Kentucky. He played quarterback for Louisville during his college career.

College Years

In his four-year career as a Louisville Cardinal, Unitas completed 245 passes for 3,139 yards and 27 touchdowns. It is recorded that the 6’1”Johnny Unitas weighed 145 pounds on his first day of practice at the University of Louisville.