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Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (18)

Overview (5)

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Died in Towson, Maryland, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameJohn Constantine Unitas
Nickname Johnny U
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Johnny Unitas played his collegiate career at the University of Louisville (1951-54), passing for 3,007 yards and 27 touchdowns. Unitas, who were number 19 as a professional, had his No. 16 collegiate uniform retired at Louisville, the lone number retired by the Cardinals.

Known as "The Golden Arm", Unitas had anything but a golden introduction to the NFL. A late round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was cut in his rookie year. He signed with the Baltimore Colts a year later and began to change the future of pro football. Unitas quarterbacked the Colts in the NFL title in 1958, beating the New York Giants in the league's first overtime championship, known forever more as the greatest game ever played.

Unitas' legend grew through the 60s and 70s. His record for throwing a touchdown in 47 consecutive games continues to stand. He became the first NFL quarterback to pass for more than 40,000 yards. In January 1971, Unitas won his last championship, leading the Colts against the Cowboys in Super Bowl V.

The persona of "Johnny U" exceeds even his numbers. His bow-legged gait and crew cut became his trademarks. His flair for leading the Colts to come from behind wins became his signature. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

In Baltimore, Unitas will be remembered as much for his personal touch as for his professional greatness. Ever willing to stop for an autograph or to give of his time, Unitas helped christen Towson University's new stadium last week - with a pass.

No one could have known that would have been the last pass from his golden arm. Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley said, "This is a particularly painful day for Baltimore, because Johnny Unitas was Baltimore -- guts and grit." He played in 10 Pro Bowls, was named MVP three times, and was named the NFL's all-time greatest quarterback at the league's 50th anniversary. He retired in 1973 after one year with the San Diego Chargers. At that time, he held nearly every passing mark in the league record book.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: GR

Spouse (2)

Sandra Lemon (26 June 1972 - 11 September 2002) (his death) (3 children)
Dorothy Jean Hoelle (20 November 1954 - 26 June 1972) (divorced) (5 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Crewcut hair. High-top black shoes

Trivia (18)

Played quarterback for the National Football League's Baltimore Colts (1956-1972) and San Diego Chargers (1973).
Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
Graduated from the University of Louisville.
Held the NFL record for most career touchdown passes until Fran Tarkenton broke it.
Is of Lithuanian descent.
Played with a Pittsburgh semipro team, the Bloomfield Rams, before signing on with the Colts.
Requested that his name be deleted from the Colts' record books when the team moved to Indianapolis in 1984.
Held the all time NFL record for most consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass with 47. Until Drew Brees broke it on October 7,2012.
Was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1955 and released. Hitchhiked home from training camp even though the Steelers had given him bus fare.
Voted Most Valuable Player in the National Football League in 1967.
Father of Joe Unitas
Married second wife, Sandy Lemon, 1 hour after divorcing his wife of 18 years, Dorothy.
Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning had four pairs of high-top black shoes made, which he planned to wear in the Colts 15 September 2002 game as a tribute to Unitas. But the NFL threatened to slap Manning with a $25,000 fine if he wore the shoes. Further, it declared that only the Baltimore Ravens would have the sole right to honor Unitas with a patch or armband on their uniforms that Sunday.
The football field at Towson University will be renamed Unitas field in his honor.
First Colts Quarterback to pass for over 400 yards - 401 vs. Atlanta Falcons on 9/17/67.
Indianapolis Colts All Time Passing Yards Leader (39,768).
He often worked on pass plays in his backyard with his favorite receiver, Raymond Berry.
Inducted into the Lithuanian American Hall of Fame in 2013.

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