Johnny Unitas was the Hall of Fame quarterback for the Baltimore Colts for almost 20 years. He led the Colts to the 1957 NFL Title and a victory in Super Bowl V.
There was a petition drive to name the Ravens' stadium after Mr. Unitas, but the naming rights were leased by M&T Bank. Instead the plaza in front of the stadium was named "Unitas Plaza".
The top senior quarterback in college football is annually awarded the "Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award" at a ceremony held each year in Louisville.
The football stadium at Towson University in Maryland, where Mr. Unitas served as community liaison for the athletic department, was named Johnny Unitas Stadium. He died less than a week after the stadium's grand opening.
"The Sporting News" put him at #5 on their 1999 list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.
The University of Louisville has a dormitory on campus named "Unitas Tower".
His number (#16) was retired at the University of Louisville.
He married his high school Sweetheart, Dorothy Hoelle, and they had five children. One hour after divorcing his first wife, he remarried and had 3 more children with his second wife, Sandra Lemon.
When the state of Indiana auctioned off specialty license plates to raise money for a new stadium, the Unitas family sued to prevent them from using Johnny U's number.
He was active in lobbying for another NFL team to be located in Baltimore, and often watched Ravens' games from the sidelines.
In 2004, "The Sporting News" ranked him at #1 on a list of the 50 Greatest Quarterbacks.
He led the Baltimore community outrage against owner Robert Irsay's move of the Colts to Indianapolis in 1984, going as far as asking the Hall of Fame to remove his display unless it only said "Baltimore" Colts.
He attended St. Justin's High School in Pittsburgh.
The University of Pittsburgh offered him a scholarship, but he was unable to pass the entrance exam.
He graduated from the University of Louisville, in Kentucky.
The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him in the ninth round of the 1955 NFL entry draft. He was cut before the season started.
He was NFL MVP in 1957, 1959 and 1964.
After being cut by the Steelers, he returned to work in Pittsburgh and played in 1955 for the semi-pro Bloomfield Rams, earning $6.00 a game.
When he was offered a tryout with the Colts, he had to borrow money from friends to pay for the gas for the trip.
He led the Colts to victory over the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL championship game, the first overtime game in NFL history.
Unitas played his final season for the San Diego Chargers in 1972.
He set the NFL record throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games (from 1956-1960).