John Unitas

All-time great NFL quarterback and Baltimore icon John Unitas was born on this day in 1933. Sadly, he died almost 20 years ago and, by an eerie coincidence, on the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His death was overshadowed in the news that day.

While working for the Orioles, I had the good fortune to interact with Unitas on more than one occasion. He was always most gracious. Two or three times a season I would end up sitting near him during a game. I felt sorry for him because he was inundated with autograph requests. He never showed any displeasure at these interruptions even though signing autographs was difficult for him as he had limited use of his right hand, the result of football injuries.

This next section comes from my post on this day in 2020:

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When I was young Unitas was one of my “Holy Trinity” of sports idols along with Frank Robinson and Babe Ruth.

Unfortunately for me, I never had the opportunity to see him play before he suffered the serious elbow injury that cost him most of the 1968 season. He was never the same after the injury.

Since I am the author of this book and it is no longer in print I am going to show you the article about Unitas in my book about the greatest NFL teams of all time.

 

 

I tried to find a non-copyrighted image of Unitas in his legendary high-top football cleats to show here, but could not. Here is a picture of a gift from Dr. Zal.

 

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As I wrote in my book, Unitas’s place in pro football history cannot be solely expressed by numbers and charts. His rags-to-riches story–his father dying when Unitas was just five years old, being drafted by his hometown Steelers but being cut without playing in an exhibition game, his playing semi-pro football for a season at $6 a game and working in construction before signing with the Colts and getting his chance when former first overall pick George Shaw suffered a broken leg in a game–resonated far beyond the confines of Baltimore.

I do want to make some statistical points about Unitas, specifically about his 1959 season. He threw 32 touchdown passes in a 12-game schedule. Today, the NFL schedule is 17 games and the rules have been changed time and time again since the late 1970s in order to bolster the passing game. Unitas’ 32 TD would still have finished in the top ten in the NFL in 2021.

More about 1959: in a 12-team league, Unitas threw one-sixth of all NFL TD passes. His touchdown to interception ratio was 32-to-14; the rest of the league’s was 165-to-207.

 

I’ll stop here. Long live John Unitas!

 

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Throwback Thursday, John Unitas Edition

First, and with no disrespect intended to the memory of the great John Unitas…I had a dream this morning that was a combination of two of my anxiety-themed dreams. The first theme was that I was in a class in college that I had to complete in order to graduate. The professor seemed quite young and the class involved hands-on lab work and not just listening to lectures, reading and taking exams.

I struggled to keep up with the work and at one point went to the professor and told him I didn’t think I could complete the class requirements. He just told me to hang in there and reminded me that I needed the class to graduate. I left the class to acquire supplies for the lab work. I chatted with a female student who was not in that class and, once again, she seemed quite young to me. She asked me what I was doing and I said I was getting supplies for my last class in college. She congratulated me.

After leaving the school store it dawned on me that I already have two college degrees and–this was the important point to me–they are already framed and sitting in my house. I wouldn’t have these degrees if I still needed to finish this class, right? I decided to just leave the campus. It was then that the second “anxiety theme” kicked in. I could not find my way out of this building except by re-tracing my steps to exactly where I had entered. I entered another building and the same thing happened, except this time I simply could not find my way out no matter what.

It is hell to live inside my head.

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On this date in 1933 the great John Unitas was born. When I was young he was one of my “Holy Trinity” of sports idols along with Frank Robinson and Babe Ruth.

Unfortunately for me, I never had the opportunity to see him play before he suffered the serious elbow injury that cost him most of the 1968 season. He was never the same after the injury.

Since I am the author of this book and it is no longer in print I am going to show you the article about Unitas in my book about the greatest NFL teams of all time. Actually, I think I showed this on this day last year. Oh well…

 

 

I tried to find a non-copyrighted image of Unitas in his legendary high-top football cleats to show here, but could not. Here is a picture of a gift from Dr. Zal.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Johnny U!

 

#MoreBadDreams

#JohnUnitas

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.