Johnny Unitas, Class of 1979
Johnny Unitas played his college football at Louisville. In 1955 he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 9th round (102nd overall). He was cut before the season started. This is one of the rare photos of Unitas in a Steelers uniform. The photo is marked up as prep for use in a newspaper at the time.
Unitas was signed by the Baltimore Colts in 1956 as a free agent. He quickly became one of the dominant quarterbacks in the NFL.
Unitas's greatest moment as a quarterback may have been in the 1958 NFL Championship Game versus the New York Giants. In that game he doggedly led the Colts to victory in the NFL's first overtime game.
An exceptional field leader who thrived on pressure, Unitas holds an NFL record that is believed to be unbreakable - 47 straight games with a TD pass.
In all, Unitas played 18 seasons in the NFL, was All-NFL six seasons, and was selected to 10 Pro Bowls.
Colts line coach Herman Ball takes advantagous postion to instruct his offensive lineman. Providing pass protection for Johnny Unitas are (l-r): Guard Alex Sandusky, Center Buzz Nutter and guard Art Spinney.
Unitas was named NFL MVP three times during his career.
Unitas was the face of the Colts from 1956 to 1972.
Unitas was coached in Baltimore by future Hall of Famer Don Shula from 1963 to 1969. The Colts posted a 73-26-4 mark during that span.
Unitas threw for 300 yards in a game 26 times during his Hall of Fame career.
Johnny played his final NFL season in San Diego. It was as a Charger that he became the first player in NFL history to reach 40,000 yards passing in a career.
Unitas was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979. Here he poses with his presenter and quarterback coach at the University of Louisville, Frank Gitschier.
Johnny Unitas' Hall of Fame bust.
Johnny Unitas' Hall of Fame mural.
View photos from the career of Hall of Fame QB