The Golden Arm

1933 - 2002

John Unitas

September 12, 2002


May 7, 1933

Born in Pittsburgh.

Spring 1955

Drafted in the ninth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers after completing his career at the University of Louisville.

Fall 1955

After being cut by the Steelers, plays with a semipro team in Pittsburgh for $6 a game

April 1956

Signs with the Baltimore Colts for $7,000.

Dec. 28, 1958

Leads the Colts over the New York Giants for the NFL championship in what came to be called "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

Dec. 27, 1959

Quarterbacks the Colts to a second straight NFL title game victory over the Giants.

Dec. 11, 1960

NFL-record streak of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass ends at Los Angeles.

Sept. 18, 1966

Throws four touchdown passes, giving him 212 for his career, to surpass Y.A. Tittle as the NFL's all-time leader.

Oct. 30, 1966

Throws for 252 yards to pass Tittle (28,339 yards) as the NFL's all-time passing yards leader.

Jan. 17, 1971

Though later injured and replaced by Earl Morrall, throws a touchdown pass in the Colts' victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V.

Sept. 24, 1972

Throws for 376 yards in a Colts loss to the New York Jets, combining with Joe Namath (496 yards) for a record 872 passing yards.

Dec. 3, 1972

In a mop-up role, plays in his final game for the Colts, throwing a 63-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Hinton.

Jan. 22, 1973

Traded to the San Diego Chargers.

Sept. 30, 1973

While with the Chargers, becomes the first player to top 40,000 yards passing for his career.

July 25, 1974

Retires from the NFL.

Fall 1974

Joins CBS as a football analyst.


Becomes involved in restaurant, air freight and retail clothing businesses.

Oct. 9, 1977

Colts retire No. 19.

May 1977

Joins Colts as consultant.

July 28, 1979

Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Sept. 21, 1981

Dropped by Colts as consultant.

March 5, 1993

Suffers heart attack and undergoes bypass surgery.

Sept. 11, 2002

Dies at age 69.


Selected NFL MVP/Player of the Year in 1957, 1959, 1964, 1967.

Named Player of the Decade for the 1960s.

Named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team.

Had three seasons passing for 3,000 yards or more.

Threw TD passes in record 47 consecutive games.

Led league in touchdown passes four consecutive years (NFL record).

Led league in passing yardage four times.

Totaled 17 games with at least four touchdown passes (No. 2 all time).

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