Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas Info

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In a time “when men played football for something less
than a living and something more than money,” John Unitas was the
ultimate quarterback. Rejected by Notre Dame, discarded by the
Pittsburgh Steelers, he started on a Pennsylvania sandlot making six
dollars a game and ended as the most commanding presence in the National
Football League, calling the critical plays and completing the crucial
passes at the moment his sport came of age.
Johnny U is
the first authoritative biography of Unitas, based on hundreds of hours
of interviews with teammates and opponents, coaches, family and friends.
The depth of Tom Callahan’s research allows him to present
something more than a biography, something approaching an oral history
of a bygone sporting era. It was a time when players were paid a
pittance and superstars painted houses and tiled floors in the
off-season—when ex-soldiers and marines like Gino Marchetti, Art
Donovan, and “Big Daddy” Lipscomb fell in behind a special
field general in Baltimore. Few took more punishment than Unitas. His
refusal to leave the field, even when savagely bloodied by opposing
linemen, won his teammates’ respect. His insistence on taking the
blame for others’ mistakes inspired their love. His encyclopedic
football mind, in which he’d filed every play the Colts had ever
run, was a wonder.
In the seminal championship game of 1958, when
Unitas led the Colts over the Giants in the NFL’s first
sudden-death overtime, Sundays changed. John didn’t. As one
teammate said, “It was one of the best things about
him.”

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.18

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Reviews for Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas:

5

Jul 14, 2008

Obviously, this rating is biased as I am a native Baltimorean just old enough to remember the waning heyday of the Baltimore Colts before Robert "Darth" Irsay took over the team. Johnny Unitas was past his prime when I became aware of football, but he could still generate some excitement on a Sunday afternoon and send my parents into hysterics with a long pass. Despite the fact that I didn't see Unitas play during his best years, the man cast a long shadow over Baltimore, choosing to make the Obviously, this rating is biased as I am a native Baltimorean just old enough to remember the waning heyday of the Baltimore Colts before Robert "Darth" Irsay took over the team. Johnny Unitas was past his prime when I became aware of football, but he could still generate some excitement on a Sunday afternoon and send my parents into hysterics with a long pass. Despite the fact that I didn't see Unitas play during his best years, the man cast a long shadow over Baltimore, choosing to make the city his home until his death. For those of us who only had a glimpse of the glory past, this biography provides a wonderful picture of the Pennsylvania native who became one of the first icons of the fledgling NFL during the 50s and 60s. The book also gives you a sense of the excitement and pride that Baltimoreans felt for this team and their star quarterback. All the key surviving players are interviewed for the book, and probably just in time since many are quite old at this point. The book is so carefully researched and lovingly written, you can't help but get caught up in the nostalgia of it, even if you didn't live through that time. ...more
4

Sep 12, 2017

John Constantine Unitas just may have been the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL. You'd get no argument from me. Born into a poor family of Lithuanian descent in Pittsburgh in 1933 Unitas went on to star for the Baltimore Colts in the 50s and 60s. What impressed me most about him was his leadership abilities. One did not talk in a Unitas huddle. He called his own plays, imagine that? Of course he could also really hurl a football. I think he played in the golden age of the NFL and John Constantine Unitas just may have been the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL. You'd get no argument from me. Born into a poor family of Lithuanian descent in Pittsburgh in 1933 Unitas went on to star for the Baltimore Colts in the 50s and 60s. What impressed me most about him was his leadership abilities. One did not talk in a Unitas huddle. He called his own plays, imagine that? Of course he could also really hurl a football. I think he played in the golden age of the NFL and it was not a time of million dollar contracts. The players were more like "regular guys" and had off-season jobs. These were men of the "Greatest Generation." Many had been in the military before the NFL. One could rub shoulders and shake hands with these guys in a Baltimore bar. The Colts had leadership on the offensive side of the ball with Unitas and a great defensive leader in Gino Marchetti. (Both men are in the Hall of Fame along with several other Colts from that era.) When Unitas's younger adult sister lost a child Johnny was at his sister's door with tears in his eyes. (It was the first time she had ever seen him cry.) That says a lot about the man to me. There is not a whole lot of detail in the book about his family but there is plenty about the Colts family. I think this is an excellent sports bio about a great subject. Highly recommend. ...more
1

Mar 19, 2013

There's probably better biographies of Johnny Unitas. Hopefully. A lot of focus on the Colts and Unitas' teammates, and not always as to how Unitas related to them. For large stretches, Unitas is not even mentioned and Callahan goes into great detail about characters like Johnny Sample.

More so, Callahan virtually ignores Unitas' first wife, Dorothy, who he briefly addresses as being a highly controversial character, with whom Unitas had five children. To my memory, none of the five are There's probably better biographies of Johnny Unitas. Hopefully. A lot of focus on the Colts and Unitas' teammates, and not always as to how Unitas related to them. For large stretches, Unitas is not even mentioned and Callahan goes into great detail about characters like Johnny Sample.

More so, Callahan virtually ignores Unitas' first wife, Dorothy, who he briefly addresses as being a highly controversial character, with whom Unitas had five children. To my memory, none of the five are mentioned by name. He also almost ignores Unitas' second wife, with whom he had three other children.

Unlike Jane Leavy's biography of Mickey Mantle, Callahan keeps the "life" of Unitas out of "The Life and Times of John Unitas." Very disappointing.

For a better book about the Baltimore Colts, try "The Greatest Game Ever Played" about the 1958 Championship game, which covers all you need to know. ...more
3

Apr 27, 2008

I thought the book was very good and gave good insight into Johnny U. And obviuously he is one of the all-time greats at QB, there are a ton of men from my grandfathers generation that will tell you he is the greatest they ever saw. But I've been a little surprised to study him and see how little his teams really won. They did win a championship game that is considered to be perhaps the greatest game ever played. But that was a function of the way the game was played and that they won (if it had I thought the book was very good and gave good insight into Johnny U. And obviuously he is one of the all-time greats at QB, there are a ton of men from my grandfathers generation that will tell you he is the greatest they ever saw. But I've been a little surprised to study him and see how little his teams really won. They did win a championship game that is considered to be perhaps the greatest game ever played. But that was a function of the way the game was played and that they won (if it had gone the other way it wouldn't necessarily be considered that - nor was it billed as the biggest game ever). His second most significant game was the Superbowl he lost. He did win one Superbowl, but he was the backup by then and didn't really play. His college teams were bad, and so were half his NFL teams. I can't see how he compares to Montana. ...more
4

Aug 23, 2012

Comment: I grew up with the Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas was a real sports hero. Not only is this an enjoyable story about Unitas but it also provides some interesting details about the early days of the NFL. Johnny U. takes you back to the time when football was a game and not yet a business.
5

Apr 27, 2007

This is either a no star or a 10 star depending on how old you are and how much you loved Johnny U. It is not only his story but the story of the Baltimore Colts in the 1950s and 60s. It is written in a very matter of fact style which apparently was the way Johnny talked. In the beginning he played for 14,000. and fun. To this day the Baltimore Ravens color guard carries a flag with number 19 at all home games.
5

Jul 18, 2007

Easy Read, well researched and full of what pro football was like in the 50's and 60's. Utilizes a lot of stories and direct quotes from players and coaches. The book centers around Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts. If you want an insight into any of the following
1) what football was like then,
2) the type of people that played it,
3) Johnny Unitas (the best Quarterback ever)and how he conducted himself as a leader on and off the field
4) Colt History

You cannot go wrong with this book.
3

Sep 04, 2014

A decent biography obviously aimed at the football fans. The author did conduct an impressive number of interviews, which result in alot of interesting stories and tidbits, but at no time was I really fascinated by the book. The structure of the book is pretty loose, and you don't get the impression that the author really labored over the writing. I doubt that the non-football fan would really want to read this. Most enjoyable parts were the stories from the early years of Unitas' pro-career, A decent biography obviously aimed at the football fans. The author did conduct an impressive number of interviews, which result in alot of interesting stories and tidbits, but at no time was I really fascinated by the book. The structure of the book is pretty loose, and you don't get the impression that the author really labored over the writing. I doubt that the non-football fan would really want to read this. Most enjoyable parts were the stories from the early years of Unitas' pro-career, when the game was so very different than today. ...more
3

Aug 27, 2008

I enjoyed reading about the NFL before it became a really big business. Johnny U played in the Colts-Giants that is generally credited with the beginning of the ascendancy of the NFL. But Johnny U played in the era when the players still had to have other jobs in the off-season. The book does a good job showing what a great leader Johnny U was on those Colts teams. It is a bit uneven in its coverage of his career with some years getting very short shrift. But overall a worthy read for anyone I enjoyed reading about the NFL before it became a really big business. Johnny U played in the Colts-Giants that is generally credited with the beginning of the ascendancy of the NFL. But Johnny U played in the era when the players still had to have other jobs in the off-season. The book does a good job showing what a great leader Johnny U was on those Colts teams. It is a bit uneven in its coverage of his career with some years getting very short shrift. But overall a worthy read for anyone interested in NFL history. ...more
3

Aug 15, 2015

I loved Johnny U growing up as did most kids in the 1960s. The author filled the book with information about Johnny growing up and then playing in the NFL. The author interviewed people who knew Johnny from his playing days. All interesting, but there was nothing in the book that captivated me or made me utter, "Wow!" when I read it. The biggest reason for a lack of Wow power in the book was Johnny Unitas was a pretty conventional fellow. He did not get in trouble and just kept his nose to the I loved Johnny U growing up as did most kids in the 1960s. The author filled the book with information about Johnny growing up and then playing in the NFL. The author interviewed people who knew Johnny from his playing days. All interesting, but there was nothing in the book that captivated me or made me utter, "Wow!" when I read it. The biggest reason for a lack of Wow power in the book was Johnny Unitas was a pretty conventional fellow. He did not get in trouble and just kept his nose to the football grindstone which made some for some pretty boring reading. One thumb up. ...more
4

Mar 17, 2011

A really great story about a time when football was played for fun and not dollars. The only thing holding this book back was the fact that it read like a really long human interest story for a newspaper that was peppered with a bunch of shorter human interest pieces in order to justify it as a book. I get really frustrated by reading newspaper men who can't break from their journalistic tendencies, the need to get every fact checked, site ever source. It gets old, just tell the story already.
4

Feb 05, 2013

Well, I grew up loving Johnny Unitas. This was a excellent story of those days withthe then Baltimore Colts--when players played for the love of the game and played their hearts out. It pulls no punches since the players Unitas played with suffered from Parkinson's , dementia , etc. His life itself was cut short by a violent game. It is a novel about leadership and about loyality to one's team and teammates--be they black or white. When Johnny Unitas played and got into the huddle "It was like Well, I grew up loving Johnny Unitas. This was a excellent story of those days withthe then Baltimore Colts--when players played for the love of the game and played their hearts out. It pulls no punches since the players Unitas played with suffered from Parkinson's , dementia , etc. His life itself was cut short by a violent game. It is a novel about leadership and about loyality to one's team and teammates--be they black or white. When Johnny Unitas played and got into the huddle "It was like God was calling the plays," said one teammate. When they played home games a plane flew overhead with a message attached that read : UNITAS WE STAND. ...more
0

Jun 10, 2013

This book was very good, but not great. It was good to know more about Johnny U. I have always heard of him, but his career was winding down when I started watching the NFL as a young boy. Do remember seeing him in the San Diego uniform. For Christians, this is a football book, and some of the language it may not be something you will be comfortable with as you read. I am looking forward to the movie being made based on the book and to see how Joe Flacco does playing Johnny U. If you are not a This book was very good, but not great. It was good to know more about Johnny U. I have always heard of him, but his career was winding down when I started watching the NFL as a young boy. Do remember seeing him in the San Diego uniform. For Christians, this is a football book, and some of the language it may not be something you will be comfortable with as you read. I am looking forward to the movie being made based on the book and to see how Joe Flacco does playing Johnny U. If you are not a football lover, don't read this book. For people who love football, I think you will enjoy it. I know I did. ...more
5

Mar 13, 2012

Fans who can remember pro football before the Super Bowl will not be disappointed by this work of admiration, from the author to friends and family, teammates and opponents. In the days of 250-lb. linemen, 200-lb. linebackers and 170-lb. backs, the game was different, but everyone here says Unitas would have been a great player in any era. He may not have been the first quarterback to understand the value of deception in offensive football, but he certainly took it to another level. The list of Fans who can remember pro football before the Super Bowl will not be disappointed by this work of admiration, from the author to friends and family, teammates and opponents. In the days of 250-lb. linemen, 200-lb. linebackers and 170-lb. backs, the game was different, but everyone here says Unitas would have been a great player in any era. He may not have been the first quarterback to understand the value of deception in offensive football, but he certainly took it to another level. The list of hall-of-fame quarterbacks who idolized Johnny U is impressive; among them are Joe Montana and Peyton Manning, who wanted to wear black hightops the game after Unitas died but was stupidly denied permission by the NFL. ...more
4

Jan 02, 2015

I am not a sports enthusiast and I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the changes that have taken place in both collegiate and professional sports. Bad behavior, fostered by excessive pay, is almost a daily news item. This book is about football and how it was played 50 to 60 years ago, the beginning years of the NFL. Johnny Unitas played the game because he loved playing football and he played it with honesty and integrity. He never made very much money and never became a wealthy man, and that I am not a sports enthusiast and I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the changes that have taken place in both collegiate and professional sports. Bad behavior, fostered by excessive pay, is almost a daily news item. This book is about football and how it was played 50 to 60 years ago, the beginning years of the NFL. Johnny Unitas played the game because he loved playing football and he played it with honesty and integrity. He never made very much money and never became a wealthy man, and that was fine with him. He was never concerned with records and trophies, in fact, at time he was embarrassed by the attention that was directed to him. He is considered by most football critics to be the best quarterback, if not the best professional football player, who ever played the game. This is a good read for anyone who loves football. ...more
4

Jul 26, 2011

I learned more about John Unitas in this book than I have in my 17 years living in Maryland. Yes, I'm a transplanted New Yorker and a Miami Dolphins fan, so following the Colts was like following the enemy (...and for Marylanders today, following the Colts means following the enemy).



Wonderful read, and I really like how Callahan told Unitas' story through the eyes and words of his coaches, teammates, family and friends. You saw a simply man...no flash, no bravado, no ego...who could simply throw I learned more about John Unitas in this book than I have in my 17 years living in Maryland. Yes, I'm a transplanted New Yorker and a Miami Dolphins fan, so following the Colts was like following the enemy (...and for Marylanders today, following the Colts means following the enemy).



Wonderful read, and I really like how Callahan told Unitas' story through the eyes and words of his coaches, teammates, family and friends. You saw a simply man...no flash, no bravado, no ego...who could simply throw the ball and lead people.



Football is a team game and everyone has to do their part to win. But each team needs someone that serves as the gel that bonds the parts together to make a working machine. John Unitas was the bond. Well written book that not only showed Unitas, but also the world of football in the 50s and 60s when players had to have jobs to supplement their football income. ...more
5

Oct 11, 2014

I love reading about football, football history, and great players of the past, so I very much enjoyed this biography of John Unitas (1933-2002), one of the best quarterbacks in professional football history.

First a little bit about Johnny U. Unitas grew up in a hard scrabble environment in Pittsburgh. His father died when he was five and his mother and older brother worked hard to keep the family intact. Unitas was a bit light for a football player but was the starting quarterback for his high I love reading about football, football history, and great players of the past, so I very much enjoyed this biography of John Unitas (1933-2002), one of the best quarterbacks in professional football history.

First a little bit about Johnny U. Unitas grew up in a hard scrabble environment in Pittsburgh. His father died when he was five and his mother and older brother worked hard to keep the family intact. Unitas was a bit light for a football player but was the starting quarterback for his high school. His dream was to play for Notre Dame but he couldn't get in so he went on to play at the University of Louisville in the early 1950's. While the team didn't do very well, Unitas did and his jersey number (#16) is the only one retired by that school. In 1955 Unitas was drafted in the 9th round by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL but was soon cut and ended up playing in a semi-pro league around Pittsburgh. Through the football grapevine the Baltimore Colts brought Unitas in for a tryout in 1956 and was signed to back up starter George Shaw. Shaw went down in the forth game and Unitas held on to the starting job, except when injured, from 1956-1972.

Unitas won 3 NFL championships in his career - the first which many consider to be the most pivotal professional football game ever played - the 1958 NFL Championship where the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants 23-17 in the first overtime game in NFL history. The game was televised nationwide and many credit the game for drawing the public's attention to the National Football League and as the launching pad for today's lucrative television contracts and the sport's wide popularity. Some still refer to this game as the "Greatest Game Ever Played." Unitas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979 and is one of four quarterbacks on the NFL's 75th Anniversary All Time Team. (Note I am counting the 1958 and 1959 NFL Championships, which preceded the creation of the Super Bowl, and Super Bowl V as the Colts 3 NFL Championships. I am not counting the 1968 NFL Championship as the Colts lost to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III and Unitas was hurt that year and rarely played.)

Callahan says in his introduction that he sets out to write not just a biography of John Unitas but also to give the reader a sense of what it was like to be a professional football player in the 1950's and 1960's. As a biography of Unitas, Callahan is quite successful. We see Unitas not only through his own eyes, but through the eyes of the players, coaches, family, and friends who knew him. He really brings to life the personality, toughness, smarts, and perseverance that made Unitas the great quarterback and team leader he was throughout his career. The biography also includes interesting short vignettes on other great players on those Colts teams like Gino Marchetti, Eugene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb, Art Donovan, and Jim Parker, to name a few.

Callahan is mostly successful at giving the reader an idea of what it was like to be a player in the 1950's and 1960's, although the way he does so is one of the biggest drawbacks of the biography. The structure and writing is sometimes rather disjointed and not well structured. There are too many asides, long parenthetical comments, or chapters that drift looking backward in time, or in the future, and then coming back to the main point, which was a little frustrating for this reader. While I do not expect a completely linear book - I felt the author could have done a better job of being a bit more seamless in the storytelling.

This drawback aside Callahan does provide one crucial insight - that the players of that era, unlike today, really were part of the community (at least the Colts' players were). Since players made much less money back then a lot of them worked in the off season. Thus they lived, and often worked, in the communities where they played football. Further, they often lived in modest homes among everyday citizens, not tucked away in mansions or high income neighborhoods. As a result, the community became very attached to the organization and the players, and often vice versa. The depiction of the long, historical, close relationship between the Colts and the city of Baltimore really brought home what an awful event losing the team was to the city.

Finally, I have to mention that probably the best chapter was the one dedicated to the 1958 Championship Game. It's told from the perspective of the Colts, not the Giants, and is a game that demonstrated Unitas' leadership in pulling out a victory.

Overall, despite the jumpiness of some of the chapters, I found the biography a worthwhile and interesting reading experience and would recommend it to those who want to know a bit more about Johnny U and his Baltimore Colts.

[Reviewer Note: Author Tom Callahan is a journalist and sportswriter. He has worked at both Time magazine as a senor writer and the Washington Post as a sports columnist.] ...more
3

Feb 05, 2020

I enjoyed this book. Ok reporting- Johnny U was a fairly straight shooting son of a gun.
5

Nov 09, 2018

Great book! Good story about football in the 50s and 60s.and of course my childhood football hero, JohnnyUnitas Great book! Good story about football in the 50’s and 60’s.and of course my childhood football hero, JohnnyUnitas ...more
1

May 13, 2009

Every kid has (or ought to have) heroes. For me, Johnny Unitas was one of the first. Unitas first achieved fame as the quarterback for the NFL's Baltimore Colts when I was too young to know football was, helping lead the Colts to the 1958 NFL championship in a game that is still called "The Greatest Game Ever Played." But by the time I was old enough to know what football was, there was no doubt who my favorite player was. Unitas ranked right up there with the astronauts.[return][return]That's Every kid has (or ought to have) heroes. For me, Johnny Unitas was one of the first. Unitas first achieved fame as the quarterback for the NFL's Baltimore Colts when I was too young to know football was, helping lead the Colts to the 1958 NFL championship in a game that is still called "The Greatest Game Ever Played." But by the time I was old enough to know what football was, there was no doubt who my favorite player was. Unitas ranked right up there with the astronauts.[return][return]That's why I picked up Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas with such anticipation when I saw it. It was about time, I thought, that someone write a Unitas biography. Yet the book, written by award-winning sportswriter Tom Callahan, epitomizes sports biographies and, more important, what I dislike about sports biographies. Perhaps not surprisingly, they tend to be far too heavy on the sports and far too light on the biography.[return][return]The book clearly has potential, given the significant number of interviews Callahan conducted (although his recurring reference to himself as "the sportswriter," such as in "Shula told the sportswriter," goes beyond annoying). But in the end the book is far more about the times than the life of Johnny U. Callahan revisits the 1958 championship game play by play, with a more detailed recounting of some of the more significant plays that led to the sudden death victory. He introduces us to plenty of the stars during the time the Colts were amongst the NFL elite. While they talk about Unitas, we learn as much about them and their backgrounds as we do Unitas. And while it's kind of fun to read about Raymond Berry and Gino Marchetti and the tale of John Mackey is sad, what we learn about Unitas tends to be his skills, his attitude, his reserve and his toughness on the football field.[return][return]For example, while we meet his mother, brothers and sisters early on and get a fair recounting of Unitas' childhood and college years, the first Mrs. Unitas is mentioned early on and disappears entirely until virtually the end of the book. In fact, it isn't until the final two chapters that we really meet any of the family Unitas started as an adult. Even then, it is almost exclusively his family with his second wife. From his beginning in the NFL until some some of his post-career business failures, we don't really learn much about Unitas other than what he did on the practice field and in the stadiums and, as noted, how his teammates viewed him. Granted, we learn why Unitas wore the black hightops that, along with his crewcut, set him off from virtually all other football players in the 1960s and 1970s. We learn the respect he earned from teammates and opponents for his fairness, toughness, and determination. We learn that when Unitas won a Corvette for being the most valuable player in the 1958 championhip game, he traded it in for a station wagon. This is all consistent with what his fans probably already knew or, if they didn't, could have picked up in one of the sports magazines of the era.[return][return]This might be all well and good if a glimpse of how football changed during the Johnny Unitas years is your primary focus. But if you're interested in learning about the man himself, it doesn't cut it. Admittedly, I may be asking too much from a biography that is, after all, about a sports figure. But I wanted to learn not only about Johnny Unitas the football player but the man outside the stadium lights. What did he do in the off-season? What things outside football did he enjoy? How did he and his family cope or attempt to cope with his fame given Baltimore's adoration of its Colts? How did the failure of his first marriage and whatever caused it affect his playing or vice versa? I'm not looking for dirt or gossip. I simply want to know about his life outside the spotlight. None of this information is really here. As a result, the book tends to make Unitas one dimensional, that he was a football player and little or nothing else.[return][return]In fairness to Callahan, he admits in the preface that the book isn't just about Unitas. Although Johnny U begins and ends with the title subject, Callhan writes that the book "is as much about a certain time as a single player. It is less about a specific place in the country than a place where the whole country used to be." As such, the book is more a biography of the Baltimore Colts and professional football in general during the Unitas years. And in that respect Callahan succeeds in educating us about how the NFL was different then and the internal dynamics of the Colts. He also does a fine job of exploring various social issues that existed at the time, such as the color line in pro football.[return][return]In the end, as a sports biography, the book could make almost any starting lineup. Drop the modifier "sports," though, and Johnny U underperforms.[return][return]Originally posted at http://prairieprogressive.com/2006/12... ...more
3

Sep 04, 2017

Decent biography, a very quick read. Covers all the highlights expected but not a tremendous amount of depth covered in the subject, especially throughout the second half of his career and retirement. Doesn't detract though, from the enjoyment of this book as you really understand who Unitas, the man, was.
4

Nov 16, 2019

The book was an easy and informative read. The chapter on the 1958 NFL Championship describes the game in detail. Makes you feel like you were there. At the end of the book there is some details about Johnny Us 2nd wife and there 3 kids - suddenly made me realize his first wife and 1st 5 kids were hardly mentioned. Seemed very odd to me. The Times of Johnny U. Were covered in great detail with a lot of great informative details about his teammates. The Life of Johnny u. - not so much. The book was an easy and informative read. The chapter on the 1958 NFL Championship describes the game in detail. Makes you feel like you were there. At the end of the book there is some details about Johnny U’s 2nd wife and there 3 kids - suddenly made me realize his first wife and 1st 5 kids were hardly mentioned. Seemed very odd to me. The “ Times “ of Johnny U. Were covered in great detail with a lot of great informative details about his teammates. “The Life” of Johnny u. - not so much. ...more
5

Sep 21, 2018

Great biography of Johhny Unitas provides as much of a feel for the the early Baltimore Colts as it does Unitas's life, perhaps even more so. Author Callahan dedicates chapters to Colts legends such as Gino Marchetti, Raymond Berry, and Jim Parker, who were interviewed and provide much needed insight into the tight lipped football legend. This book makes you pine for the days of the NFL when players worked side jobs in the off season so they could make ends meet. They were people and not stars. Great biography of Johhny Unitas provides as much of a feel for the the early Baltimore Colts as it does Unitas's life, perhaps even more so. Author Callahan dedicates chapters to Colts legends such as Gino Marchetti, Raymond Berry, and Jim Parker, who were interviewed and provide much needed insight into the tight lipped football legend. This book makes you pine for the days of the NFL when players worked side jobs in the off season so they could make ends meet. They were people and not stars. A must read for any football fan. ...more
4

Dec 19, 2019

I think a better title for this would have been The Legacy of Johnny U and the 1958 Colts. I say that because this book is about so much more than the life of John Unitas. Certainly it starts and ends there, but it goes on for stretches of pages about those he played with as well. The writing style left me a little lost sometimes, but it still paints a great picture of Johnny U, his impact and his era without losing your attention in minutia.

The play by play account of the 1958 Championship Game I think a better title for this would have been The Legacy of Johnny U and the 1958 Colts. I say that because this book is about so much more than the life of John Unitas. Certainly it starts and ends there, but it goes on for stretches of pages about those he played with as well. The writing style left me a little lost sometimes, but it still paints a great picture of Johnny U, his impact and his era without losing your attention in minutia.

The play by play account of the 1958 Championship Game alone makes this worth the cover price.

John Unitas is a legend, that makes this book a must for every Self Described Football Historian, and Colts fans in particular. ...more
5

Sep 07, 2019

"Unitas We Stand"

Hagiography? Perhaps. But all I can say is I knew nothing about Unitas beyond his name as an important quarterback, and I ended up reading the last 30 pages through tear-blurred eyes. Plus, this book has got me scouring YouTube for every scrap of footage I can find about the 1950s-70s Colts.

While this book is primarily about Johnny U, it's as much about the players and people from his life, as well as the cities of Baltimore and Pittsburgh -- and a non-flattering but amusing "Unitas We Stand"

Hagiography? Perhaps. But all I can say is I knew nothing about Unitas beyond his name as an important quarterback, and I ended up reading the last 30 pages through tear-blurred eyes. Plus, this book has got me scouring YouTube for every scrap of footage I can find about the 1950s-70s Colts.

While this book is primarily about Johnny U, it's as much about the players and people from his life, as well as the cities of Baltimore and Pittsburgh -- and a non-flattering but amusing bit about San Diego at the end of John's career.

Don't skip the Acknowledgements at the end. I usually blow them off, but that last 10 pages is delightful. And the last line?

"Thank you, John."

I need a minute. ...more

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