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Biofile Johnny Unitas Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Hall of Fame NFL Quarterback for Baltimore Colts (1956-1972) and San Diego Chargers (1973).

DOB: May 7, 1933 In: Pittsburgh, PA (Passed away on Sept. 11, 2002 in Baltimore.)

Childhood Heroes: Didn’t have any of those.

Early Football Memory: In my first organized year of football in high school I was a halfback and receiver. Then the week before the season started, our quarterback stepped in a hole in practice and busted his leg. I stepped in and played.

Favorite Movies: John Wayne movies, Big Jake.

Nickname: Zip. (Why?) Who the hell knows why.

First Car: 1937 gray Ford.

First Job: Huckster’s truck selling fruit and vegetables. Fifty cents a day. Way back in the 40s.

Childhood Ambitions: Never had any of those.

Greatest Sports Moment: So many of those. Championship game in 1958 against the New York Giants. The greatest game ever played. Sudden death overtime. We won 23-17 in Yankee Stadium.

Hobbies/Interest: Golf. Watching the kids play ice hockey, football and lacrosse.

Best Books I’ve Read: Detective mysteries. Novels about intrigue and espionage.

Favorite Meal: Liver. Which I don’t eat anymore. I had a heart triple-bypass.

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: Cheerios, Special K, Product 19.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Butter pecan.

Funniest Player Encountered: Artie Donovan. Bert Rechichiar. Just comedy. It was comical what they said, did. Just kept everybody laughing and loose.

Toughest Competitors Encountered: Ray Nitschke. Dick Butkus. Dick James. Henry Jordan. Leo Nomellini. All kinds of people.

Closest Friends From Football: Jimmy Orr. Raymond Berry.

Favorite Players To Watch Today: Dan Marino. Joe Montana.

Favorite Sport To Watch Outside Football: College basketball. Watching my kids.

Interesting Fact: Nothing I know of.

Career Accomplishments: Played in ten Pro Bowls; Voted into Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979; Three time NFL Champion – 1958, 1959, 1968; Super Bowl V champion.

(Note: This interview was done at Giants Stadium in 1993.)

(Artwork by LeRoy Neiman.)

About Mark Malinowski

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