A family feud goes public


It was reported in the Sun over the weekend that Joe Unitas, the son of the Baltimore icon John (by his second marriage), will produce a film on his late father entitled “Unitas We Stand” and that current Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has agreed to portray Unitas playing football in the final scenes depicting the Colts’ 1958 championship game victory.

On first blush, you have to be somewhat amused by the choice.  Flacco looks nothing like Unitas.  He’s a good 4-5” taller, probably 40 pounds heavier, the hair color is wrong, and he’s missing that trademark crew cut.  But it appears that Joe is only going to portray the Baltimore legend on the field at the end of the Greatest Football Game Ever Played.

That said, both quarterbacks do share the same emotional detachment when playing football.  Joe Flacco (sometimes nicknamed Joe Cool) has been unfairly criticized for being unemotional during the game and solitary on the sidelines.  But Joe showed plenty of emotion during the playoff run, certainly more than I ever saw out of Number 19 in any game he played.  On two plays that come to my immediate memory, the handoff to Alan Ameche in the ’58 championship game and his final pass as a Baltimore Colt to Eddie Hinton in 1972, John walked off the field like he was taking a walk around the block.

John had ice in his veins.

Similarities and differences between the two quarterbacks aside, the proposed movie is not going over well with all members of the Unitas family.

In an interview with USA Today, John Unitas Jr., Johnny’s first son by his first marriage, torched the whole idea and trashed his half-brother as “a turd,” Flacco as a “goofball,” and threatened a lawsuit if the project uses the Unitas name.

Not to be outdone, his son, J.C. Unitas, piled on by calling Flacco an “embarrassing choice” to play his late grandfather.  The former Villanova quarterback, now enrolled at the University of Tampa, added fuel to the fire by stating that “my grandfather and his legacy deserve only the best, and this is not it.  Has Baltimore forgotten that Trent Dilfer also won a Super Bowl while playing for Baltimore?”

Wow.  Taking a shot at two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in one sentence.  Those are pretty dismissive comments from someone who is not exactly on the radar of pro football scouts!

His father, Unitas Jr., added in the same article, “If you want a quarterback, go with Peyton Manning.  My father was just like that. This is a joke.”


There is a ton of bile in those statements. They’re nasty, personal, and inconsiderate.

And they don’t say very much of Joe Flacco as a quarterback.

How else can Baltimore football fans view this ugly spat between half-brothers of the Johnny Unitas family than as nothing other than an embarrassing airing of family laundry?

Though this nasty family feud that has been going on for years has now turned into a tawdry national mess, it does nothing to tarnish the memory of one of the greatest quarterbacks to play professional football.

17 Raves on “A family feud goes public

  1. Merlene on said:

    It’s a shame that brothers feud like this. Joe has no vocal part in this movie, so what is the big deal? sounds like jr. is a bit jealous. You can bet Johnny U. is smiling from about and had he been alive would have approved it.

  2. Mike thompson on said:

    John jr n his son are mad couse they didn’t think of it first 2nd of all Trent didn’t take us to are first Super Bowl are defence did Trina played like crap that whole season in till the Super Bowl witch joe broke records out played Payton n Brady n Eli all season long Why trash talk joe n put him down for no reason he was asked to play as John sr stop putting him down

    • g money on said:

      and Johnny U was on the record on many occasions as being a baltimore colt, not an indianapolis colt. sounds like john jr and his son are a couple of kids who are throwing a tantrum. What a coulple of busters, they are embarassing themselves. There are better ways to make your points.

  3. Jerry M on said:

    While I agree That Flacco does not fit the physical characteristics of a Johnny Unitas for the movie. But I do think he can be as great or maybe even better then J. U. in real life. And to trash a man that has already silenced all of the other $h** talking critics And made them look dumb founded. Well you what thank for giving my man Joe some amunition to be even better then beating Brady, both Mannings & who ever else wants some. Go get em Joe Joe. Oh and Mike u are right they are jealous as crap that they are not the ones involved.

  4. Margaret on said:

    how embarrasing and petty on behalf of Jr and his son…….. and as for choices…why would they suggest a player who is part of the team that stole the legacy…..history ….from Baltimore?

  5. nehemiah on said:

    john jr is mad becuase 1. joe unitas is a child of “the other woman” (Johnny unitas’ 2nd wife), and 2. he wasn’t involved in the development of the movie, the way john jr. says “my father” very possessive, and hint to jealousy, suppress anger to either their father/joe’s mom ..aka the “the other woman”

  6. Richard on said:

    Johnny was just like peyton? Huh? Are You Kidding Me? Did you ever see Johnny whine? did you ever see him screw up his face like he just ate a sour turd? Did you ever see Johnny gloat? Sorry, little U, no comparison whatsomever!

  7. william on said:

    Several years ago myself and 2 friends were given Johnny U’s nfl apprd throwback jerseys. I attempted to pay Junior to have them autographed by John and he said no. Reason being I had not bought them from him. I said I understand that and I would be willingly to pay more based on that. He still said no and that was it. If there is a TURD in this deal it is him not anyone else. What a shame the GREAT ONE has a legacy like this.

    • Readin Comments By Goofies on said:

      Unitas signed all kinds of things when he was alive. Why were you dealing with his son. The last two years of his life he was signing autograph’s practically right across the street from where I am typing this at the mansion in Cockeysville on the weekends for free. I have many thing signed by Unitas and never paid a dime to have them signed.
      And when Unitas was alive although there was demand for memorabilia related to him it was inexpensive. The demand had not exceeded the supply because he was still alive, and didn’t play in a place like New Yawk were they would be throwing roses at his feet, and light a torch daily on national TV for him had he played there.
      And lastly several years ago Unitas was dead. He died in Sept 2002. That’s 11 years ago.

      P.S. I got him to sign some stuff for free at Padonia Station one night when he filled in for Art Donovan on the radio show they used to do. About 20 of us walked up and got stuff signed in between commercials for free. The second commercial break nobody walked up, and I remember him peering out into the crowd watching intently to see if anybody wanted something signed. That how it was often.

      You must have lived in a cave.

  8. Charles on said:

    If the Unitas bloodline is that great, like the son states’ tell me again Why he is not a NFL qb himself??

  9. Mill on said:

    What the heck makes them think Peyton Manning would have agreed anyway? Those two guys are being totally childish. If you disagree with the choice, that is fine but don’t rip someone like that in public.

  10. Jay Rettaliata on said:

    By publicly feuding they are embarrassing the family and undermining the legacy of Quarterback John Unitas. It doesn’t matter who plays Unitas in the movie as long as the movie is a true depiction of one of the greatest Quarterbacks in Pro Football history.

  11. Voice of Reason on said:

    Why has nobody else voiced concerns that our new $121 million man is being to basically be a stunt double in amatuer B-movie? I don’t know anything about this studio or whoever is going to be director. Whenever Flacco is on a football field, I want trained professionals to be monitoring and controlling what he does. Who knows, there might be 100 takes of a scene where they need for him to be sacked. I also want his focus to be on the playbook, not on filming a movie.

    • Jerry M on said:

      I agree 100% he should be concentrating on the Playbook and Raven activities. I think when players get all into the movies and a bunch of commercials and stuff like that they tend to drop off in production. But that’s just my opinion.

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