American professional football player, voted the most valuable player (MVP) of the National Football League (NFL) in 1959, 1964, and 1967. John Constantine Unitas was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and educated at the University of Louisville. After he graduated in 1955 he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, but they released him before the season began.
In 1956 Unitas began his NFL career as a quarterback for the Baltimore Colts. He led the Colts to the NFL championship in 1958, 1959 and 1968, although following this last championship the Colts lost the 1969 Super Bowl, which they played in January against the New York Jets, who had won the 1968 American Football League (AFL) championship. The NFL and AFL merged in 1970, and Unitas led the Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 1971. Throughout his career he set
a number of passing records, including the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (47). He was traded to the San Diego Chargers in 1972 and retired in 1974 with a total of 40,239 career passing yards and 290 touchdowns. Unitas was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
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