In 1960, when the Colts were playing the Chicago Bears, if you spiked the football, you were flagged for intentional grounding, and there were no rules protecting the quarterback from late hits or blows to the head. It was indeed a man’s game.

That brings me to the issue at hand. The more I read about Johnny Unitas, the more impressive he becomes. In 1960, with 20 seconds left in a game against the Bears, he was smashed in the face. Blood was spewing out of his mouth. An injury time-out was called. The head coach, Weeb Ewbank, came on to the field. Unitas picked up a handful of mud and smushed it against his face to stop the bleeding. Weeb said, “John, you’ve got to come out of the game.” Unitas looked at him and said, “If you take me out, I’ll kill you.”

Weeb, understanding that discretion is the better part of valor, he got the hell out. On the next play, Johnny threw a touchdown pass that won the game. I have very few heroes, but he’s one of them.

Your Faithful Servant
Donald M. Heavrin Back To Menu