The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners

The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners
A review and commentary on the history & lastest events surrounding the 17 time NFC Western Division & 5 -Time World Champion San Francisco 49ers. From 1946 and the All America Football Conference to 2009 and the road to a 6th Super Bowl title - For true fans of the scarlet and gold! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Top Ten All Time - Number 9

Since top ten lists are all the rage these days, the dog days til training camp starts, I thought it was time for one more! Since USA Today is counting down the top 25 players of the last 25 years til camp,(and we will keep you up to date on the Niner notables on that list), I will go one better. Here is number 9 on my list of top ten players of all time, regardless of era or position. And yeah, there might be a 49er or two in here!!

Number 9:

Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts, 1956-72, San Diego Chargers 1973

After college, Unitas was drafted in the nineteenth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, but was released before the season began. By then he was married with a child and worked construction in Pittsburgh to support his family. On the weekends, he played on a local semipro team called the Bloomfield Rams for $6 a game.In 1956 Unitas joined the Baltimore Colts of the NFL under legendary coach Weeb Ewbank. The Colts won the NFL championship under Unitas' leadership in 1958, by defeating the New York Giants 23-17 in sudden death overtime. It was the first overtime game in NFL history, and is often referred to as the "greatest game ever played." The game, nationally televised by NBC, has been credited for sparking the rise in popularity of professional football during the 1960s. Unitas then led the Colts to a repeat championship in 1959, beating the Giants again 31-16 in the title game.

Later in his career, although he was injured through most of the 1968 season, he stayed on the bench to play in Super Bowl III, the famous game wherein Joe Namath guaranteed a New York Jets win despite conventional wisdom. Unitas' insertion was a desperation move in an attempt to retrieve dominance of the NFL over the upstart AFL. Sidelined virtually all season with a lame elbow, Unitas helped put together the Colts' only score, a touchdown late in the game. Despite not playing until the fourth quarter, Unitas still finished with more passing yards than the team's starter, Earl Morrall. In 1970, Unitas led the Colts to Super Bowl V. He was knocked out of the game in the second quarter, after throwing a 75-yard touchdown pass (setting a then-Super Bowl record) that helped lift the team to victory. In 1971 Unitas brought the Colts to the AFC Championship game and lost to Miami 21-0.Unitas was traded to the San Diego Chargers in 1973, and retired from football in 1974. He finished his 17 NFL seasons with 2,830 completions in 5,186 passes for 40,239 yards and 290 touchdowns, with 253 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,777 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Unitas set many passing records during his career. He was the first quarterback to throw for more than 40,000 yards, despite playing during an era when NFL teams played shorter seasons of 12 or 14 games (as opposed to today's 16-game seasons). He also threw a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games between 1956 and 1960, a record that still stands and is considered by many the Mount Everest-like football equivalent to Joe DiMaggio's 56-game baseball hitting streak.

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