Johnny Unitas’ son and grandson rip selection of Joe Flacco to portray the legendary QB

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, news surfaced that Joe Flacco was tabbed to portray the legendary Johnny Unitas on the football field in an upcoming movie about the quarterback’s life.

This news comes on the back of Flacco earning Super Bowl MVP honors and subsequently being awarded with the richest contract in NFL history (six years, $120.6 million).

Simply put, it’s good to be Joe Flacco right now.

Two men, however, have a difference of opinion on Baltimore’s star signal caller. J.C. Unitas, Johnny’s grandson, called the selection of Flacco to portray his grandfather an “embarrassing choice,” per his Facebook page, and he also went on to compare Flacco to Trent Dilfer.

“If you want a real movie, hire a real actor,” wrote J.C. Unitas on Facebook. “My grandfather and his legacy deserves only the best, and this is not it. Has Baltimore forgotten that Trent Dilfer also won a Super Bowl while playing for Baltimore?”

J.C.’s father, John Unitas Jr., is also upset with the selection of Flacco, and the whole movie in the first place.

“If you want a quarterback, go with Peyton Manning,” John said. “My father was just like that. This is a joke.”

According to the, a deeper issue with the movie stems from John Unitas Jr.’s and his brother Joe’s relationship.

“It is awful. The guy’s a turd,” John Jr. said of Joe. “He never talked to me. He never talked to any of the first five children. He’s a guy that’s just making money off of my father.”

“They’re trying to do anything on the coattails of my father’s name,” John said. “It’s like prostituting yourself. My father would have nothing to do with it. It makes me angry, but there’s nothing I can do about it until they slip up. If they start selling some things with Johnny Unitas on it, then I have legal recourse.”

J.C. added the following on the matter of making money off of his grandfather:

“It disgusts me that one of the sons of my grandfather would put his hands out and ask for donations to make a movie based off of a book that was mostly built off of non-factual events in my grandfather’s life. Moreover, a movie of my grandfather conceptualized by a son who never saw my grandfather play a down of football.”

“The Unitas family is a family that never asked for handouts, although it appears there is a hand out, shaking a proverbial soup can for money to fund a movie.”

The movie is titled “Unitas We Stand,” but from the sounds of it, the film is just about the only thing America will be treated to if John Jr. has any say in it.

MORE: Initial details on Joe Flacco’s participation in ‘United We Stand’

  • nitrodrip

    Joe has his own money or I guess the family forgot that he signed the richest contract for a quarterback.

    • Checkm8

      He was referring to Joe Unitas, Johnny Jr’s brother who is trying to make money off his father’s name, when evidently he never even watched his dad play football, and never tried to be a part of the family. Ignored them completely.

  • terrible towellies

    Comparing Flacco to Dilfer is ridiculous. The Unitas family do their father’s legacy disservice by their actions. Demeaning Flacco or even Dilfer misses the point. Get over yourself and honor your father and to some extent players of his era. The name of the actor doesn’t need to be argued in the media. Maybe if the family pledged all the proceeds to help former players they would be able to focus on their father and save their pettiness for the holidays.

  • Dadpa1

    When Johnny Unitas’ spirit complains, I’ll take it into consideration.
    “The guy’s a turd,” John Jr. said of Joe. “He never talked to me.” There are billions of people who never talked to John Jr. about his famous father. Are all of us “turds”?
    My guess is that Flacco already knows John Jr. and JC are whiny jerks who chose to capitalize on the great accomplishments of their father/grandfather. Why waste time on a conversation?

    • ReadingComprehension for $1000

      He was referring to his brother when he said that. Pay attention.

  • Jack Offer

    Mr. Unitas’, I feel for you both, but in a time where people like the Kardashians are among our biggest celebrities and radical felonious and murderous convicted domestic terrorists are given positions in big name universities, don’t be shocked when merely “good” quarterbacks who can throw the ball deep in an era where quarterbacks are treated like cheerleaders on the field get all-time record-breaking $$$$$$ and movie parts pretending to be legendary HOF quarterbacks who played the game when it was truly the NFL and defenses could play defense, open season on QBs, and receivers were not free to go down the field untouched and un-hit. Any day now, look for Matt Schaub in his new movie where he portrays Dan Marino.

    • tmunson15

      allow me to add…if today’s qb’s played back when it was real football.. they’d been hit so hard they’d still be blowin’ snot bubbles… annnndddd playing a hof’er in a movie is as close as some guys will get to being enshrined

    • mcmkmc

      Nice. You may have had a good point in there somewhere, but I became completely mesmerized by your “HOF” caliber run-on sentence. One of my many shortcomings is that I tend to dismiss people who can’t punctuate. I didn’t hear a word you said.

      • leo1964

        Your writing style is so flawless that you landed this plum assignment on yardbarkers comments section. BTW, another one of your many shortcomings is that you are an insufferable jack@$$. I hope that wasn’t a run on sentence. I would hate to offend your high journalistic standards.

        • Jack Offer

          LMAO Beautiful.

      • Jack Offer

        But thanks for reading.

      • Simoni M.

        Writing is about content. You can’t write, Mcmkmc!

      • Furino

        I understand your sentiments exactly! To be a spokesman, one must also be able to write accurately and succinctly, make your point, and come up for air!

        • Jack Offer

          The key is to have something to say, and clearly, like mcm, you do not.

  • smash44

    From what I’ve read Johnny U. was a total arrogant, nasty jackass. Looks like it rubbed off on his descendants also.

    • tmunson15

      careful how much stock you put in the media… even they have an agenda…if an author perceives the slightest insult it will affect his story…that’s why I rarely believe the opinion of a writer or two… however, that said ..if there is a lengthy history of that type of behavior then certainly it has merit…in a nut shell anybody, even athletes, can have a arrogant, nasty jackass day.

    • Simoni M.

      You have it exactly right.

    • John Mackey

      No Super Bowl win, no Flacco playing Johnny U. Simple as that. It is about the celebrity, not how close the characterization of Johhny Unitas is portrayed. Peyton Manning is the closest Johnny Unitas QB, but a far nicer person than Mr. High Tops with an overhand throw.

    • Joseph P Donahue

      most football players are this,you left out dumb as a box of rocks however.

    • Jerry Bowman

      You are totally wrong about Mr. Unitas. I sat around with him, drinking a beer, back in the late seventies. He was the most kind man you would ever want to meet. While we drank our beer he was kind enough to converse with this young man, me, and ask my opinions about the playoff game that the old Baltimore Colts, with Bert Jones at QB,had just played. Never was he anything other than the kind, gentle, and entertaining man that you would expect. He was a class act on the field, and off. When some of his business interests placed him near disaster, the people of Baltimore started sending unsolicited money to help him with his financial troubles. Does that sound like a person you described? As for his grandson, and Unitas’s sons, I can not speak to. In my opinion the two half brothers don’t seem to care for one another, and the grandson sounds like a spoiled rotten leech, hanging on to see what he can get. During my younger days, I ran to a store close to camp, Goucher College, and purchased different things for the ball players. All of the Baltimore Colts were nice to us. In the years I attended camp Johnny U. was exactly how I figured my hero would be. I hope his grandson, and sons can settle their problems without demeaning Johnny’s name!

  • Mexoplex

    oh poor, poor millionaires. He didnt like him, he’s not who i wanted…. meh, rich people problems. who cares? You want to see unity in the Unitas’ clan? Let a rapper portray JU in his movie. That will shut their little spoiled asses right up, take Flacco, collect the money and run.

  • Larry

    I agree it should be Peyton Manning. He is the modern day Johnny Unitas. Joe Flacco is a above average quarterback,(not worth the money paid), and most certainly better than Dilfer. I would think even Tom Brady would have been a better choice. In the end it sounds like it is just for footage of a quarterback on the field. probably not a big deal.

    • Jack Offer


    • L Shank

      Peyton has the same amount of rings as Joe. You play to win the game!

  • cappolis

    Stupid, stupid, stupid. When did Flacco become an actor?

  • champ21015

    I like Joe Flacco – but he’s no actor. That said, they’ve got no business ripping Joe Flacco. Just take the high road here.

  • Simoni M.

    Unitas was a great football player but a mean person. Looks like it runs in his family…

  • L Shank

    Could careless about Unitas’ son… Only opinion that matters in the family is Johnny U and I don’t think we will be hearing from him anytime soon.

  • Ivan A. Rogers

    QUESTION: President Obama is obsessed with the salaries paid to big corporation CEOs, but why is he silent on the even bigger salaries paid to sports figures? For example, Joe Flacco has just signed a new 6-year contract for 120 million dollars. This averages 20 million for 6-months work annually.

    • Gerry Poulin

      I was going to type in the word ‘entertainer’ and be done with it. But it’s a very good question. The union and the teams set the salary cap, which is based in large part on television revenues which is based in part on ratings and what they can charge to advertise…….uh….it’s because he’s an entertainer, Ivan.

    • Amazed

      Last time I checked, Obama didn’t have to bail out the Baltimore Ravens franchise, either.

      • Jack Offer

        Who’s going to bail out America when Obama’s done? LOL

    • welshdoggg

      Really ??? Cuz he makes 6.84 million this year and he is expected to restructure or be traded or released when the back end contract gets too expensive . Contracts aren’t simply basic division like 120 divided by 6 = 20 a year . They are complex and structured to bend year to year with consideration to the teams preexisting cap room.

    • Lex Williams

      +1 to the previous replies to this idiotic question. also, when was the last time a CEO was paralyzed or suffered some other permanent injury from his work? and i mean his real work, not the playing golf or lounging in the carribean they actually spend their time doing…

      • caude_balls

        Why should a guy wearing a bread and circuses uniform get paid 7 figures to entertain when a guy wearing the uniform of our country gets paid less than $2000 a month? And the guys in the uniform of our country get killed or maimed far more often (and maimed far more severely) and for much less than a professional kids game player.

        • Lex Williams

          apparently you’re not familiar with this crazy thing called capitalism…

  • Richard Magnuson

    I read the article as Flacco playing Unitas on the field not being the actor with the dialog. It’ll probably be typical camera shots that you would see on TV or from the stands. A real actor will be Unitas off the field. We are so quick to jump to conclusions just for comments sake.

  • Charles Territo

    hey unitas’s get a grip. flacco or whoever portrays your father does not matter as much as the story being told. do not dis flacco, for him it is a deserve honor. grow up guys, let the story be told with out your cranky approval. this story needs to be told irregardless of how immature your feelings are!!

  • Robert

    Lighten up, Unitas family. This is absurd.

  • 3171949

    Who cares????? It’s all about the “ALL MIGHTY $$$$$$$$ “.

  • snippy69

    yes they have the right to complain; its their family not your or sucko flaccos’

  • Sandra Lee

    Wait till the movie comes out and presents the QB as the HOF’er representing the Indianapolis Colts…lmfao

  • Raw Bear

    On field, and in uniform, Peyton Manning has all of Unitas’ movements and characteristics. Looks like he studied him for years.

  • dafirestar

    Johnny Unitas, was towards the end of an illustrious career when I first caught interest in football and began paying attention it was about 1970 the Colts were one of the teams to beat. Unitas past his prime was not nearly the best in the league at the time Staubach with Dallas owned that honor. Johnny U looked funny to a young kid black high tops and a funny delivery I remember watching and in all honesty thinking he wasn’t so good. Looking back he really wasn’t, the only guy that ever thought he was so good was him. I always remember him thinking and talking like he was better than everyone, and just didn’t see it, after retiring he was always telling anyone who would listen how good he was. Personally I think he’s a moron from the coal mines that needed football so he wasn’t pumping gas and cleaning windshields. Funny how is kids and grandkids strike me the same way. Flacco is a very good QB, and to feel slighted that he is portraying his father (grandfather) in a movie makes me think these guys are not the sharpest of tools in the shed. In fact I’ll go as far as to say, and just a guess mind you, but you would find that the Unitas family doesn’t have to many scholars in the Klan. They seem to open there mouths and get dumber with every new sentence. I’m glad Namath and the 68′ Jets beat them with such ease.

    • Jack Offer

      LOL Just when I think I’ve seen the stupidest comment ever, I always end up having to raise the bar.

  • Hawker1

    Anyone who has ever had a movie made about an ancestor will agree with John, Jr. The truth is never considered. Artistic or creative license will always take precedence over facts. Your ancestor and the action around him, or her, will be virtually unrecognizable as the actual story. 1st hand experience has proven this to me.

  • JT

    Sour grapes syndrome. Unitas played ball in the dark ages got his final lesson at the JOE NAMATH school of BIG TIME football. He might not make it in today’s game. Who wants to see a movie about Unitas anyway!!!

  • rob

    sounds like Joe knew the rest of the family would be against the movie project so went behind their backs. Shame should have given the family the benefit of the doubt and been straight forward.

  • SloppySeconds

    He is NOT playing Johnny U as an actor, he is filling in as the on field version of Johnny U. You wont see that it is Flacco. They need someone who can throw and since Flacco is the SuperBowl MVP, he gets to do it. Not a big deal.

  • jb

    Sounds to me like a dbag is trying to make easy money off is dad’s name. Flacco needs to make a better decision here and opt out.

  • anon

    Would they have still chosen the reigning super bowl champ to play Unitas if RGIII had won?

    • Jack Offer

      Hell yea! I can see the resemblance now.