John Constantine Unitas—known to fans as Johnny, Johnny U, or Mr. Clutch—was one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. After playing college ball at the University of Louisville, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1955 but cut before throwing even a single pass. Unitas busied himself for the remainder of the season by playing semi-pro football for $6 a game until the Baltimore Colts picked him up in 1956.
His first pass for the Colts was intercepted for a touchdown, his second play resulted in a fumble, and the Colts lost that game 58-27. But Unitas overcame that rocky start to build a career that included a string of 47 consecutive games in which he threw at least one touchdown pass, a record that still stands today.
Unitas was named NFL Player of the Year three times and played in 10 Pro Bowls before retiring after one year with the San Diego Chargers in 1973. Unitas was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
Johnny Unitas trading cards are some of the most valuable in circulation. His Topps rookie card from 1957 is especially collectible, as is the Topps card from his 1958 season, during which he brought his Colts from behind in the final two minutes of the NFL title game to tie the New York Giants and then beat them in overtime.
Many fans consider this the greatest game ever played. Another favorite is the Topps “Super Glossy” card from 1970. Other examples of collectible Johnny Unitas memorabilia include signed footballs and football helmets, jerseys, programs, and figurines.