John Constantine Unitas (; May 7, 1933 – September 11, 2002), nicknamed "Johnny U" and "The Golden Arm", was an American football player in the National Football League (NFL). He spent the majority of his career playing for the Baltimore Colts. He was a record-setting quarterback, and the NFL's most valuable player in 1957, 1959, 1964, and 1967. For 52 years he held the record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (which he set between 1956 and 1960), until quarterback Drew Brees broke his long standing record on October 7, 2012. Unitas was the prototype of the modern era marquee quarterback with a strong passing game, media fanfare, and widespread popularity. He has been consistently listed as one of the greatest NFL players of all time.
He is also known as The Golden Arm.
On September 11, 2002, Unitas died suddenly of a heart attack while working out at the Kernan Physical Therapy Center (now The University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute) in Baltimore. After his death, many fans of the Baltimore Ravens petitioned the renaming of the Ravens' home stadium (owned by the State of Maryland) after Unitas. These requests were unsuccessful since the lucrative naming rights had already been leased by the Ravens to Buffalo-based M&T Bank. However, a statue of Unitas was erected as the centerpiece of the plaza in front of the stadium named in Unitas' honor. Large banners depicting the NFL Hall of Famer in his Baltimore Colts heyday flank the entrance to the stadium. Towson University, where Unitas was a major fund-raiser and which his children attended, named its football and lacrosse complex Johnny Unitas Stadium in recognition of both his football career and service to the university.
Toward the end of his life, Unitas brought media attention to the many permanent physical disabilities that he and his fellow players suffered during their careers before heavy padding and other safety features became popular. Unitas himself lost almost total use of his right hand, with the middle finger and thumb noticeably disfigured from being repeatedly broken during games.
Unitas is buried at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium, Maryland.