First, the Super Bowl MVP. Then, the $120 million (and then some) contract. What’s next for Joe Flacco, playing Johnny Unitas in a movie?
According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, the Ravens starting QB has agreed to play Baltimore’s most legendary QB in the final scenes of the movie, “Unitas We Stand,” which has a targeted release date of early 2014, to coincide with the Super Bowl.
According to the website unitaswestand.com, Flacco will play Unitas in the action scenes in the 1958 NFL Championship Game, won by the Colts in overtime and, nicknamed The Greatest Game Ever Played, generally credited as the game that brought professional football into the mainstream.
In a statement posted to the site, Flacco said, “I’m excited and honored by the opportunity to play Johnny Unitas.”
According to Wilson, filming is set to begin in July and last 9 to 12 weeks, but shooting will not interfere with Flacco’s football schedule or the Ravens’ training camp.
It has been quite a beginning to 2013 for Flacco, who capped one of the greatest playoff runs by a quarterback in NFL history with a 34-31 win over San Francisco on Feb. 3 in New Orleans. In his four playoff games, Flacco tied an NFL single-postseason record with 11 touchdowns and did not throw an interception.
A month later, Flacco, scheduled to be a free agent, signed a six-year, $120.6 million deal to remain in Baltimore. And, according to Unitas’ son, Joe, also played a role in Flacco’s part in the film.
"Obviously, the Baltimore ties are very important to me," Joe Unitas told Wilson. "I think it’s great that Joe just won the Super Bowl with the Ravens and was Most Valuable Player in the game. A lot of the way Joe plays and his demeanor reminds me a lot of my dad. He’s not a rah-rah guy. He throws a touchdown and maybe there’s a little fist pump. He understands his job is all about winning and he does a phenomenal job leading the offense and the team and obviously they’ve developed a lot of trust after becoming a champion. He’s an awesome teammate and great leader of the team.
"He does things the right way and is a good role model for kids and he gets what hard work is and does everything he can for the team. There are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between Joe and my dad. My production team is very fortunate and thankful that he’s dedicated to help us and play my dad. I know he doesn’t do a lot of things away from the game, and football players’ time off in the offseason is very valuable. For him to take time away and commit to doing this is very humbling."
Johnny Unitas played for the Baltimore Colts from 1956 to 1972, winning three Associated Press MVP awards and three championships. He finished his career with more than 40,000 yards passing and 290 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979. He died in 2002 at the age of 69.