Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is set to portray Johnny Unitas in action scenes depicting the 1958 NFL championship game in "Unitas We Stand", an upcoming film that Unitas' son hopes to have finished and released in time for Super Bowl XLVIII.
Turns out, Flacco was not a unanimous choice among a squabbling Unitas family.
According to Robert Klemko of the USA Today, John Unitas, Jr. thinks Flacco is a "goofball" and the role should have gone to a certain former Colts quarterback who also won a Super Bowl and will one day be enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
"If you want a quarterback, go with Peyton Manning," John said. "My father was just like that. This is a joke."
Manning, who is outstanding in commercials and was brilliant as the host of "Saturday Night Live", would make a lot of sense for the role of Unitas. Also, following Unitas' death in 2002, Manning asked the NFL for permission to wear a pair of black, high-top cleats as a tribute to Unitas, but that request was denied and he was threatened with a $25,000 fine if he defied the league on that matter.
It is worth noting that Manning played for the Indianapolis Colts, which wouldn't mesh with the plan of Joe Unitas, the film's producer, to keep the ties in Baltimore.
"Obviously, the Baltimore ties are very important to me," Joe Unitas told the Baltimore Sun. "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."
Unitas was twice married and had eight children. Joe Unitas was a product of the second marriage, while John is the eldest son from the first marriage and worked as a ball boy while his father was with the Colts. John has control over Unitas Management and is not on board with the plans for a film. John also appears to be waiting for his younger half brother to make a mistake.
"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."