Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Johnny Unitas Week: Monthly Magazines & Annuals

By Chris Willis, NFL Films
Cavalier Magazine December 1961
So far during Johnny Unitas Week Pro Football Journal has already looked at Sport magazine and Sports Illustrated. Now will take a look some of the other publications that featured number 19. As one of the marquee names of the NFL at the end of the 1950’s and throughout the 1960’s Johnny Unitas made his fair share of pro football annuals and monthly publications. Below are some of the best ones.

Number 1:
1959- Pro Football (Dell Sports Magazine)
Cover Photo: Bath & Weiner from Frank Gillon
Article: “Baltimore’s Great Hesitator”
November 1959 Dell Sports Magazine
Dell Sports profiles Unitas in a 4-page article with a few photos. The magazine calls Unitas "The Great Hesitator," because he gets hits so often with his "nonchalance and his willingness to wait until the last split-second before delivering the ball." After just two plus years as starting quarterback with the Colts when the article was written Unitas talks about still learning the game. "You make it or fail on the ability to spot things. That's the whole story. Telling the difference between a zone and man-to-man pass defense, for example, isn't easy when you come out of the huddle. Anyway, I'm not satisfied with the way I do it. There is still plenty I can learn."

Number 2:
1959- Sports All Stars: Pro Football (Maco Magazine Corp.)
Cover Photo: Marvin Newman
Article: none
1959 Sports All-Stars Magazine (Maco Publishing)
Number 3:
1960- Pro Football Stars (Whitestone Publications)
Cover Photo- Neil Leifer
Article- “A Johnny Unitas Album”
1960 Pro Football Stars, featuring Special Johnny Unitas Album
A pictorial that features 15 photos including one of him with his family, receiving an award with Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom and coach Weeb Ewbank, and one of him playing basketball on the Colts traveling team (trying to block a shot wearing jersey number 19).

Number 4:
1960- Pro Football Sports All Stars (Maco Magazine Corp.)
Cover Photo: George Long
Article: “Johnny Unitas Makes the Colts Click”
1960 Sports All-Stars (Maco Publishing)
For the second straight year Unitas appears on Sports All Stars Pro Football annual edited by Murray Olderman. Within the 2-page article Olderman interviews Packers head coach Vince Lombardi about Unitas. "Without him they're just ordinary. With him, they're great. He's the best quarterback I've ever seen."

Number 5:
1961-62- Complete Sports Pro-Football Illustrated (Complete Sports)
Cover Photo: Morton Tadder (Pictorial Parade)
Article: none

1961-1962 Complete Sports Pro Football Illustrated
Number 6:
1963- Paul Hornung’s Football Magazine (H.S. Publications)
Cover Photo:
Article: “Johny Unitas: He Knows How to Survive to Win” by Gregg Sinclair
1963 Paul Hornung's Football Magazine
Paul Hornung allowed his name to be used on this magazine and was given a Senior Editor credit. Inside Gregg Sinclair writes a 4-page article on Unitas who talks about how he has survived in the NFL.  

Number 7:
1964- All Pro 1964 Football (Maco Magazine Corp)
Cover Photo: Ken Regan
Article: “Two Minutes to Go” by Johnny Unitas
1964 All-Pro 1964 Football Magazine
The 1964 All Pro 1964 Football magazine published by Maco features one of the best action photos of Unitas to appear on a cover of any publication. Shot by Ken Regan the image shows the focus of Unitas as he reads the defense and drops back to pass. One of my favorite images of Unitas.

In an article written by Unitas himself (with help from editor Harold Rosenthal of the New York Herald-Tribune), the great quarterback writes three pages of his personal philosophy what it takes to run a 2-minute offense. "All National Football League teams practice 'two minutes to go' situations. The Colts do this once a week for 20 minutes in a simulated scrimmage. There is, therefore, no helter-skeltering on the field when the situation arises. We are all on the same page, so to speak." 

Number 8:
1965- Dell Sports
Cover Photo- Ken Regan
Article- none
Sept. 1965 Dell Sports Magazine
Number 9:
1965- Sports Review: 1965 Football (Special Issue)
Cover Photo: Morton Tadder
Article- none
Sept. 1965 Football (Sports Review) Magazine
Number 10:
1965-66- Sport Heroes
Cover Photo- artwork by Vic Mikus
Article- “Unitas: Key to Baltimore’s Success” by Cooper Rollow
1965-1966 Sport Heroes Magazine, artwork by Vic Mikus
Artist Vic Mikus does a portrait of Unitas for the cover of the 1965-1966 Sport Heroes magazine. After losing the 1964 NFL Championship to the Cleveland Browns, Cooper Rollow’s article discusses what the Colts and Unitas are doing to get back to the title game. But the best quote in the article comes from Unitas's wife Dorothy. "He hasn't changed a bit since I first met him in high school. He wore a size 7 and one-eighth helmet then, and he still does."

Number 11:

1966 Inside Football (published by Sport magazine)

Cover Photo: Malcolm Emmons

Article: "Why Unitas is the Best Ever" by Steve Singer
1966 Inside Football magazine
Credit: Malcolm Emmons

Although the title of the article is "Why Unitas is the Best Ever", inside is just one page written by Steve Singer (Associate Editor of Sport) about the actual claim. "He leads through his actions. He even blocks and tackles," said Don Shula in the article. "He never gets ruffled and I've never seen him excited. Of course, he lets you know if you break down."

Number 12:
Fall 1967 Pro Football Illustrated
Cover Photos: Unitas by Vernon Biever; Namath by Barton Silverman
Article: "Johnny Unitas: Gamble or Die" by Murray Olderman
Fall 1967 Pro Football Illustrated magazine
Inside the 1967 Pro Football Illustrated is an excerpt of the Unitas' chapter in Murray Olderman's book "The Pro Quarterback" which was published by Prentice-Hall in 1966. "You have to gamble in this league- or die," said Unitas to Olderman.
Johnny Unitas photo that appears inside Fall 1967 Pro Football Illustrated
Credit: Ken Regan
(Next: 1955 Pittsburgh Steelers and Bloomfield Rams)

1 comment:

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