SCP Auctions April 2011 Internet Auction
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
Few, if any, sports stories are more dramatic or more complete than the story of Johnny Unitas. A ninth-round draft choice of the 1955 Pittsburgh Steelers, Unitas was cut before he even threw one pass in a game. Still determined, he played semi-pro football for $6 a game. After the season, the Baltimore Colts coach Weeb Ewbank learned of the "outstanding prospect" on the Pittsburgh sandlots. Ewbank signed Johnny for $17,000 on a make the team basis. Programmed strictly as a backup, Unitas got his chance in the fourth game when the Colts’ starter was injured. Unitas’ first pass was intercepted for a touchdown but from that moment on, he never looked back. For the next 18 seasons, "Johnny U'' ran up a ledger of game winning exploits seldom matched in NFL history.
Without a doubt, it was his last-second heroics in the 1958 NFL title game, often called "the greatest game ever played," that turned Unitas into a household name. Possessing an unparalleled combination of confidence, courage, leadership, play calling genius, and passing skill, Unitas’ career statistics include 40,239 yards and 290 touchdown passes. His record of at least one touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games may stand forever. A genuine team player, Unitas was a first- or second-team All-NFL choice eight years, selected NFL Player of the Year three times, and named to10 Pro Bowls.
The offered Johnny Unitas 1960’s Baltimore Colts game worn helmet originates directly from the Unitas family and is described in an accompanying letter of provenance from John Unitas Jr. as “the most significant piece of memorabilia from the Unitas family collection.” The letter also asserts that this helmet has remained in the family’s sole custody since Johnny Unitas last wore it. This head gear is a Gladiator model made by Riddell. It features the athlete's trademark, single-blue center stripe, as well as the club's famous horseshoe side logos. Oversized numerals on back present the revered number "19." The shell's interior components show evident usage wear, however the suspension straps and padding show a much lesser degree than the leather jaw pads and chin strap indicating that this portion may have been replaced near the end of the helmet’s service. The exterior wear is consistent and solid. Unitas added a perfectly positioned signature at top right of the outer shell, which rates 9/10 in strength and spans 7" in length. Few objects in the realm of football memorabilia could inspire more awe than a helmet worn by Johnny U in the field of battle, and no such object could come with a finer pedigree that the one we present here.
This lot has a Reserve Price that has not been met.