flaccounitas

Joe Flacco to portray Johnny Unitas in upcoming film, Unitas family divided

This is a no-brainer. A brand-new Baltimore sports legend is slated to portray the city's most venerable sports legend in an upcoming film. Joe Flacco might not have the acting chops to play Johnny Unitas off the field, but there's no doubting his qualifications in regard to his ability to emulate Unitas during the final football scenes in "Unitas We Stand," which will stem from a screenplay co-written by Unitas' son, Joe.

Flacco will step in and become Unitas during late scenes depicting the Colts' 1958 championship victory over the Giants in what has been tabbed "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

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"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."

But not everyone in the Unitas family is on board. Unitas' grandson, J.C., wrote on Facebook that Flacco is an "embarrassing choice" to play his Johnny, adding that "if you want a real movie, hire a real actor." J.C.'s father, John Unitas Jr., called Flacco a "goofball" while calling the decision to use him "a joke." 

"It is awful. The guy's a turd," John Jr. told USA Today. "He never talked to me. He never talked to any of the first five children. He's a guy that's just making money off of my father."

Harsh. I would love to be a fly on the wall at the next Unitas family reunion.

Joe Unitas also said the production won't interfere with Flacco's offseason schedule. Filming is scheduled to begin in Baltimore in mid-July, with next February's New York Super Bowl serving as a target date for the release. And then the Unitas family, and everyone else, can debate whether or not Joe Flacco performs an elite portrayal of Johnny Unitas.

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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