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Unitas We Don’t Stand: Unitas Family Split Over Flacco’s New Movie Role

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Mary Bubala joined WJZ in December 2003. She now anchors the 4-4:30...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Quarterback controversy. The family of legendary Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas is split over whether Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco should reenact parts of the greatest game ever played for a new movie.

Mary Bubala has more on the controversy.

Ravens QB Joe Flacco will portray Johnny Unitas in the football scenes of an upcoming film called “Unitas We Stand.”

Flacco will recreate moments from the 1958 championship game.

On the website promoting the movie, Flacco said he’s excited and honored by the opportunity to play Unitas.

The movie is being produced by his son Joe Unitas.

“He’s got that quiet leadership that my dad had,” said Joe Unitas.”He and my dad have a lot of similarities in how they carry themselves and how they lead the team.”

You’d think after just winning the Super Bowl, Joe Flacco would be the perfect person to play Johnny Unitas.

Not according to the other side of the Unitas family.

In USA Today, both John Jr and grandson JC make disparaging comments about Flacco, calling him a “goofball,” an “embarrassing choice” to play Johnny Unitas.

They say “if you want a quarterback, go with Peyton Manning.”

It’s the latest exchange in a long simmering Unitas family feud since Johnny Unitas died 11 years ago.

“I wasn’t too happy with it, obviously. But I think a lot of it comes from emotion,” said Joe Unitas. “You know this is our father, and if it’s not something you pictured in your mind then you are going to take offense to it and I get that. The way they handled it probably wasn’t the best.”

Monday, at Cross Street Market in Federal Hill, we asked Ravens fans their opinion of Flacco recreating a few on-field Unitas passes for the film.

“I think he’d be perfect,” a fan said.

“I think the cool and calmness of Joe Flacco will fit right into the way Johnny Unitas appealed as a quarterback back in the day. It’s perfect,” said Henry Reisinger, of Lansdowne.

“I think people think of him like Johnny Unitas, you know? They are both great guys, good football players,” said Regina White, of South Baltimore.

A professional actor will actually portray Johnny Unitas in the off-the-field speaking roles in the movie.

Flacco hasn’t commented on the controversy.

WJZ did reach John Unitas Jr.  He declined to comment.

Filming will begin in July, and the movie will likely be released in theaters next February.

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