In Barry Levinson's Diner, set in the Baltimore of 1959, the young hero insists that his fianc�e pass an impossibly difficult Colts trivia test before he'll agree to marry her. This became known as The Quiz.
When I wrote the movie Diner, The Quiz did not contain any Johnny Unitas questions. At the end of 1959 every fan would have known all of Unitas's stats. He had been around for only a couple of years but had led the Colts to two national championships. The legend of Johnny Unitas was just beginning. What follows is the ultimate Unitas Quiz.
1. Unitas could not bend the first joint of the index finger of his throwing (right) hand because of an injury he suffered while in high school. What caused that injury?
2. As a high school senior Unitas was selected to the Pittsburgh All-Catholic team and worked out for Notre Dame. Why didn't the Irish offer him a scholarship?
3. After Louisville gave Unitas a scholarship, what happened that nearly prevented him from playing there?
4. As a rookie in the Steelers' 1955 training camp, Unitas did not take a single snap in the team's five preseason games, yet an Associated Press photograph of him appeared in newspapers across the country. What was Unitas doing in the photo?
5. After being cut by the Steelers, Unitas returned to what job and played for which semipro team?
6. Unitas and his family filmed two television commercials, one of which he called "probably the worst commercial I've ever seen." What was the family doing in the commercial, and what was the product?
7. Following the Greatest Game Ever Played, in 1958, Unitas was named the first recipient of a Sport magazine award for the outstanding player in the NFL Championship Game. What did Unitas receive?
8. After the 1959 championship game, Unitas was photographed during the locker room celebration waving a bottle in his hand, prompting a barrage of letters demanding to know what he was drinking. What was in the bottle?