Letters Taken From FourthAndGoalUnites.com…
My husband played 18 years in the National Football League – 17 seasons with the Baltimore Colts and one with the San Diego Chargers.
My husband completed 2,830 passes for more than 40,000 yards and 290 touchdowns during his NFL career. He threw at least one touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games – an NFL record that still stands today.
My husband was honored as the league’s Player of the Year three times. He was named All-Pro six times and selected for the Pro Bowl 10 times.
My husband was the quarterback of the 1958 NFL Championship Game – the first “sudden death” playoff game – that launched the nearly 54-year lucrative partnership between the league and television.
My husband suffered numerous injuries during his NFL career, including a broken nose, punctured lung, damaged knees, a shattered knuckle, ligament and ulnar nerve damage to his right arm, and broken ribs. He played through many of those injuries and, years later, when he lost the use of his right hand due to a football injury, the league he loved and the union he supported denied him disability benefits.
My husband worked diligently to protect not only himself and his family, but also his teammates and their families. A team leader on and off the field, my husband was greatly concerned about those who couldn’t afford health insurance following their NFL careers.
My husband chose the pension option that would continue following his death, to ensure that I would be covered. Recently I learned that I – along with more than 300 other widows of retired players who were receiving their pensions and died prior to August 4, 2011 – am excluded from the Legacy Benefit.
My husband – like so many pioneers of the league – helped build the league and the union. While the league has offered assurances that they will rectify the situation, the union has remained silent.
My husband would be appalled.
Sandra Unitas, widow of NFL Hall of Fame QB John Unitas