I think what Johnny Unitas did was elevate a second-tier city like Baltimore to major-league status - not just in sports.

Johnny U. made that kind of difference on the psyche of a city. And he raised the expectations that a city has for itself, and, to its credit, Baltimore delivered.

Whenever the debate about quarterbacks and who was the best occurred, Baltimoreans could sit back and let the debate roll on and then end the debate just by saying "Johnny U." Game, set, match. Indisputable fact. And that fact instilled a real pride in this Baltimorean.

So that's a thank you to Johnny U. for increasing the self-esteem and the perceived and actual worth of an entire city just by doing his job.

-Drew Carberry, Chicago

I remember back in 1960 or 1961, Saint Patrick's Church would hold a fathers/sons communion breakfast on Mother's Day. I was just 10 or 11 at that time. As was the custom, a local sporting figure would be asked to give a talk. That year, Johnny Unitas was the guest speaker.

He not only gave the talk, he attended Mass, ate breakfast with the gathering and stayed until the end.

Along with our pastor and my father, we walked Mr. Unitas back to his car parked on Broadway. My father was a longshoreman and, of course, a Colts fan. I remember the pastor and my father talking with the legendary Johnny Unitas as if he were just another regular guy.

Me, I was speechless! He put his arm around me as we walked. I don't think my feet ever touched the ground on that trip to the car. I'll never forget that day.

May God bless Johnny Unitas and his family.

-Patrick M. Wojciechowski, White Hall

What I remember whenever I saw or talked about John Unitas is my grandfathers.

They were both hard working, blue-collar Baltimoreans who loved the Colts. I'm sure neither would have cared much for today's flashiness and grandstanding and would no doubt comment on how Johnny U. would do his job, perform his miracle, and get off the field.

Johnny Unitas did more than people know in making sure that football in this town wasn't about the Colts or the Ravens, but about Baltimore.

Not only did he bridge generations of football fans, he himself was a bridge to fond memories about my late grandfathers.

When John died, it made me think of them again, and for that I am grateful. Many people will remember John for his football accomplishments. I'll remember him for what he did for me, a man he never met.

-David Hughes, Dundalk

Johnny U. literally reinvented his position.

He created the two-minute drill, including the spiked ball to stop the clock. He developed the timed pass thrown to a spot on the field where the receiver would be at a pre-determined number of seconds from the snap of the ball.