I’ve been reading Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas the past few days as a sort of mental preparation for Sunday’s Super Bowl. It’s a great read about one of the game’s all-time greats—and a must for any football fan.
I’m torn about which team to root for, though I'm leaning toward the Bears. I’m a Chicago native, but I was once drafted by the Colts when they were in Baltimore. I use the word “drafted” because it sounds more authentic. But the truth is, it was more of an invitation to try out for the Colts, and I was not an official draft pick.
Don’t ask me why this happened. In the days before the two leagues merged, the NFL held what amounted to a supplemental futures draft. The idea, as best as I can recall, was to scout college athletes as prospects for down the line. They wanted to time us in the 40-yard dash and see how high we could jump and if we could catch a football.
One area of emphasis was on recruiting basketball players—mostly tall guards—because they could jump, had good hands, were good at back-pedaling and seeing passing lanes. When I got my invite, I was a 6'-2," 180-pound guard playing for Chapman College.
Of course I never entertained any thoughts of playing pro football—intramural flag football was more my speed. But I did get some mileage out of the story at parties (and my dad loved it), and I would occasionally tease my friends that, hey, in a couple of years, I could have the locker next to Johnny U.
I wish the best of luck to Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy, and I’m hoping Rex Grossman plays at least well enough to keep the Bears in the game.
I made a bet with Marvin about which team will win, and I dropped the bombshell that I was once drafted by the Colts. (We got a good laugh out of that.) He thinks the game will be over by halftime and predicts the Colts will win handily, 35-10. I also think the Colts will win, but I'm betting the score will be 27-17—and I’m rooting for the Bears.
So here’s your chance to go on record. Tell me who you think will win and what the final score will be.