PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Johnny Unitas. Joe Namath. George Blanda. Joe Montana. Jim Kelly. Dan Marino. Of the 23 quarterbacks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, six were born and raised in western Pennsylvania.
All six were “unveiled” Tuesday morning in a vibrant painting at Huntington Bank in the Grant Building.
“This work of art will be auctioned off at Gridiron Gold on June 6,” announced regional bank president Susie Shipley.
The bank-sponsored event will benefit Neighborhood Legal Services, supporting more than 2,000 victims of domestic violence every year.
“The four living quarterbacks, Kelly, Montana, Marino and Namath will all be there,” she added. “And they’ll be doing an armchair conversation about their careers, and how western Pennsylvania has affected them as men, and as football players.”
Artist Dino Guarino tapped into boyhood memories in Brookline.
“So many ball fields that came to mind when I was painting this,” he recalled. “Dormont Stadium. Helling Stadium in Ellwood City. And of course, Moore Park, where I grew up and played sandlot ball.”
The painting includes the hole in the fence he and friends would scurry through on football Friday nights.
“Workers waited in week-long anticipation while bar stool wagers were being made, pitting one home team against another,” he added. “But nothing actually compared with actually buckling one’s chin strap, and playing the game.”
And no one played the game any better than six legendary quarterbacks from western Pennsylvania.