It's already been a big year for Joe Flacco.
The Ravens quarterback led the Ravens to a Super Bowl XLVII championship with an MVP performance, and then signed the richest contract in NFL history. He was at the center of the sports world, and made the rounds on the late-night talk shows and various celebrity appearances.
Now he has another unique opportunity: the chance to portray Baltimore sports icon Johnny Unitas in an upcoming movie.
Flacco was selected to play the legendary Baltimore Colts quarterback for the on-field scenes in the upcoming film, "Unitas We Stand," which is being produced by Unitas' son, Joe.
"This really was the fact that this is Johnny Unitas, and he's one of the greatest quarterbacks that has ever played," Flacco said. "It's just one of those things that comes along and I was honored to be the guy that was asked."
Flacco will play Unitas in scenes depicting the 1958 championship game, known as the "Greatest Game Ever Played," where the Colts beat the Giants, 23-17.
"I'm just excited that I get to go out and put on some kind of Johnny Unitas uniform and go out there and run around a little bit," Flacco said. "I'm a little nervous about the fact that I'm probably not going to replicate him perfectly. I don't know if they're going to want me to go out there and just look like me, or if they're going to want me to actually look like him a little bit. I'm sure that will be a little tough to do, but I'm going to try to do it."
The connection both players have to Baltimore was part of the consideration when deciding how to cast the film, and Joe Unitas said that "the way Joe plays and his demeanor reminds me a lot of my dad."
Unitas' connection with Baltimore and admiration from the fans even to this day stands out to Flacco.
"I didn't get to know him personally, but what he's passed onto the fans, and all the people in the city of Baltimore, you can tell that they have a great deal of love and admiration for him," Flacco said. "He was a guy who loved the fans and took time to make sure that they realized that. I think any time you're the head of a franchise, you want to do a good job with that, and pretty much just be a respectful person that people will come up and talk to and have a good time with."
Flacco is set to start filming this summer, before the Ravens open training camp in late July. The hope is for the movie to be released around next year's Super Bowl, but significant funds still have to be raised to put the film into production.
"I thought it would be pretty cool of an opportunity for myself when I'm a little bit older and I can look back and say that I had done it," Flacco said. "I also thought that it would be pretty cool to have a Baltimore guy."