Nov. 2, 2006

BALTIMORE, MD. – Five senior quarterbacks have been selected as finalists for the 2006 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually to the nation’s top senior collegiate quarterback by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc.

The five finalists are: John Beck, BYU, Kevin Kolb, Houston, Brady Quinn, Notre Dame, Troy Smith, Ohio State and Drew Stanton, Michigan State. These five star quarterbacks were selected by a committee of football experts from across the United States.

The 2006 recipient will be announced December 1, 2006, with the award presentation to be made on December 8, 2006 at the Tremont Grand Meeting & Banquet Facility, in downtown Baltimore, Maryland.

This prestigious award bears the name of who many refer to as the finest quarterback to ever play the game of football. Established in 1987, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award has previously honored 19 outstanding young men.

USC quarterback Matt Leinart won the award last year. Other past recipients include Don McPherson (Syracuse, 1987), Rodney Peete (USC, 1988), Tony Rice (Notre Dame, 1989), Craig Erickson (Miami, Fla., 1990), Casey Weldon (Florida State, 1991), Gino Torretta (Miami, Fla., 1992), Charlie Ward (Florida State, 1993), Jay Barker (Alabama, 1994), Tommie Frazier (Nebraska, 1995), Danny Wuerffel (Florida, 1996), Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Cade McNown (UCLA, 1998), Chris Redman (Louisville, 1999), Chris Weinke (Florida State, 2000), David Carr (Fresno State, 2001) Carson Palmer (USC, 2002), Eli Manning (Ole Miss, 2003) and Jason White (University of Oklahoma, 2004).

In addition to honoring a player with the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc., has awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships to deserving scholar athletes from local area high schools both in Maryland and Kentucky. The Transamerica Insurance and Investment Group, a leading provider of innovative business and personal financial services, is our major corporate and presenting sponsor for the award and organization. Additional sponsors include Stanton Communications, a public relations firm specializing in public affairs, corporate counseling, business marketing and crisis communications for corporations and nonprofit organizations, the Tremont Grand, a distinctive reception and conference facility with five floors and over 45,000 square feet of meeting space, and Round 2 Communications, an award-winning brand development, marketing strategy and internet communications firm focused on one important goal – revenue growth for your business.

The namesake of the award has a storied history which has earned him the recognition of being the Greatest Quarterback to ever play in the NFL.

An 18-year veteran of the NFL, Unitas played his collegiate career at the University of Louisville (1951-1954), passing for 3007 yds and 27 TDs. Unitas, who wore #19 as a professional, had his # 16 collegiate uniform retired at Louisville, the lone number retired by the Cardinals.

Johnny Unitas began his 18 year pro career with the Baltimore Colts in 1958 and played there until joining the San Diego Chargers for his final season. His career passing figures are mind boggling. He completed 2,830 of 5,186 passes for 40,239 yds and 290 TDs during his 18 year NFL career. Among his many records is one that may stand forever, throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games.

Unitas was recently selected as the top quarterback of all-time by the Pro Football Hall of Fame 36 member selection committee. In commemorating the NFL’s 25th, 50th and 75th anniversaries, he was also honored as the GREATEST QUARTERBACK OF ALL TIME. A Pro Bowl participant 10 times and a THREE-TIME MOST VALUABLE PLAYER honoree, Johnny Unitas was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1979. In turn of the century listings, Johnny was featured among SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’S top ten athletes, TIME’s ten most influential athletes and in ESPN’s series on the 50 Greatest Athletes of the Century.

Additional information on the Golden Arm Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. may be obtained from John Unitas, Jr.