The six native western Pennsylvanians who are Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks were honored at GRIDIRON GOLD in Pittsburgh June 6. GRIDIRON GOLD was held in Downtown Pittsburgh and was presented by Neighborhood Legal Services Association (NLSA), a non-profit organization providing legal services to thousands of low-income individuals and families throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.
Art Rooney II, President of the Pittsburgh Steelers, served as the honorary chair of the event.
Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Joe Montana and Joe Namath along with John Unitas, Jr., and Betty Blandawere on hand for the event.
"Western Pennsylvania is, as far as we know, the only region to produce six legendary, Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks," said Rooney. "This promises to be an exceptional event for sports fans in this region. I am pleased to serve as Honorary Chair and proud to support the outstanding work of NLSA in our community."
The important work of the NLSA will be the primary beneficiary of proceeds from GRIDIRON GOLD. "We're honored that these exceptional athletes and their families have accepted an invitation from our organization and Art Rooney to return home to receive long-overdue hometown appreciation," said Robert Racunas, Esq., Executive Director of NLSA.
George Blanda played 26 seasons in the NFL–more than anyone in history. Blanda was born in Youngwood, PA (Westmoreland County) and played ball as both a quarterback and placekicker. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Blanda was signed by the Chicago Bears in 1949. He went on to play with the Houston Oilers and Oakland Raiders and led the Raiders to Super Bowl II. Blanda died in 2010. His wife, Betty Blanda, represented him at the GRIDIRON GOLD event.