How Does Lamar Jackson Compare to Johnny Unitas?

How Does Lamar Jackson Compare to Johnny Unitas?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Few NFL quarterbacks have started their professional football careers the way that Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens has over the last six years.

The 27-year-old veteran is almost guaranteed to win his second league MVP in 2024, after compiling 3,678 passing yards and 24 touchdowns. Jackson also posted the second-highest weighted average value (wAV), per Pro-Football-Reference.com, of his career to date, at 19. Weighted Average Value is a metric that puts a value on a player's value at their position in a given season.

While we consider getting involved in Maryland sports betting as the Ravens prepare to kick off their Super Bowl run against the Houston Texans on Saturday afternoon, BetMaryland.com wanted to stack up Jackson’s run in the Charm City against Baltimore’s other MVP-winning signal caller.

To do so, we used Pro-Football-Reference.com to compare Jackson and Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas, who played for the then-Baltimore Colts between 1956 and 1972.  Here’s how Jackson’s run in Baltimore stacks up against Unitas’s legendary stint with the Colts:

Lamar Jackson vs. Johnny Unitas

This comparison of legendary quarterbacks won’t be found on any Maryland betting appsbut it does put Jackson’s budding career in perspective

  • Jackson: 1 MVP (likely a 2nd this year), 74 wAV, 125 TD (45 INT), 86 games
  • Unitas: 3 MVPs, 145 wAV, 290 TD (253 INT), 211 games

Totals Through 6 Seasons

  • Jackson: 15,887 passing yards (5,258 rushing yards), 125 passing TDs (29 rushing TDs), 45 INTs, 93 wAV, 1 MVP (2019) + 1 TBD (2023) + 3x Pro Bowl
  • Unitas: 18,010 passing yards (995 rushing yards), 125 passing TDs (9 rushing TDs), 96 INTs, 29 wAV (2 seasons available, 1960/1961), 1 MVP (1959) + 5x Pro Bowl
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Comparison Through 6 Seasons

While Jackson has yet to win a Super Bowl title in his first six seasons in the NFL, there’s no denying the former Heisman Trophy winner has held his own against Unitas to this point in his career. There also is no denying the Ravens’ Super Bowl odds are strong.

Of the two, Unitas threw for more passing yards (18,010) during his first six years in the league, compared to Jackson’s 15,887, though Jackson has more rushing touchdowns (29 to 9) and fewer interceptions (45 to 96).  Both threw the same number of touchdown passes (125) in their first six seasons in Baltimore, but Jackson posted 96 wAV to Unitas’ 29.

Part of the lower figure for Unitas can be attributed to the fact that Pro-Football-Reference.com only tracks value from 1960 onward, which means that the legend only gets credit for two years’ worth of data (1960 and 1961).

Both Baltimore quarterbacks had one AP MVP apiece through six seasons. Unitas had more Pro Bowl appearances (five) than Jackson (three) through that point in their careers.

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Rested Ravens Start Playoff Run

Right now, the only thing on Jackson’s mind is likely Saturday’s AFC Divisional Round contest against the Texans, with oddsmakers from ESPN BET Maryland listing Baltimore as a nine-point and -420 moneyline favorite.

With a win over Houston, Jackson and the Ravens can get one step closer to securing the franchise’s third Super Bowl title. BetMGM Maryland lists the Ravens as favorite to win the AFC at +120 and second favorite (behind San Francisco) at +275 to win the Super Bowl.

Winning Baltimore’s first championship since 2012 perhaps would draw Jackson one step closer in the minds of Baltimore football fans to the Great One himself. 

Terms apply for all bonuses. Must be 21+ to participate.  
Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate & present in MD. In Partnership with MGM National Harbor. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Visit BetMGM.com for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.
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Author

Christopher Boan writes for BetMaryland.com and has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, with experience at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.2021-08-02

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