Hall of Fame QB Y.A. Tittle with New York Giants, 1962
|Born||October 24, 1926|
|Died||October 8, 2017 (aged 90)|
|NFL Draft||1948 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6|
|Stats at NFL.com|
|Career highlights and awards|
Yelberton Abraham Tittle (October 24, 1926 – October 8, 2017), better known as Y. A. Tittle, was an American football quarterback in the National Football League and All-America Football Conference who played for the Baltimore Colts, San Francisco 49ers, and the New York Giants. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
Tittle attended Louisiana State University and played quarterback for the LSU Tigers football team. He was named the MVP of the legendary 1947 Cotton Bowl Classic, which ended in a scoreless tie between LSU and Arkansas during an ice storm.
Tittle began his career with the Baltimore Colts of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) in 1948, who eventually joined the NFL in 1950. The Colts became defunct after that season, and Tittle joined the San Francisco 49ers. He played there for ten seasons, through 1960, often struggling for playing time. In 1951 and 1952, Frank Albert also played quarterback extensively, and then from 1957 through 1960, John Brodie took time on the field away from Tittle.
In 1961, the 49ers traded Tittle to the New York Giants for guard Lou Cordileone. Tittle went on to lead the Giants to three straight Eastern Division titles, part of a team that featured such great players as Del Shofner, Aaron Thomas, Joe Walton, Frank Gifford, Alex Webster, Dick Lynch, Jimmy Patton, Roosevelt Brown, Andy Robustelli, Sam Huff, Erich Barnes and Joe Morrison. Tittle threw seven touchdown passes on October 28, 1962, in a game against the Washington Redskins that the Giants won 49-34. In 1963, he set what was then an NFL record by throwing 36 touchdown passes. All told, Tittle threw a grand total of 86 touchdown passes from 1961-1963. According to pro football historian T.J. Troup, 80 of those touchdowns came in Giants victories and only 6 came in games the team lost.
The following year, Tittle's final season, the Giants were nowhere close to contention, falling to a 2-10-2 record. Tittle's performance fell from 36 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 1963 to 10 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in 1964. He retired after the season.
The only thing missing from Tittle's impressive résumé was an NFL championship. The Giants lost the title game every year from 1961 to 1963. The 1963 game was especially disappointing, as Tittle hurt his leg while the Giants were losing to the Chicago Bears 14-10. In a career lasting 17 years, Tittle passed for 33,070 yards and 242 touchdowns, and twice received the NFL Most Valuable Player Award. In 1971, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. To this day, Tittle is the only quarterback in the Hall of fame who did not win a postseason game in his career.
Y.A. Tittle was the first and one of only eight quarterbacks in NFL history to have achieved consecutive 30-touchdown passing seasons. The others are Steve Bartkowski, Brett Favre, Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Jeff Garcia, and Drew Brees. Tittle's 36 touchdown passes in the 1963 season would remain an NFL record until Marino threw 48 touchdown passes in 1984.
A photo of a dazed Tittle in the endzone taken by Morris Berman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on September 20, 1964, is regarded among the most iconic images in the history of sports. Tittle, who was in the final season of his career, was photographed helmet-less, bloodied and kneeling immediately after having been knocked to the ground by John Baker of the Pittsburgh Steelers and throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown at the old Pitt Stadium. The quarterback suffered from both a concussion and a cracked sternum on the play. He would go on to play out the rest of the season, but the Giants would finish a disappointing 2-10-2.
Post-Gazette editors at first declined to run the photo, looking for "action shots" instead, but Berman entered the image into contests where it took on a life of its own, winning a National Headliner Award. The photo was ineligible for a Pulitzer Prize because it was not published, but it is regarded as having changed the way that photographers look at sports, having shown the power of capturing a moment of reaction. It now hangs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
After at first having failed to see the appeal of the image, Tittle eventually would grow to embrace it, putting it on the back cover of his 2009 autobiography. "That was the end of the road," he told the Los Angeles Times in 2008. "It was the end of my dream. It was over."
Tittle and Berman weren't the only ones to profit from the famous image, Pittsburgh player John Baker (who hit Tittle right before the picture was taken) ran for Sheriff in his native Wake County, North Carolina in 1978 and used the photo as a campaign tool. Baker went on to serve for 25 years. 
The photo was identified so heavily with youthful years of the baby boom generation that Miller Beer used it in an iconic ad relaunching its "Miller High Life" brand in 2007-2008.
During his NFL career, Tittle worked as an insurance salesman in the off-season and after retiring, founded his own company: Y. A. Tittle Insurance & Financial Services (now operated by his son) . Even into his 80s, Tittle remained active with the San Francisco Forty Niners Alumni.
Tittle played the head coach from Chicago in the movie Any Given Sunday.
NFL Regular season
- 3,817 passes attempted
- 2,118 passes completed
- 28,339 passing yards
- 242 passing touchdowns
- 248 passes intercepted
- 81.4 quarterback rating
AAFC Regular season
- 578 passes attempted
- 309 passes completed
- 4,731 passing yards
- 30 passing touchdowns
- 25 passes intercepted
- 82.1 quarterback rating
- Magazine covers
- Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame
- History of the New York Giants (1925-1978)