Y. A. Tittle

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Y. A. Tittle
No. 63, 14
Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1926-10-24) October 24, 1926 (age 87)
Place of birth: Marshall, Texas
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)Weight: 192 lb (87 kg)
Career information
College: Louisiana State
NFL Draft: 1948 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6
Debuted in 1948 for the Baltimore Colts
Last played in 1964 for the New York Giants
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
TDINT242–248
Yards33,070
QB Rating74.3
Stats at NFL.com
Pro Football Hall of Fame
 
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Y. A. Tittle
No. 63, 14
Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1926-10-24) October 24, 1926 (age 87)
Place of birth: Marshall, Texas
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)Weight: 192 lb (87 kg)
Career information
College: Louisiana State
NFL Draft: 1948 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6
Debuted in 1948 for the Baltimore Colts
Last played in 1964 for the New York Giants
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
TDINT242–248
Yards33,070
QB Rating74.3
Stats at NFL.com
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Yelberton Abraham Tittle (born October 24, 1926), better known as Y. A. Tittle, is a former 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.

Early years and college career[edit]

Tittle was born and raised in Marshall, Texas, where he played high school football. He 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.

Professional career[edit]

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, Frankie 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. (The rookie Cordileone was quoted as reacting "Me, even up for Y.A. Tittle? You're kidding,"[1] and later said angrily that the Giants traded him for "a 42-year-old quarterback."[2]) 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.

Legacy[edit]

The only thing missing from Tittle's impressive résumé was an NFL championship.[editorializing] 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 Modern Era quarterback in the Hall of fame who started, but did not win a postseason game in his career (Sonny Jurgensen was also inducted into the Hall of Fame without winning a playoff game as a starter, but was a member of the 1960 World Champion Philadelphia Eagles; but he never started a playoff game).[citation needed]

Tittle threw seven touchdown passes in a game on October 28, 1962, which still stands as the all-time record for passing touchdowns in a single game; Tittle shares the record with six other players: Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, George Blanda, Joe Kapp, Peyton Manning, and Nick Foles. And with Manning and Foles, he is one of only three quarterbacks who threw for seven touchdown passes and no picks in a single game. Tittle was the first player in NFL history to throw 30 or more touchdown passes in consecutive seasons. Tittle's 36 touchdown passes in 1963 set a record which would stand for over 20 years until it was surpassed by Dan Marino in 1984.[citation needed]

Famous photo[edit]

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 American sports and journalism.[3] 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 both a concussion and 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.[citation needed]

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.[3] 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. A copy now hangs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[citation needed]

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."[citation needed]

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.[4]

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.[5]

Post-retirement[edit]

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).[6]

In popular culture[edit]

Tittle played the head coach from Chicago in the movie Any Given Sunday.

In Nick Meglin and Jack Davis' football parody comic "Superfan", a mild-mannered accountant named Y. A. Schmickle becomes a superstar quarterback thanks to ingesting a secret formula.[7]

Career statistics[edit]

NFL regular season[edit]

AAFC regular season[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "49er Quarterback Y.A. Tittle", Sports Illustrated, September 2, 1996
  2. ^ "Tittle didn't want Giants trade", New Jersey Star-Ledger, September 22, 2009
  3. ^ a b " Fallen Giant—"A whole lifetime was over," legendary quarterback Y.A. Tittle recalls, retrieved 02-Feb-2013: "It was chosen the best sports photograph in the National Headliner Award competition of 1964. Now, it is one of only three pictures hanging in the lobby of the National Press Photographers Association headquarters in Durham, North Carolina, alongside Joe Rosenthal's photograph of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima and the image of the fiery death of the Hindenburg dirigible at Lakehurst, New Jersey."
  4. ^ "1964 Steelers: A Picture Worth More Than Words Can Say", June 3, 2008
  5. ^ "Miller High Life Girl in the Moon", YouTube
  6. ^ Y.A. Tittle & Associates Insurance Services
  7. ^ Superfan: The Freaky Football Folk Hero

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ernie Case
Baltimore Colts (AAFC) Starting Quarterback
1948–1950
Succeeded by
Franchise folded
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Bobby Layne
(1,814)
Total pass completions in the NFL
(2,118)

1963–1967
Succeeded by
Johnny Unitas
(2,830)
Preceded by
Bobby Layne
(196)
Total touchdown passes in the NFL
(212)

1963–1966
Succeeded by
Johnny Unitas
(290)
Preceded by
Bobby Layne
(26,768)
Total passing yards in the NFL
(28,339)

1964–1966
Succeeded by
Johnny Unitas
(40,239)