Hall of Fame quarterback Yelberton Abraham Tittle known as Y.A., passed away Sunday night at the age of 90.
Pro Football Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker made the following statement regarding Tittle’s death.
“While one of the game’s most iconic photos is of on his knees, in fact, no one stood taller than Y.A. The Game and all those who came after him, stood on his shoulders. Y.A. was an example of the great values the game teaches such as leadership, commitment, perseverance, respect, integrity and most of all competitive spirit. Known by his teammates as “YAT,” Y.A. was loved and respected by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. His legacy will forever be celebrated at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
On behalf of the Hall of Fame staff, Board of Trustees and his fellow Gold Jackets, I offer our profound sympathy to his family and friends.”
Tittle played 17 seasons of pro football, beginning with two seasons (1948-49) with the Baltimore Colts of the-then NFL rival All-America Football Conference (AAFC) followed by an additional season with the Colts after the team merged with the National Football League (NFL) in 1950.
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Tittle played 10 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (1951-1960) and a final four seasons with the New York Giants (1961-64).
Although Y.A. had excellent personal statistics while playing for the Colts and 49ers, the one thing that eluded him was a championship.
Then, in 1961, when Tittle was traded to New York, it looked like his fate would change. The Giants were contenders. However, when he joined the team, he was about as welcome as a bill collector. The Giants were a veteran, close-knit group, proud of their past successes. They knew that Tittle would be battling a team favorite, 40-year-old Charley Conerly, for the quarterback job. The Giants may have feigned cordiality to their new teammate but, for weeks, "Yat” was the loneliest guy in town.
When the 1961 season started, Tittle and Conerly shared the quarterbacking duties but as the Giants moved nearer to the NFL Eastern Division crown, it became more and more evident that Tittle was the guy making it all possible. By the time he was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player, the cold-shoulder treatment from the Giants had long since evaporated.
In 1962, Tittle played even better with 33 touchdown passes and a career-high 3,224 yards. A year later, his TD figure went up to 36; he completed 60.2 percent of his passes, and again was named NFL Player of the Year. A terrific competitor who was always willing to play "hurt,” Tittle led the Giants to divisional titles in 1961, 1962, and 1963. Even though they failed to win the overall NFL crown, those were the "glory years" in New York when Tittle was at the helm.
After his playing career, Tittle served as a QB Mentor for the NY Giants and founded his own company called Insurance & Financial Services.
Tittle was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.