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Giants remember Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle


Hall of Fame Quarterback Y.A. Tittle played four seasons with the Giants from 1961-1964:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Y.A. Tittle, who spent the final four seasons of his 15-year Hall of Fame career with the Giants, passed away today, 15 days shy of his 91st birthday.

Tittle led the Giants to three consecutive NFL Championship Games (1961-63), and still holds three franchise records he set more than five decades ago: most touchdown passes in a season (36 in 1963), most touchdown passes in a game (seven vs. Washington on Oct. 28, 1962), and most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (15 from 1962-64).

Tittle was selected the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1963. Lawrence Taylor (1986) is the only other Giants player to be so honored.  In 2010, Tittle was in the original class of 30 players, coaches, executives and owners inducted into the Giants' Ring of Honor. Tittle's No. 14 jersey was retired in 1965. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall in 1971.

"Y.A. was one of the finest men I have ever known," said Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara, whose late father, Wellington, was a close friend of Tittle's. "He was a Hall of Fame quarterback and a Hall of Fame person. He brought our team to new heights in the early 1960's, and left an indelible mark on our franchise."  

Tittle was 34 when he came to the Giants in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers for guard Lou Cordileone on Aug. 18, 1961. In four seasons with the Giants, Tittle played in 54 regular-season games and completed 731 of 1,308 passes (55.9%) for 10,439 yards, 96 touchdowns and 68 interceptions.

His favorite receiver with the Giants was Del Shofner, who in Tittle's first three seasons with the team (Shofner played just six games in 1964), caught 185 passes for 3,439 yards, and 32 touchdowns. Shofner, Homer Jones, Amani Toomer and Odell Beckham, Jr. are the only players in Giants history with at least three consecutive seasons in which they had at least 1,000 receiving yards.

In Tittle's first three seasons with the Giants, they won the NFL's Eastern Conference title with records of 10-3-1 in 1961, 12-2 in 1962, and 11-3 in 1963. But they lost the league's championship game each season, to the Green Bay Packers in 1961 and 62, and to the Chicago Bears in 1963. Tittle started 11 of 14 games in his 17th and final season in 1964, when the Giants slumped to 2-10-2.

It was during that season that Tittle was featured in one of the most iconic sports photos in history. It captured a bloodied and dazed Tittle, sans helmet, kneeling in the end zone in a game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pitt Stadium. The photo, taken on Sept. 20, 1964, was taken by Morris Berman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Tittle had been knocked to the ground by the Steelers' John Baker after throwing an interception. He suffered a concussion and cracked sternum on the play, but didn't miss a game the rest of the season.


When he retired following the 1964 season, Tittle held eight NFL records, including games played (176), and career completions (2,118), passing yards (28,339), and touchdown passes (212).

Tittle was the sixth overall draft choice in the 1948 NFL Draft, by the Detroit Lions. But he opted to begin his professional career with the Baltimore Colts of the All-America Football Conference. He was named the league's Rookie of the Year after passing for 2,739 yards that season. After going 1-11 in 1949, the Colts joined the NFL. But after another 1-11 season, the franchise folded, and its players were made eligible for the 1951 draft. Tittle was then selected by the San Francisco 49ers.

He played 10 seasons (1951-60) for the 49ers. Tittle led the league with 17 touchdown passes in 1955, and led the league in touchdown passes in 1955, and was named the NFL Player of the Year by the UPI in 1957. He is in the 49ers' Hall of Fame.

Tittle's career totals included 2,118 of 3,817 passes (55.5%) for 28,339 yards, 212 touchdowns, and 221 interceptions. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler (including three with the Giants from 1961-63), and four-time first-team All-Pro (1957 with the Niners, 1961-63 with the Giants). Tittle twice set then NFL records for touchdown passes with the Giants, with 33 in 1962 and 36 in 1963. They are still the first and third-highest totals in franchise history (Eli Manning threw 35 touchdown passes in 2015).

Yelberton Abraham Tittle was born on Oct. 24, 1926 in Marshall, Texas. He played college football at Louisiana State University, where he was twice named first-team All-SEC quarterback. Tittle was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1972 and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.

During his NFL career, Tittle worked in the offseason as an insurance salesman. After retiring, he founded his own company, Y. A. Tittle Insurance & Financial Services, and lived in Atherton, Calif.

Tittle's wife, Minnette, died in 2012.

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