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New York Giants Legend Y.A. Tittle Passes Away at 90

Former New York Giants quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle has passed away at the age of 90.

Yelberton Abraham Tittle, better known as Y.A., spent just four seasons with the Giants, but he left an everlasting mark on the organization. The sixth-overall pick in the 1948 NFL Draft, Tittle spent three years with the Baltimore Colts (unrelated to the modern-day organization in Indianapolis) before joining the San Francisco 49ers in 1951. After making a name for himself in San Francisco, earning All-Pro honors in 1957, Tittle was traded to the Giants in 1961. At 34 years old, Tittle was considered past his prime, so much so that Lou Cordileone, the guard the Giants traded to get Tittle, was quoted as saying “Me, even up for Y.A. Tittle? You’re kidding.”

Tittle, however, regained his elite form with the Giants, becoming one of the most prolific passers in team history. At first expected to split quarterback duties with Charlie Conerly, Tittle took over full-time early in the 1961 season, ending a resurgent season with 2,272 yards and 17 touchdowns. His efforts earned him the Jim Thorpe Trophy, a since-discontinued Most Valuable Player award voted on by the players.

After his stellar debut, Tittle broke the NFL single-season mark for touchdown passes in back-to-back years. In addition throwing for a career-high 3,224 yards, he threw 33 in 1962, passing Sonny Jurgensen with a six-touchdown showing in the season-finale against Dallas. The broke his own mark the very next season with 36, a year that also saw Tittle earn the Associated Press’s MVP Award and his third-straight Pro Bowl appearance.

Tittle would then retire after an injury-plagued 1964 season. He concluded his Giants career with 96 touchdown passes and 10,439 yards, amassing a 32-13-3 record as a starter. Though victory proved elusive, he led the Giants to the NFL Championship Game in three of his four seasons in New York.

Tittle was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. His number 14 was retired by the Giants, an honor he shares with multi-purpose player Ward Cuff.

Nicknamed the “Bald Eagle” due to his baldness, which began in college, Tittle began to make a name for himself at LSU, where he played both offense and defense. Winning just two games as a freshman in 1944, Tittle led the Tigers to a 9-1 record in 1946 as a junior, leading them to that season’s Cotton Bowl Classic. Though the game against Arkansas, nicknamed the Ice Bowl due to a winter storm, ended in a scoreless tie, Tittle shared MVP honors. He ended his career as the UPI’s first-team SEC quarterback in his final two seasons.

Tittle death was confirmed by his family to LSU officials, though a cause has yet to be released. He is survived by his daughter Dianne de Laet, a harpist and author who penned her father’s biography Giants & Heroes: A Daughter’s Memories of Y.A. Tittle.

Everyone here at ESNY sends their deepest condolences to his family and friends.