A Texas newspaper said Monday that former Pro Football Hall of Famer and LSU quarterback Y. A. Tittle, a titan in the 1950s and 60s era of professional football, has died.
He was 90 yeas old.
The Marshall News Messenger first reported Tittle’s passing on Twitter, which was later confirmed by LSU.
We are saddened to hear that Marshall's own, and Pro Football Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle has passed away
— Marshall News Sports (@MNMSports) October 9, 2017
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) October 9, 2017
Tittle was a two-time All-SEC quarterback during his time at LSU, and named MVP of LSU’s infamous 1947 “Ice Bowl” against Arkansas – the game ended in a scoreless tie due to a snowstorm.
The Detroit Lions drafted Tittle in the 1947 NFL Draft, but he instead chose to play for the AAFC Baltimore Colts where he was named Rookie Of The Year. After the AAFC folded in the following year, Tittle was re-drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, where he played for ten years and racked up four Pro Bowl invites and the NFL Player of the Year title from the United Press in 1957.
Tittle was the first professional football player featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and credited with creating the “alley oop” play. He and receiver R. C. Owens capitalized on the latter’s 6-foot 3-inch height by Tittle throwing a jump ball downfield, trusting in Owens to out-leap his defenders and catch it.
“With the Alley-Oop now considered to be a legitimate weapon, the only defense against it was a defensive back who could outleap R.C. – and at that time, no such animal existed in the NFL,” Tittle told Golden Football Magazine.
Tittle finished his career with the New York Giants, leading them to three NFL championship game appearances. He earned multiple MVP titles and single-season passing records, but it was a photograph taken of him kneeling in the end zone, bleeding and helmet-less after a strong hit, which endured in the public’s memory. It is regarded as one of the most enduring and iconic North American sports photographs of all time.
Tittle retired in 1964 at age 39 after throwing only ten touchdowns and 22 interceptions the past season, the worst in Giants’ history. He told the media that rookie quarterback Gary Wood not only “took my job away, but started to ask permission to date my daughter.”
Image: WikiMedia Commons