YA Tittle first played way, way, back in the days of the AAFC in 1948 and 1949 for the Baltimore Colts. Arguably the best things that came out of the All-American Football Conference were the Colts, Cleveland Browns.. and YA Tittle, who joined the NFL in 1950. While with the AAFC, YA was 309/598 for 4731 yards, 30 TDs and 27 picks. He’d be named rookie of the year in 1948.
Pretty good stats for a kid from Marshall, Tx who ran out on the University of Texas, went to LSU, and had asthma. Well the Colts- went on hiatus really, after the 1950 season, so YA signed with the San Fransisco 49ers and became a major building block for the team’s “Million Dollar Backfield”. Although he shared passing duties his first two seasons, it didn’t seem to discourage Tittle, as he threw for 20 touchdowns in 1953 in his first season as a full-time starter. He’d also play most of the 1954 season with a broken hand. Tittle was named to the ProBowl in 1953, 1954, 1957, and 1959. For his efforts in 1957 where he threw for 2157 yards, completed 63.1% of his passes, 13 touchdowns, and 220 yards rushing, YA won AP honors. During this period Tittle would perfect one of the first specialized pass plays called, the “Alley Oop”- a jump pass he spontaneously worked on with receiver RC Owens during that season. The alley oop was the predecessor to the modern day lob pass and actually inspired the basketball play by the same name. After 10 seasons with the ‘9ers and the emergence of John Brodie, YA thought about retiring but was traded straight up for a rookie to the New York Giants in 1960.
It’d be there that Yat cemented his legacy as a legendary quarterback and Giant great. The Giants turned him loose and the renewed 35 year old Tittle took the league by storm with 3 of the best seasons of his career setting the passing touchdown record in 1962 with 33, and 1963 with 36. In a game during the 1962 season, Tittle threw an earth shattering 7 touchdown passes and 505 yards in one game. The touchdown number has never been surpassed, but tied by 4 other players including George Blanda and Sid Luckman. Tittle won the NFL MVP honor in 1963 for his 33 touchdown passes.
The amazing thing about the touchdown passing record, is that it stood for over 20 years, from an era where passing wasn’t the science it is today, and it was done in less games. (His passing record would be shattered by Dan Marino, and later Tom Brady.) From 61-63 Yat was named to the Pro Bowl and AP, before he had an injury plagued final season in 1964. Tittle was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 and lives in California. He still runs his insurance agency YA Tittle and Associates, that he started when he was still playing football.
Att 4395 Comp 2427 Yds 33070 Pct 55.2%
Td 242 Int 248 Rat 74.3
Rush 372 Yds 1245 Avg Td 39 Lg 45
UPDATE: 10/9/17- YA Tittle passed away today at the grand old age of 90.