Sad news to report today. Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle passed away on Monday at the age of 90. Although a lot of people think about his time with the New York Giants, he spent the bulk of his career with the San Francisco 49ers, from 1951 to 1960.
49ers CEO Jed York issued a statement on Tittle’s passing.
“The San Francisco 49ers organization and our Faithful fans have lost a dear member of our family. Y.A. Tittle will forever hold a special place in not only 49ers history but that of the National Football League. His individual accomplishments speak for themselves, but as a member of the ‘Million Dollar Backfield’ he was part of one of the most storied offensive attacks the game of football has ever seen. During his 15 years as a player and a coach, Y.A. made many significant contributions to this organization and the Bay Area. Our best wishes are with his family and the many friends and fans he leaves behind.”
I had a chance to listen to Tittle speak once, when he introduced R.C. Owens for the 49ers Hall of Fame. I don’t remember specifically what Tittle said, but I remember he cracked up the room.
Here is a bio the 49ers passed along.
Tittle was drafted by the 49ers third overall in the 1951 NFL Draft, after spending two seasons (1948-49) in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) with the Baltimore Colts and one season (1950) with the Colts in the newly-merged NFL. He spent 10 seasons with San Francisco (1951-60), appearing in 112 regular season games (78 starts), the fourth-most among 49ers quarterbacks, and registered 1,226 completions for 16,016 yards and 108 touchdowns. His numbers are among the best in franchise history as he still ranks fifth in passing attempts, passing yards and touchdown passes, and sixth in completions. From 1954-56, Tittle was also part of the famed “Million Dollar Backfield” that featured Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Famers John Henry Johnson, Hugh McElhenny and Joe Perry.
Tittle went on to play four seasons with the New York Giants (1961-64). Throughout his 15-year NFL career, he went to seven Pro Bowls (1953-54, 1957, 1959 & 1961-63) and was twice named the Newspaper Enterprise Association NFL MVP (1961 & 1963). Tittle is one of two players in NFL history to throw for 500-or-more yards and seven-or-more touchdowns in a single game (Drew Brees). Following his playing career, Tittle re-joined the 49ers in 1965 as an offensive consultant, a role he kept for five seasons (1965-69).
Tittle was the first winner of the team’s Len Eshmont Award in 1957, given each year to the 49ers player who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, a member of the original 1946 49ers team. In 1971, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was one of the original inductees into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame in 2009.
A native of Marshall, TX, Tittle attended Louisiana State University for four seasons (1944-47) where he began his career as a halfback prior to making the switch to quarterback. As a senior in 1947, he was named LSU’s Most Valuable Player.