H/T Western Journalism.

R.I.P. Hall Of Fame Quarterback Y.A. Tittle   October 24,1926-October 8, 2017.

“I wish I could do it all over again.”

n the books of the National Football League, Y.A. Tittle, who died Sunday at the age of 90, will always be remembered as an all-time great star quarterback who came close to the big prize, but never won it.

During his glory-filled seasons with the New York Giants, his team was twice defeated by freezing weather and the Green Bay Packers before falling to the Chicago Bears in what would be his last grasp at an NFL championship.

But to hear the star of the San Francisco 49ers and later the Giants tell the tale, he came out on top.

I was disappointed because for so many years I’d chased the whale, had never really won the championship game,” Tittle said in a 2006 NPR interview.
“We’d won our district championship when I was in high school, we went and lost in a crucial game later. We didn’t go as far as we could have gone. Going to college, we played in the Cotton Bowl, tied with Arkansas, a much better football team than Arkansas that year but we caught a snowstorm there. The same thing seemed to follow me all my life, never ever really winning the big game,” he said.

Tittle then shifted to what really matters.

“But I did win, really, in the long run because I have four wonderful children and grandchildren,” he said.

“I’ve loved football ever since the day I played back in east Texas to the very last day at 38 years old I threw a ball in my last practice with the Giants. I wish I could do it all over again because it was a wonderful experience and a wonderful ride,” he continued.

“Football was my whole life. Being successful in pro football was such a dream come true, because I never really thought I’d be that good. I didn’t grow up cocky, believing I was the best. I was surprised when I made the LSU starting team, I was surprised when I was good at professional football. I knew I could throw, though,” he said in a 2009 interviewer with Cleveland.com. 

View image on Twitter

We lost another legend. Yelberton Abraham Tittle, Jr. Groundbreaking QB and subject of one of my all time favorite sports photos. RIP. 

For all the touchdowns and fame, Tittle if often remembered for a photo from his last season, 1964, when the Giants went from the top of the league to the bottom. The image captures a disconsolate yet determined warrior as he sat on the sideline dazed with blood streaming down his forehead.

“I really don’t remember the ballgame because I was knocked out. I didn’t really regain consciousness until the end of the game. I missed a lot of the events. The picture ended up winning awards and getting a lot of attention. At first I didn’t care to see it. But as the years have gone by, I’m sort of proud to be in it,” he said.

Tittle played 17 years of pro football, beginning with the Baltimore Colts of the All-American Conference before joining the 49ers, who later traded him to the Giants.

The hall-of-famer, who sent a then-record in 1963 with 36 touchdown passes (good enough to win him the NFL MVP award), is among a handful of quarterbacks to throw for seven touchdown passes in a game. He could have added one more.

“I had a chance — I’m not trying to brag, now — to throw for eight touchdowns and a record. We had a first down deep in Washington territory in the final minutes. The coach wanted me to throw for No. 8. I didn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it,” he said in his 2009 interview. “We already had the game won. It would have just been for personal gain. Anybody in the stands, anybody on the other team, would have said, ‘Y.A. Tittle was doing his thing for personal glory.’ That’s not why I played football. I didn’t want to be remembered as the guy who threw three or four passes in a row so he could get an eighth touchdown.”

 

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