Pro Football Hall of Fame QB Y.A. Tittle dies at 90

Y.A. Tittle, the Hall of Fame quarterback and celebrated former signal-caller for the Colts, 49ers and Giants, passed away Sunday night. He was 90.

The sports information department at LSU, Tittle's alma mater, confirmed his passing, noting that the NFL icon was peacefully surrounded by family and friends.

Tittle's storied career through pro football began in 1948 with the Baltimore Colts and spanned three decades and 17 seasons. During long stints with Baltimore, San Francisco and the New York Giants, Tittle piled up two MVP awards, four All-NFL selections and seven Pro Bowl appearances.

"Y.A. Tittle will forever hold a special place in not only 49ers history but that of the National Football League," Niners owner Jed York said in a statement Monday. "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."

In a 1962 showdown with the Redskins, Tittle, entrenched with the Giants, unfurled an NFL-record seven touchdowns, helping to boost his career total of 212 scoring passes.

Looking back on that distant afternoon's seven scoring strikes, Tittle -- nicknamed the "The Bald Eagle" for his absence of hair -- once reflected in a conversation with ESPN: "I didn't know I was that good."

Even younger football fans will recall the iconic photograph taken of Tittle: a cinematic, grainy, black-and-white image showing the fallen signal-caller on his knees, helmet off and bleeding from the forehead after throwing a pick-six in 1964, the final year of his enduring career.

"While one of the game's most iconic photos is of Y.A. Tittle on his knees, in fact, no one stood taller than Y.A.," said David Baker, Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO. "The game and all those who came after him, stood on his shoulders. Y.A. was an example of the great values the game teaches such as leadership, commitment, perseverance, respect, integrity and most of all competitive spirit. Known by his teammates as "YAT," Y.A. was loved and respected by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. His legacy will forever be celebrated at the Pro Football Hall of Fame."

Speaking of his post-playing days, Tittle's wife, Dianne, once told ESPN that the game was his "emotional home," noting that he was "was homesick for it" until the end.

Long before the Tom Bradys of the world grappled with sports science to author lengthy careers, Tittle was out there in the mid-60s flinging passes at age 38, daring Father Time with every snap.

He goes down as one of the most durable, intriguing and beloved passers of his day -- one remembered by his peers as an old-school warrior who lived for Sundays until the end.

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