Yelberton Abraham Tittle played just four seasons with the New York Giants, the final four seasons of a 17-year Hall of Fame professional career. They were, however, a glorious four seasons.
Traded from the San Francisco 49ers to the Giants in 1961, he led the Giants to division titles three consecutive seasons.
Tittle was MVP as a Giant in both 1961 and 1963, and was All-NFL in 1961, 1962 and 1963. He was also the first quarterback in NFL history to achieve consecutive 30+ touchdown passing seasons. He did that with the Giants in 1962 and 1963, a pretty amazing feat in a 14-game season where the passing game was not nearly as developed as it is today.
Tittle's three-year run has to be the best of any quarterback in Giants' history. Longevity with the team is probably the only reason most consider Phil Simms -- and not Tittle -- the best quarterback in team history.
Tittle was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. The number 14, of course, is retired by the Giants in his honor. Here is Tittle's Hall of Fame bio.
He played 10 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and a final four seasons with the New York Giants. Although Tittle had excellent personal statistics while playing for the Colts and 49ers, the one thing that eluded him was a championship.
Then, in 1961, when Tittle was traded to New York, it looked like his fate would change. The Giants were contenders. However, when he joined the team, he was about as welcome as a bill collector. The Giants were a veteran, close-knit group, proud of their past successes. They knew that Tittle would be battling a team favorite, 40-year-old Charley Conerly, for the quarterback job. The Giants may have feigned cordiality to their new teammate but, for weeks, "Yat" was the loneliest guy in town.
When the 1961 season started, Tittle and Conerly shared the quarterbacking duties but as the Giants moved nearer to the NFL Eastern Division crown, it became more and more evident that Tittle was the guy making it all possible. By the time he was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player, the cold-shoulder treatment from the Giants had long since evaporated.
In 1962, Tittle played even better with 33 touchdown passes and a career-high 3,224 yards. A year later, his TD figure went up to 36; he completed 60.2 percent of his passes, and again was named NFL Player of the Year. A terrific competitor who was always willing to play "hurt," Tittle led the Giants to divisional titles in 1961, 1962, and 1963. Even though they failed to win the overall NFL crown, those were the "glory years" in New York when Tittle was at the helm.