I DON’T MENTION IT MUCH, but I am, and have been, an NFL history buff. I love reading about the football greats that played in what you can now easily say may have been the best-era for pro football, the 50’s and 60’s. The players then had a spirit, playing for the love of the game. That era is filled with great players who have been idolized for generations, their stories and their personalities forever enshrined in football history (even the players not enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame). For me, next to Johnny Unitas, quarterback Y.A. Tittle was the embodiment of what made football great during that time period. He was a truly great competitor, exceedingly talented, setting several NFL passing records and starring on winning New York Giants teams in the early 60’s that, despite three straight attempts at the NFL title, never won.
Tittle died yesterday at the age of 90. By all accounts and stories, he was not only a great player, but a great and loving family man. He was also the man in quite possibly the greatest photo of a pro football player, taken at the end of his long career. Here’s a great piece at ESPN.com about the man, Y.A. Tittle: The Man Behind The Iconic Image