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re: Yelberton Abraham Tittle, Jr. (Former Niner)

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Eric Member Level  Friday, 09/06/02 01:22:43 AM
Re: Uncle_Frank post# 96
Post # of 156 
re: Yelberton Abraham Tittle, Jr. (Former Niner)



YA Tittle

To a boy of ten, the men on the football cards of the 1950s generally looked meaner and much older than normal men today in their twenties and thirties-- was it the haircuts, the harder times, perhaps the lack of vitamins? Lou Groza, the star tackle and Hall of Fame kicker for the Browns, looked sixty to me. Chuck Bednarik, who played both center and linebacker for the Eagles, flat-topped Leo Nomellini, toothless Bob St. Clair, angry Norm Van Brocklin, grizzled Bobby Layne, born with a Popeye face, and of course Johnny Unitas, perhaps the greatest-- slouch-shouldered gunslinger, calm predatory eyes-- the guy who always pulled it out in the end. These were among the warriors I grew up worshipping.

And then there was Y.A. Tittle. With his balding head, the great jug ears, the flat Asiatic bones in his face hooding eagle-blue eyes, Y.A. had that beaten-up outdoor look, like maybe an old uncle had. And that screwy name. But grace he always had, even when, at 35, he was traded by my beloved 49ers to be a washed-up second-string quarterback with the most famous media team of that time-- the New York Giants of Gifford and Katcavage, of Robustelli and Huff. And the fans booed! The cynical New York crowd actually booed Y.A. when he took over from popular Charlie Connerly and, proving himself all over again, led the surprised Giants to their glory years of 1962-64.

But, as in a nightmare, Y.A. was destined to lose in the Finals. And though he would kneel there in the mud with blood streaming down his face, an image as famous to football fans as Capa’s dying Spanish soldier is to veteran brigades, this wily old Odysseus would never ever win the Big One.

But it’s okay with me, Y.A.. You done good. Better to have tried and never tasted the sweet fruit than to have tasted it and not known its true meaning. And by the way, thank you Y.A. for showing a young boy that winners come in all shapes and sizes.
- Oliver Stone in Esquire Magazine, November 1998 -

- ice -



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