Giants Last Hurrah 1964; Setting the Stage

Check out YA. Tittle statistics on the internet.  Even though he retired nearly 50 years ago, he is still among the  NFL’s great quarterbacks.  Tittle had ten years with the San Francisco 49ers, on the edge of greatness.  That would come in three years, 1961 to 1963.   In 1961, he gradually eased pass Charlie Connerly as Quarterback for the New York Giants and really turned on the volts in 1962 and 1963.

1962-200 pass completions, 3,224 yards, 33 touchdown passes;

1963-221 pass completions, 3,145 yards, 36 touchdown passes.

Two things were unfortunate about Y.A’s career:

1} With him, the Giants lost three consecutive NFL Title Games;  1961 at Green Bay 37 to 0;  1962 Green Bay at Yankee Stadium 16 to 7; and the third at Wrigley Field Chicago to the Bears 14 to 10.

The Giants got only one offensive touchdown in those three games. In 1962 it was in special teams. Giants’ Defensive back Erich Barnes blocked a punt and Jim Collier recovered it in the Packers’ End Zone.  The following year Tittle threw a 15 yard touchdown pass to Frank Gifford.  A Bears lineman rolled into Y.A.’s implanted leg on that play. Tittle was virtually ineffective the rest of the game.  This injury may still have been bothering him the following year.

2} Y. A Tittle did not retire after the 1963 season.

1964

If the knee did not hurt Tittle, the first two  games of the 1964 season surely did.  On the opening day at Franklin Field, the Philadelphia  Eagles destroyed the New York Giants 38 to 7.  Don Burroughs repeatedly hurried and sometime sacked Tittle on the safety blitz.

In the second game at Pitt Stadium, the Giants jumped off to a early 14 to 0 lead.  The Steeler punter planted a kick out of bounds at the Giants six.  Tittle dropped back to pass and suddenly his pass protection disintegrated.  Defense End John Baker hurdled a Giant lineman  and literally flew into Tittle. The pass squirted in the air.  Defensive End Chuck Hinton caught the ball  as it came down and scored a touchdown.  Y. A. Tittle, on his knees in the end zone,  was bleeding and only half conscious.   The Giants staffed helped him off the field.    Gary Wood replaced Tittle but the Steelers came back and won 27 to 24.

Y. A. Tittle played most of the season but was horrible, as was the entire team.  The New York Giants  did one of the most vertical drops in NFL history.  After being in the title game the three previous years, they fell to last place at 2-10-2.  The Giants  were last in defense, nearly last in offense, and last in the NFL.  Y.A. Tittle threw only 10 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions.

Nevertheless in one game in 1964, the Giants returned to form, just like Samson between the pillars.  They were a spoilers  by a wide margin. See next article.




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