September 21, 2012

MVP Profile: Y.A. Tittle, 1961


Quarterback, New York Giants



Age:  35 (Oct. 24)
14th season in pro football, 12th in NFL and 1st with Giants
College: LSU
Height: 6’0”    Weight: 195

Prelude:
While drafted by the NFL’s Detroit Lions in 1948, Tittle instead signed with the Baltimore Colts of the AAFC. He had an immediate impact, leading the league in yards per attempt (8.7) and throwing for 16 TDs against 9 interceptions. After another year in the AAFC, Tittle and the Colts joined the NFL in 1950, and he led the league in pass completions (161) although the team went a dismal 1-11 and folded. Picked up by the 49ers in ’51, he gradually took over from Frankie Albert as the starting quarterback and was selected to the Pro Bowl following the 1953, ’54, and ‘57 seasons. In 1957 the 49ers tied for first in the Western Conference and Tittle also received MVP consideration. He suffered through an injury-plagued season in 1958 and, and while he bounced back with a Pro Bowl year in ’59, by ’60 found himself in competition with the up-and-coming John Brodie. With Head Coach Red Hickey committing to a shotgun offense for 1961, Tittle was dealt to the New York Giants in the preseason.

1961 Season Summary
Appeared in 13 of 14 games, started 10 of them
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Passing
Attempts – 285 [6]
Most attempts, game – 41 at Washington 10/1
Completions – 163 [6]
Most completions, game – 24 at Washington 10/1
Yards – 2272 [7]
Most yards, game – 315 at Washington 10/1
Completion percentage – 57.2 [3]
Yards per attempt – 8.0 [6]
TD passes – 17 [5]
Most TD passes, game – 3 vs. Washington 11/5, vs. Philadelphia 11/12, vs. Pittsburgh 11/19
Interceptions – 12 [12, tied with John Brodie]
Most interceptions, game – 4 at Dallas 10/15
Passer rating – 85.3 [4]
300-yard passing games – 3
200-yard passing games – 5

Rushing
Attempts – 25
Most attempts, game – 4 (for 1 yd.) at Washington 10/1, (for 7 yds.) vs. Pittsburgh 11/19, (for 4 yds.) at Cleveland 11/26
Yards – 85
Most yards, game – 34 (on 3 att.) vs. Washington 11/5
Yards per attempt – 3.4
TDs – 3

Points
TDs - 3
Points – 18

Postseason: 1 G (NFL Championship at Green Bay)
Pass attempts – 20
Pass completions – 6
Passing yards – 65
TD passes – 0
Interceptions – 4

Rushing attempts – 1
Rushing yards – -4
Rushing TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: NEA
1st team All-NFL: UPI, Sporting News
2nd team All-NFL: NY Daily News
Pro Bowl

Giants went 10-3-1 to finish first in the Eastern Conference while ranking second in the NFL in points scored (368) and touchdowns (46, tied with the Eagles). Lost NFL Championship game to Green Bay Packers (37-0).

Aftermath:
Tittle continued his career revival in New York, receiving MVP, All-Pro, and Pro Bowl recognition after each of the next two seasons and tossing over 30 TDs (33 and 36) in back-to-back years in 1962 and ’63. The Giants won the Eastern Conference in all three, but came up short in the title games after each. The team collapsed in 1964, Tittle’s last season. He retired as NFL career leader in pass attempts (3817), completions (2118), and yards (28,339). The Giants retired his #14, and Tittle was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1971.

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MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself). 

[Updated 2/6/14]