SI Vault
William L. Worden
November 22, 1954
This Texas family man has been called the most valuable player in pro football. On his arm hangs the fate of San Francisco's 49ers
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November 22, 1954

Tittle Of The 49ers

This Texas family man has been called the most valuable player in pro football. On his arm hangs the fate of San Francisco's 49ers

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On the basis of past performances Tittle and the ' 49ers have a fair chance of rescuing the title that has proved so elusive in the past. One strong factor in their favor is Tittle's courage. Y.A. is a character nobody hurries, and nobody scares. Hurt badly a time or two, many players turn shy. But this Texas longhorn just doesn't shy at all. "Maybe," says Tittle, "I'll get hurt that way someday. People tell me I ought to be a little more careful."

Another facet of the Tittle character should help out too. He is a modest enough gentleman who has no exaggerated ideas of his own strategic infallibility. He can take advice, a fact that sits well with his teammates. When a lineman tells him, "This guard's pinching a lot, I can't take him out but I might take him in," Y.A. most likely will oblige by sending Perry plunging outside the guard on the next play. Warn Tittle, "This backer likes to come in hard," and the backer is going to find one of those easy-looking slow-fired passes lobbing just over his head.


All this is on the positive side, but there's a negative, too.

Part of this can be obtained by talking to Minette DeLoach Tittle, Y.A.'s black-haired, brown-eyed, size 12 and moderately busy wife who tends their three small children in a rented house in Palo Alto with almost no help from her husband. "Baby-sitters," she says in an accent which no printed words can properly indicate, "don't want to come when you have three youngsters under 5; and Y.A.'s just no good around the house. You ask him to cut the lawn or to feed the baby, and he just stands there. I guess you'd say he doesn't know much about managing kids."

Whereupon, Mike, aged 2, comes through blowing a tin horn. His father says, "Mike, don't do that," so Mike blows it again, and louder. Dianne, in red costume, comes through and turns up the TV sound. Her father says, "Dianne, don't do that. We're talking." So Dianne turns it up again, a little louder than before.

So perhaps the problem of National Professional Football League football teams facing the San Francisco ' 49ers from now on is reasonably simple. There's the stand-up man to be taken care of, but it can be done. Handled right, he can be reduced to a self-scratching, embarrassed pulp, not having any idea of what to do next.

Draft Red Riding Hood, boys. She'll take no nonsense from Yelberton Abraham Tittle Junior.

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