Y.A. Tittle 1954
"Give me that helmet, I'll make sure it gets on" With the tenacity of the toughest HOF quarterback in history, he tried! Mr. Tittle your ears are ripping off, "they always did when I put these darn things on." Y.A. hasn't lost a step or his great sense of humor. We sat and listened to stories and old college fight songs for two full hours... what a treat and not a bad voice either.
Growing up in Texas Y.A.'s football hero was obviously Sammy Baugh. "I remember playing catch in the yard all by my self while listening to Sammy's play on the radio. I thought he could NEVER loose a game. In 1952, Baugh's last season as a player, we went to Washington and beat them 23-17. I never felt so bad winning a game." We did our research and at this point we pulled out some photos and one of our autographed Sammy Baugh '52 helmets and presented to Mr. Tittle. He just stared at the helmet a bit and said, "How is Sammy doing?"
Most don't realize that Y.A. Tittle was drafted out of LSU by the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Brown. With inside information that Otto Graham may not be playing in Cleveland, Y.A. signed a 10 year contract with the Browns. Otto stayed and Y.A.'s contract was subsequently sold to the Baltimore Colts before he ever played a down.
When Mr. Tittle sat down in front of his career helmets he said "There's
my colts helmet." We were very confident of the other team styles but with
no documented proof we weren't sure of the exact configuration of the 1950
Baltimore Colts. He may be most famous wearing the Giants blue, but his
favorite was the 1954 San Fran helmet. Well to look at that is, he hated
wearing it and that bracket. "I was tackled by that silly brace nearly every
play. We didn't have 15 officials on the field like they do now, you just got up
and shook it off."
Prior to the mid 1950s most players would only wear a face mask after suffering a facial area injury. By the end of the decade face masks were worn primarily to prevent facial injuries and used by almost every player. In the early 1950s Riddell introduced this clear Lucite face mask bar. The mask was securely attached to the helmet by three bolts on each side of the helmet, one of which also served as the snap to buckle the leather chin strap. Unfortunately the mask would occasionally shatter upon direct impact causing Riddell to replace it with the tubular plastic mask which was almost indestructible.