Ernie Pitts was a standout wide receiver who also played defensive back for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1957 to 1969. For all those years except the last two, Ken Ploen was at quarterback. Together, along with Jim Van Pelt [1958-59], Pitts and Ploen were major factors in Winnipeg's six Grey Cup appearances (1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1965), including four victories: 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962 and two losses: 1957, 1965. His highest totals in caught passes was 68 in 1959 and 62 in 1962. In 1959, he scored 16 touchdowns. He once caught 5 touchdown passes in one game and scored on a 107-yard touchdown pass play. Evidence of his prowess on defense included 7 interceptions in 1968 and 5 more in 1969.
Pitts, on September 24, 1970, was fatally shot (by a .38 caliber revolver) in the neck by his estranged wife during a domestic dispute on the porch of their home in Thornton, Colorado. They had six children. She was charged, tried for murder, and, in June 1971, acquitted, mainly for reasons of self-defense of a forcible entry by Ernie Pitts.
One of Pitts brothers, George E. Pitts (1925–1987), was an influential and longstanding newspaper entertainment columnist, notably with the Pittsburgh Courier. One of his nephews, George Pitts (1951–2017) was a photojournalist.