Frank Gifford, Legendary NFL Player, Monday Night Football Broadcaster, Has Died
August 9 / Rick Chandler / SportsGrid
Frank Gifford has passed away at the age of 84, his family has just announced, and with him passes an era in pro football. Gifford was one of the last of the two-way players in the NFL -- defensive back, running back and wide receiver -- and led the 1956 New York Giants to the NFL Championship, winning NFL Most Valuable Player.
But to the following generation he is better known as one of the original broadcasters of ABC's Monday Night Football, although technically not coming on board until the second season, in 1971, to replace Keith Jackson as play-by-play man. He joined Howard Cosell and Don Meredith.
Gifford was also one of the first football JC transfers. A high-profile running back at Bakersfield High School, he was denied a scholarship to USC because of bad grades. So he played a season at Bakersfield Junior College before enrolling at USC for a College Football Hall of Fame career. With the Giants, he made the Pro Bowl for seven straight seasons, from 1953-59, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
He suffered a major concussion in 1960, quit football, and then came back as a wide receiver, winning UPI Comeback Player of the Year in 1962 and making the Pro Bowl again in '63.
Other fun facts: Married to Kathy Lee Gifford (1986). Had a much-publicized affair with a flight attendant in 1997, which led to his ouster from Monday Night Football. Alleged to have had an affair with Johnny Carson's wife, Joanne.
Some crazy Frank Gifford stats from USC: leading rusher/scorer in '51, led team in INTs/scoring in '50, made USC’s first FG in 14 yrs in '49