Francis Newton "Frank" Gifford
August 16, 1930 – August 9, 2015
Sunday, August 09, 2015
People remember Don being a country bumpkin, which he wasn't, and Howard being a pain in the butt, which he was. I was the law and order
- Frank Gifford
Frank Gifford died from natural causes at his home in New Haven, Connecticut, at the age of 84.
Gifford was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Lola Mae (née Hawkins) and Weldon Gifford, an oil driller.
After graduating from Bakersfield High School, Gifford was unable to gain an athletic scholarship to the University of Southern California (USC) due to his low grade point average. Undeterred, he played a season for Bakersfield Junior College, making the Junior College All-American team while making the grades needed to enroll at USC.
At USC, Gifford was named an All-American athlete and player and graduated in the class of 1952. In 1951 he ran for 841 yards on 195 carries.
He began his NFL career with the New York Giants by playing both offense and defense. He made eight Pro Bowlappearances and had five trips to the NFL Championship Game. Gifford's biggest season may have been 1956, when he won the Most Valuable Player award of the NFL, and led the Giants to the NFL title over the Chicago Bears.
He lost 18 months in the prime of his career when he was laid out by a hard tackle. During a 1960 game against thePhiladelphia Eagles, he was knocked out by Chuck Bednarik on a passing play, suffering a severe head injury that led him to retire from football in 1961. However, Gifford returned to the Giants in 1962, changing positions from running back to wide receiver (then known as flanker).
During his 12 seasons with the New York Giants (136 regular season games) Frank Gifford had 3,609 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns in 840 carries, he also had 367 receptions for 5,434 yards and 43 touchdowns. Gifford completed 29 of the 63 passes he threw for 823 yards and 14 touchdowns with 6 interceptions. The 6 interceptions is tied with Walter Payton for most interceptions thrown by a non-quarterback in NFL history, while the 14 touchdowns is also the most among any non-quarterback in NFL history
Gifford was officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 30, 1977.
In 1995, Gifford and his wife Kathie Lee appeared on an episode of ABC's sitcom Coach starring Craig T. Nelson. The episode, entitled "The Day I Met Frank Gifford", aired February 28, 1995, and featured Gifford accepting an award in New York, during which the uncouth defensive coordinator of the Minnesota State Screaming Eagles Luther Horatio Van Dam (Jerry Van Dyke) plots to find a way to meet the former football star. Throughout the show, Luther recounts a college game he played against Gifford in which the star USC runningback knocked out one of Luther's teeth as he attempted to tackle the All-American star. Luther subsequently sent the tooth to Gifford many years later, with Gifford remembering the "Tooth Guy" as a "real sicko."
Gifford and his wife, television host Kathie Lee Gifford, were married on October 18, 1986, and lived in Greenwich, Connecticut, with their son and daughter, Cody Newton Gifford (b. March 22, 1990) and Cassidy Erin Gifford (b. August 2, 1993). The couple share a birthday, August 16.
Good Night Mr. Gifford