Legendary NFL player and broadcaster Frank Gifford died suddenly today of natural causes. He was a week shy of his 85th birthday.
Gifford was a college football standout at USC (following a stint at Bakersfield Junior College) where he was named an All-American. In 1952, Gifford made his debut with the New York Giants and would play his entire 12-year career there playing on both offense and defense. He would make the Pro Bowl on eight occasions at three different positions – running back, defensive back and wide receiver. Gifford was named the NFL’s MVP in 1956 which was the year the Giants beat the Chicago Bears for the NFL championship. His career was nearly ended when he sustained a severe head injury after being tackled by Chuck Bedarnik in a 1960 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. But Gifford came back after missing a year of action and played three more seasons before retiring in 1965. Gifford was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
But Gifford is probably best known for Monday Night Football. In 1971, Gifford joined Howard Cosell and Don Meredith in the booth replacing Keith Jackson. He would spend more than 25 years as part of the MNF crew until an extramarital affair eventually forced him to leave. The affair, however, would not end his marriage to Kathie Lee Gifford to whom he was married for nearly 30 years.