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NFL – Special – Men Who Played The Game – NY Giants RB Frank Gifford


This NFL FIlms special “The Men Who Played The Game” hosted by their very own, Steve Sabol….son of Ed Sabol….as this father and son combination built an incredible library as the best producer of NFL game footage ….for these guys were and are the gold standard for filming the plays that take place on the field….from lense angles that seem to almost be magical in what they are able to capture..

This particular production features truly one of the most celebrated athletes of his time….who seemed to succeed at anything that he put his attention too….for Francis Newton Gifford (August 16, 1930 – August 9, 2015) was an American football player and television sports commentator for the better part of 40 years. After a 12-year playing career as a halfback and flanker for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL)….he was a play-by-play announcer and commentator for 27 years on ABC’s Monday Night Football.

Gifford was unable to gain an athletic scholarship to the University of Southern California (USC) because of his low grade point average in high school….so he played a season of football for Bakersfield Junior College…where he made the Junior College All-America team and earned the grades needed to enroll at USC….where he was named an All-American after rushing for 841 yards on 195 carries during his final season.….then he graduated from USC in 1952.

Gifford spent his entire NFL career with the New York Giants….beginning in 1952 while playing both offense and defense. He made eight Pro Bowl appearances and had five trips to the NFL Championship Game….where Gifford’s biggest season may have been 1956….when he won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award 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 injured by a hard tackle….when during a 1960 game against the Philadelphia Eagles….he was knocked out by LB 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 flanker….which is now a type of “wide receiver”….as his Pro Bowl selections came at three different positions….defensive back, running back, and flanker. He permanently retired following the 1964 season.

During his 12 seasons with the Giants (136 regular season games) Gifford had 3,609 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns in 840 carries….while acquireing 367 pass receptions for 5,434 yards and 43 touchdowns….as Frank  Gifford completed 29 of the 63 passes he threw for 823 yards and 14 touchdowns with 6 interceptions. The 14 touchdowns is the most among any non-quarterback in NFL history….and the 6 interceptions is tied with Walter Payton for most thrown by a non-quarterback. Gifford was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 30, 1977and is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

After his death, an autopsy on his brain revealed that he lived with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)….a disease closely related to repeated head trauma….and a significant issue for the NFL in 2017….for as of November 24, 2015….87 out of 91 former NFL players tested have been diagnosed with the disease.

Gifford won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award in 1956….which was the same season he won his only NFL Championship. During his career, he participated in five league championship games and was named to eight Pro Bowls.  After retiring as a player, Gifford was an Emmy Award winning sportscaster….known and celebrated for his work on ABC’s Monday Night Football, Wide World of Sports and the Olympics. He was married to television host Kathie Lee Gifford from 1986 until his death.

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