Pro Football Hall of Famer and Monday Night Football announcer Frank Gifford has died at 84 of natural causes. Gifford an All-American at USC and All-Star with New York Giants is probably remembered most to those under 60 as being a part of the greatest broadcasting booth in football history- doing Monday Night Football with Howard Cosell and Dandy Don Meredith- sometimes being the referee between Howard and Frank. Frank did the play-by-play. Of course others will know Frank as being Kathie Lee Gifford’s husband.
I have never seen anyone hit harder on a football field than Frank Gifford was by Chuck Bednarik aka Concrete Charlie in a game in 1960. Bednarik hit Gifford so hard that Gifford would be out of football for 18 months. Some on the Giants thought he was actually dead. The story goes they carried Gifford off the field and after the game they were headed towards the locker room when they see a body covered up lying on a table in a room. They thought it was Gifford.
In the announcing booth Gifford was one of the better former athletes turned broadcasters. I remember a couple moments best concerning Gifford. Late in the 1974 season, Howard, Dandy Don and Frank were discussing their choices to win the upcoming Super Bowl. Frank picked the Pittsburgh Steelers. Howard was all over him about how there was no chance of the Steelers winning the Super Bowl. The Steelers went on to win their first Super Bowl that season.
Another story I didn’t hear until years later. It was late in a Monday Night Football game on December 8th, 1980. During a commercial word came to the booth that John Lennon had been assassinated. Howard wondered, do we break the news here during the game? Frank was very direct, “Yes, this is a huge story Howard you have to break the news.” That is how millions found out that Beatle John Lennon had been shot to death in New York City.