FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Greenwich resident Frank Gifford was remembered as a legend on the football field and in the broadcast booth after his death on Sunday at the age of 84.
Gifford played for the New York Giants in the 1950s and ‘60s. His primary position was wide receiver, but he was an all-around threat. He is one of six NFL players to score 30 or more touchdowns running and receiving. He also threw for 14 touchdowns, the most of any non-quarterback in NFL history.
After his playing career, Gifford became well-known for his work on ABC’s "Monday Night Football." He worked on the telecast from 1971 to 1998, where his partners included Howard Cosell, Don Meredith, O.J. Simpson, Joe Namath, Dan Dierdorf, Al Michaels and more.
Michaels remembered Gifford during the telecast of an NFL preseason game on Sunday night.
“You had to live in New York in the ’50s and ’60s to truly understand what a gigantic figure Frank Gifford was,’’ Michaels said. “He was right there with Mickey Mantle. And then it was on to broadcasting where Frank worked for CBS and then ABC which led to a 27-year run in the 'Monday Night Football' booth. I had the great pleasure and honor of spending the last 12 of those with him.
"He was a wonderful partner, a great teammate. I’ll forever remember Frank as a man that no matter what was going on around him, he was always the coolest guy in the room.”
The Giants drafted Gifford out of University of Southern California in 1952, where he was scouted by longtime Giants owner Wellington Mara. Gifford and Mara remained friends throughout their lives. Mara died in 2005.
“Frank Gifford was the ultimate Giant. He was the face of our franchise for so many years,” Giants co-owner and team President John Mara, Wellington’s son, said in a statement Sunday. “More importantly, he was a treasured member of our family. My father loved him like a son. … For my siblings and me, Frank was like a revered older brother whom we looked up to and admired. We loved him and will miss him terribly.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, a Bronxville resident, said: "Frank Gifford was an icon of the game, both as a Hall of Fame player for the Giants and Hall of Fame broadcaster for CBS and ABC. Frank's talent and charisma on the field and on the air were important elements in the growth and popularity of the modern NFL."
Gifford married Kathie Lee Epstein in 1986. In addition to his wife, an anchor on the "Today" show, he is survived by their children, Cody and Cassidy. He is also survived by three children from a previous marriage, Jeff, Kyle and Victoria. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
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