Sunday, August 09, 2015

Obituary: Frank Gifford

One-time professional football star and longtime sportscaster Frank Gifford, 84, has died. He died of natural causes. He would have been 85 on August 16.

He is best remembered as one of the original or near-original three commentators (he replaced Keith Jackson) of the longrunning Monday Night Football program on ABC. The others were Howard Cosell and Don Meredith who likewise are deceased.

Gifford was also known for being the husband of one of the most hated women in America, Kathie Lee Gifford. They were married for a lot of years (from 1986) despite the giant age difference between the two. I think there was something like 22 or 23 years difference in their ages.

He had a scandal of sorts around twenty years ago with another woman, Suzen Johnson. Supposedly he also had an affair with the late Joanne Carson. According to this he almost married Ethel Kennedy. He was good-looking, even when he got old, so I would imagine a lot of women threw themselves at him. He just didn't have the willpower to throw them back despite his football background.

A handsome straight-shooter who came off as earnest and sincere, Gifford was popular with viewers, even if some accused him of being a shill for the NFL.

He experienced the highs and lows as an NFL player. Gifford fumbled twice early in the 1958 NFL championship game, both of which led to Baltimore Colts touchdowns, and later came up short on a critical third down. The Colts eventually won 23-17 in the league’s first overtime game. The thrilling finish helped popularize the NFL and was dubbed “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” although not by Gifford.

“Not my greatest game,” Gifford told the AP in 2008. “I fumbled going out (of the end zone) and I fumbled going in.”

The fumbling wasn't limited to the field, either. See above.

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