Frank Gifford was a great Giant and loved by just about everyone who followed sports and lifestyle. When you think about which athletes had the most prosperous careers after retirement, Gifford might be the first person that comes to mind (sorry, Arnold Palmer).
Gifford retired from pro football in 1964, when I was a wee lad. I never saw him play, so don't let anyone under 55 try to tell you how great he was. They never saw him play, either. Check the age of these reporters and bloggers before you read their stuff.
What they did see, however was a great broadcaster and sports personality who transcended the game and became a national TV star. He was one of the first ex-athletes to succeed as a TV play-by-play man and was a staple on the first quarter century of Monday Night Football broadcasts.
No doubt, he is a seminal figure in the history of football, New York sports, athlete endorsements and sports broadcasting.
From GEICO SportsNite: CJ Papa discusses the passing of Giants great and Hall of Famer Frank Gifford at age 84 and reflects on his great NFL career.
Here is my only encounter with Mr. Gifford, a 2010 group interview on the red carpet of the Braodway smash LOMBARDI. He spoke about the play and his personal relationship with Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry, the Giants offensive and defensive coordinators during the early part of Gifford's career.
I apologize for the quality, recorded on a Flip camera. The camera is held low, because Frank was under six-feet tall and I'm 6'3", but the audio is good enough that you can hear Frank's responses pretty clearly.
Was I excited to meet and talk to him? Uh, yeah...