Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Frank Newton Gifford (born August 16, 1930 in Santa Monica, California) was an American football player and one of the better-known American sports commentators in the latter part of the 20th century who made the transition from an athlete to broadcasting.
After earning All-American honors at the University of Southern California, Gifford began his NFL career with the New York Giants by playing both offense and defense, a rarity when platoon football became popular after World War II. His career led him to eight Pro Bowl appearances and five trips to the NFL Championship Game, the forerunner of the Super Bowl. Gifford's biggest season may have been 1956, as he won the Most Valuable Player award of the NFL, 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 the victim of one of the most brutal, though completely legal, hits in NFL history. During a 1960 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he was cleanly blindsided by Chuck Bednarik on a pass play, suffering a severe head injury that led him to retire from football. However, Gifford returned to the Giants in 1962, changing positions from running back to wide receiver (then known as flanker). Despite having to regain his skills after his long layoff and learn a new position, he became a star once again. His eight Pro Bowl selections came at three different positions—defensive back, running back, and wide receiver. He retired again, this time for good, in 1964, after making the Pro Bowl as a receiver, and would be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
After his playing days ended, Gifford became a commentator mainly for NFL games on CBS. His big break came in 1971 when he replaced Keith Jackson as play-by-play announcer on ABC's Monday Night Football, joining Howard Cosell and Don Meredith, and would continue on as a commentator until 1998, amid controversy regarding an affair he had with airline stewardess Suzen Johnson . Gifford also served as a reporter and commentator on other ABC programs, such as their coverage of the Olympic Games and skiing, and has guest hosted Good Morning America on occasion.
Currently, Frank is best known as the longtime spouse of former television talk show host and singer Kathie Lee Gifford.
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