Gifford Dead at 84
As the NFL kicks off its 96th season at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, the flags on the Pro Football Hall of Fame campus are flying at half-staff in remembrance of . The Hall of Fame great and New York Giants legend passed away on Sunday at the age of 84.
“’s passion, charisma and deep love for the Game helped grow pro football into this country’s most popular sport,” Hall of Fame President David Baker commented. “He took the values he learned on the playing field during his Hall of Fame career and applied them to his long and distinguished broadcasting career. And, in doing so, he taught fans of all generations to love the Game.”
Gifford joined the Giants out of the University of Southern California as the club’s first round pick, 11th overall, in 1952. It took only a few days for Giants coach Steve Owen
to realize the versatility that Gifford brought to the team. Gifford was equally adept at running, passing, and catching the ball. In addition, he played defensive back and return punts and kickoffs.
The Giants enjoyed great success during the Gifford years. While the team was loaded with many great pro football names, no one played a more dynamic role, year in and year out, than Gifford.
He was named the NFL’s MVP in 1956 as he led the Giants to a league championship. He followed his MVP season by finishing in the top ten in both receiving and rushing. The former halfback was named first- or second-team All-NFL six times in his career. He was also selected to a total of eight Pro Bowls at three different positions – defensive back, halfback and flanker.
Overall, Gifford spent 12 seasons with the Giants and amassed 3,609 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns on 840 carries. He also hauled in 367 receptions for 5,434 yards and 43 touchdowns. Gifford was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame 1977.
After retiring as a player, he embarked on a career in broadcasting in which he became one of the most celebrated television personalities in pro football history. Gifford’s long lasting role on Monday Night Football spanned from 1971 to 1997. Gifford was awarded the prestigious Pete Rozelle Radio-TV Award by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
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