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Frank Gifford, Sports Broadcaster And Ex-NFL Star, Dies At 84

Aug 10, 2015
Originally published on August 10, 2015 2:10 pm
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NFL Hall of Famer and sports announcer Frank Gifford died yesterday in Connecticut at the age of 84. NPR's Sam Sanders has this remembrance.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: A lot of you listening may know of Frank Gifford for things like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "LIVE WITH REGIS AND KATHIE LEE")

KATHIE LEE GIFFORD: Frank has the funniest message.

REGIS PHILBIN: Frank scares you. You call up their house and they're not there or whatever it is. You know, you get Frank on the phone. What is it? What do you want? Go back more.

(LAUGHTER)

K. GIFFORD: He doesn't even say that much. He goes leave a message.

PHILBIN: You leave a message.

K. GIFFORD: Not even at the beep.

SANDERS: That was a 1990 episode of the "Regis And Kathie Lee" show. Frank Gifford was married to Kathie Lee Gifford, and he was often a topic of discussion on the program. But before his role as daytime talk show fodder, Frank was already wildly accomplished.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL")

FRANK GIFFORD: ABC Sports presents...

SANDERS: Gifford spent years as a renowned sportscaster.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL")

F. GIFFORD: NFL "Monday Night Football."

SANDERS: Gifford co-hosted "Monday Night Football" from 1971 to 1985. Along with co-hosts Don Meredith and Howard Cosell, Gifford helped make the NFL as popular as it is today. He covered sports for ABC and CBS and covered the Olympics. But he was more than just a sportscaster. Frank Gifford was an NFL star who took part in what many call the greatest game ever played.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN FACENDA: No game in NFL history is more revered than this overtime epic that began on an unusually mild, late December day in New York City.

SANDERS: That's John Facenda of NFL Films describing the 1958 NFL Championship Game between the New York Giants - Gifford's team - and the Baltimore Colts. Gifford played with the Giants in the '50s and '60s. He made it to the Pro Bowl several times, and he was league MVP. But he's most-known for fumbling the ball - twice - and losing that 1958 championship. He talked about that loss with NPR's Scott Simon in 2008.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: Are there still times when you're dreaming you don't fumble the ball?

F. GIFFORD: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

F. GIFFORD: And it usually - I usually wake up and go down and look at my scrapbook...

(LAUGHTER)

F. GIFFORD: ...And look up the part that says Frank Gifford didn't fumble.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Of course, when your career is as long and multifaceted as Frank Gifford's, a few fumbles might not really matter that much at all. Sam Sanders, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.