With the Hall of Fame Game sixteen days away, GMEN HQ will take this opportunity to honor the retired #16 of Frank Gifford.
Drafted by the Giants 11th overall out of USC in 1951, Gifford played twelve compelling campaigns in New York. His tenure included two offense and defense “platoon” seasons (1952 & 1953) wherein he lined up at both running back and defensive back. He was forced to retire in 1960 following a crushing blow from Chuck Bednarik that resulted in a frightening diagnosis of “deep brain concussion”.
However, Gifford would amazingly return to the gridiron in 1962 reinvented as a flanker receiver. Between ’62-’64 he caught 110 passes and hauled in 17 touchdowns. Talk about football in the blood… Gifford spoke on the subject in a New York Times piece from 2010:
“There was no contact. I was just running plays as a flanker, what is now a wide receiver. When I ran those plays, I often was beating the starting defensive backs. I started to think that I could do this again. I had been out for a year but I thought, what a terrible way to have gone out. And I thought if I don’t do it now, in 1962, I’ll never be able to.”
Gifford achieved First-Team All Pro honors 4 times and was selected as a Pro Bowler 8 times. Defining distinctions to say the least… After finishing as a Hall of Fame finalist in 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1976, he finally garnered enough votes for election in 1977. The NFL will never witness a unique and versatile performer like Gifford ever again. That ship has sailed.