In the glory days of the New York Giants in the 1950s and early 1960s, Frank Gifford was inescapable from the public eye. He was known to many as one of the main faces of that talented New York Giants squad.
Gifford was a highly-talented athlete coming out of Southern California in 1952 and the Giants picked him up with the 11th pick in that year’s draft. Gifford’s talents were not just limited to one position. Aside from running back, Gifford played wide receiver and defensive back, becoming one of the few remaining players in the NFL at that time to play both offense and defense.
Gifford’s talents helped spark an already-talented Giants squad by appearing in six NFL Championship games over the course of his career. In 1956, he was named NFL MVP in the Giants’ championship season with 819 rushing yards and 603 receiving yards. In 1960, however, Gifford’s career was nearly cut short after suffering a head injury after a hard hit by Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Chuck Bednarik.
Despite announcing his retirement shortly after, Gifford returned to the field in 1962 as a wide receiver. With eight total touchdowns and 796 receiving yards that season, Gifford was named Comeback Player of the Year for his resilience. Gifford was selected to the Pro Bowl every year from 1953-59 and again in 1963.
When all was said and done when he retired after the 1964 season, Gifford had 3,609 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns on 840 carries and 367 receptions for 5,434 yards and 43 touchdowns.
Gifford also had success throwing the ball, completing 29 of the 63 passes he threw for 823 yards and 14 touchdowns with six interceptions. His six picks are tied with Walter Payton for most all-time by a non-quarterback and his 14 touchdowns are the most by a non-quarterback.
Even after his football career, Gifford continued to live a celebrity-status lifestyle. From 1971 to 1997, Gifford was a staple as a commentator on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” where he shared the booth with broadcasting greats such as Howard Cosell, Don Meredith, and Al Michaels. For all his football career accomplishments, Gifford was awarded a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.