Frank Gifford, the last surviving member of the greatest broadcast team in the history of American television (and the world in general), died Sunday. He was 84 years old.
Frank was preceded in death by former ABC Monday Night Football booth-mates Howard Cosell (1995) and “Dandy” Don Meredith (2010). (I wrote about Meredith’s passing here. It remains the single most-read article in SBB history.) Frank Gifford was a Hall of Fame halfback with the New York Giants. His career spanned 13 years, 1952 – 1964. He was the NFL MVP in 1956.
The thing my generation of football fans (the Greatest Football Generation) remembers Frank for is ABC’s Monday Night Football, which he was an intricate part of from 1971 – 1985. From 1971 – 1982, Gifford was the play-by-play man, with the ever-colorful and controversial Howard Cosell and the always entertaining and brilliantly understated Don Meredith doing color. They were, without doubt, the greatest broadcast team of any sport at any time in American history. They almost single-handedly brought American football from the shadows of baseball into the bright lights of the grandest stage. Monday Night Football transformed the way fans watched the game and brought flocks of new fans to the game. And that theme song!!!
The Gifford-Cosell-Meredith team was unparalleled in their ability to capture the imagination of the viewer and the excitement of the game. They are all gone now, but not forgotten, nor should they ever be for as long as America has its love affair with the NFL.
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