NEW YORK (AP) — Frank Gifford, the Pro Football Hall of Famer who led the New York Giants to the 1956 NFL title and later teamed with Howard Cosell and Don Meredith in the “Monday Night Football” booth, died Sunday. He was 84.
In a statement released by NBC News, his family said Gifford died suddenly at his Connecticut home of natural causes Sunday morning. His wife, Kathie Lee Gifford, is a host for NBC’s “Today.”
“Frank Gifford was an icon of the game, both as a Hall of Fame player for the Giants and Hall of Fame broadcaster for CBS and ABC,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “Frank’s talent and charisma on the field and on the air were important elements in the growth and popularity of the modern NFL.”
Gifford was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1956 when he led the Giants to the championship. He played running back, defensive back, wide receiver and special teams in his career, a versatile star in a time of greater specialization, and went to the Pro Bowl at three positions.
“We rejoice in the extraordinary life he was privileged to live, and we feel grateful and blessed to have been loved by such an amazing human being,” his family said in the statement. “We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time and we thank you for your prayers.”
Gifford was the centerpiece of a Giants offense that went to five NFL title games in the 1950s and ’60s. Beginning in 1971, he worked for ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” at first as a play-by-play announcer and then as an analyst.