Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Frank Gifford, RIP. Turn Out The Lights.

Frank Gifford died the other day. I kept my mouth shut at first, he was a big part of my youth in some unusual ways. Gifford was a Hall of Fame NFL running back in the 1950s and early 1960s. He played for 12 seasons (a lot for a running back), won the NFL MVP award in 1956 and still holds many of the New York Giants' team rushing records.

His playing career, though, was before my time. He lives in my memory as a sports broadcaster, primarily as one of the three original hosts of Monday Night Football, along with former Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith and legendary sports broadcaster (and asshole) Howard Cosell. Everybody knew Dandy Don was getting hammered every Monday, but we find out through Glenn Beck (who is good friends with Gifford's widow, Kathie Lee Gifford) that Don wasn't alone:

GLENN: He said when that happened — he told me the story of when that happened and the times — he started telling stories about Monday Night Football. And the times that they would drink during the commercials. And he said, we were drunk almost every single Monday night.
PAT: You’re not kidding.
GLENN: No. No. He said they were hammered. The hosts.
PAT: Like Frank and Howard and Dan and Don were hammered?
GLENN: He said they were hammered.
STU: We have to try that on this show.
GLENN: Yeah. He said, every Monday night, we were hammered. He said, however, there was one night that we were more hammered than usual. And he said — I don’t remember which one of them threw up in a garbage can at their feet on the air. And the cameraman just — one of them was talking and kind of gave a sign like, I think I’m going to hurl. So they switched over to someone else. And he said, we could hear. I don’t know if Americans could hear it. He said, but we could hear him vomiting, he was so hammered.
STU: Oops.
Turns out Beck had interviewed Frank Gifford and got all kinds of fascinating information from that talk. Regardless of how you feel about Glenn Beck, it is worth it to read the entire transcript of their recent segment on Gifford. So RIP, Frank.

Even if we didn't know at the time that he wasn't alone, even as kids we all knew Don was pounded:

He sang that song at the end of the game every Monday night. We loved it.

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