New York Giants: 15 G-Men who changed the game forever

Odell Beckham, New York Giants. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Odell Beckham, New York Giants. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
12 of 17
New York Giants
Frank Gifford, New York Giants. (Photo by University of Southern California/Getty Images) /

6 – Frank Gifford

Fans are used to wall-to-wall football all through the fall and early winter. The NFL shows at least six games a week on national television every week. Back in the late ’50s and early ’60s, the NFL was not the television phenomenon it is today. One of the men they have to thank for its televised revolution is Frank Gifford.

He is a true zero to hero to celebrity story. Gifford grew up dirt poor in Southern California during the depression. A good football player in high school, he didn’t have the grades necessary to attend a big school. That forced him to go the JUCO route. He eventually landed at USC where he became an All-American. To pick up extra money, Gifford had small acting parts in movies.

The “Golden Boy” from L.A. was selected with the New York Giants first-round pick in 1952. Hollywood was coming to New York City. That caused some initial resentment from his teammates. Gifford’s talent and hard work, however, won them over. He also won over the city and was as recognizable at city hot spots as Mickey Mantle.

He was a star player on the NFL’s marquis team. As television picked up on the football craze, Gifford became the face of the game. He was the go-to interview and made frequent guest appearances on television. Without him as a focal point, the game may never have become the TV presence it is now.

Gifford parlayed his fame into 20 years in the Monday Night Football announcing booth alongside legends Keith Jackson, “Dandy” Don Meredith, Al Michaels, and Howard Cosell.