GIFFORD by Frank Gifford


The Whole Ten Yards
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 Like the man himself, this long-awaited memoir by football Hall-of-Famer and broadcaster Gifford is a measured, straightforward, good-natured piece of work. With the help of Newsweek's Waters, Gifford (12 years in the NFL, All-Pro at three positions) looks back on 40 years of football and celebrity with ``awe and gratitude.'' He opens characteristically, with a humbling experience: the New York Giants' loss in the 1958 title game to Baltimore, when he fumbled twice, both fumbles leading to Colts touchdowns. Despite his NFL achievements, short-lived acting career, and longtime marriage to TV-star Kathie Lee Gifford, the author's 23 years on Monday Night Football are of greatest interest here, and he devotes ample space to them. Gifford writes compassionately of Howard Cosell despite the elder sportscaster having ``bad-mouthed me'' and ``carved me up in his books,'' and he calls his good friend Don Meredith ``one of the most intelligent creatures on the planet'' in spite of Meredith's TV-cultivated image as a good ol' boy. Gifford names current partner Al Michaels as ``the best play-by-play man in the business,'' and Dan Dierdorf as ``the only former lineman I've ever met who knows the entire game'' of football. Looking back on his playing days, the author cites as highlights his 1956 MVP season, when the Giants won it all, and the championship teams of the early 1960's. He also provides an amusing recounting of the famous hit laid on him in 1960 by Philadelphia linebacker Chuck Bednarik, which resulted in ``a deep brain concussion.'' Profiles of Vince Lombardi, Paul Brown, and former teammates Sam Huff, Y.A. Tittle, Charlie Conerly, and Kyle Rote paint a vivid picture of the era, as do Gifford's reminiscences of late 1950's New York nightlife. Charming and appealing...nicely done, with barely a touch of vitriol. (Photographs)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-679-41543-2
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1993


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