Arizona Cardinals: RIP Frank Gifford, called 1st game in AZ


Former Monday Night Football play-by-play and commentator Frank Gifford has died at the age of 84

So many years growing up my fondest memories of sports came from Monday Night Football every fall.  From the time spent as a little kid being a Chicago Bears and San Diego Chargers fan to when the St. Louis Cardinals moved to Arizona in 1988 to become the Phoenix and now Arizona Cardinals, one voice was consistent, Frank Gifford.

There have been many voices on Monday Night Football over the past 20 years in order to make it more modern and make it more exciting but there was no better than hearing Gifford’s voice.  That voice was silenced on Sunday morning in Connecticut.

Gifford took over for Keith Jackson on Monday night’s in 1971 and continued until 1997.  He originally was the play-by-play man until Al Michaels eventually took over that role, keeping Gifford as a commentator.  There are so many great memories of Gifford on Monday night, it is hard to pick the best game.  Certainly one of the most memorable for me though was when he called the first game ever in Arizona on ABC Sports.  The Cardinals hosted the Dallas Cowboys.

I was at the game with my dad, so I didn’t get to see the game, but I recorded it on VHS to watch later on.  I couldn’t miss Gifford’s introduction to NFL football in Arizona.  I had goosebumps listening to his intro back then and I still do whenever I access the video today.  As a native Phoenician, I was beside myself that professional football had arrived in the Valley.

Gifford was also a New York Giants great.  He made eight Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.  He was the NFL MVP in 1956.

His sudden loss on Sunday brings back all those memories in a rush.  He may have been off the air for the last 18 years but he was never forgotten.  He leaves behind his wife Kathie Lee, two children Cody and Cassidy from his marriage to her and three children Jeff, Kyle, and Victoria from his first marriage.  He also leaves behind a storied NFL career on and off the field.  Rest in peace Mr. Gifford.