John Mara: Frank Gifford was the ultimate Giant


Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford died at the age of 84 on Sunday and the owners of the team he played for during the 1950s and 1960s took time to remember his legacy.

The Mara family founded the Giants, which meant current co-owner John Mara grew up around the team and Gifford. He referenced that lifelong relationship as well as Gifford’s importance to the franchise in a statement.

“Frank Gifford was the ultimate Giant,” Mara said. “He was the face of our franchise for so many years. More importantly, he was a treasured member of our family. My father loved him like a son and was proud to act as his presenter for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a favor Frank returned years later by presenting my father in Canton. For my siblings and me, Frank was like a revered older brother whom we looked up to and admired. We loved him and will miss him terribly.”

The Tisch family didn’t buy into the Giants until after Gifford had moved into the broadcast booth, but Steve Tisch recalled his father’s friendship while calling Gifford a “member of my family” on Sunday.

“Not only was Frank a member of the Giants family from the time he left USC, and will be forever, but because Frank, my father (Bob) and Pete Rozelle were so close in the ’60s, I felt like he was a member of my family. I always loved seeing Frank on our sideline before our games. He had the handshake of a 25-year old, and he looked you right in the eye with his big blue eyes. He was such a strong person in every way. He will be missed and will always be remembered as a Giants’ Giant.”

Gifford spent his entire playing career with the Giants and ranks first in franchise history with 78 touchdowns. He also ranks second in receiving yards and seventh in rushing yards during 12 seasons that also saw him play defense, return kicks and occasionally throw passes.