He began his NFL career with the New York Giants by playing both offense and defense, a rarity when platoon football became popular after World War II. He made eight Pro Bowl appearances and had five trips to the NFL Championship Game. Gifford’s biggest season may have been 1956, when he won the Most Valuable Player award of the NFL, and led the Giants to the NFL title over the Chicago Bears.
He lost 18 months in the prime of his career when he was laid out by a hard tackle. During a 1960 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he was knocked out by Chuck Bednarik on a passing play, suffering a severe head injury that led him to retire from football. However, Gifford returned to the Giants in 1962, changing positions from running back to wide receiver (then known as flanker). Despite his long layoff and having to learn a new position, he became a star once again.
His Pro Bowl selections came at three different positions—defensive back, running back, and wide receiver. He retired again, this time for good, in 1964, after making the Pro Bowl as a receiver.
During his 12 seasons with the New York Giants (136 regular season games) Frank Gifford had 3,609 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns in 840 carries, he also had 367 receptions for 5,434 yards and 43 touchdowns. Gifford completed 29 of the 63 passes he threw for 823 yards and 14 touchdowns with 6 interceptions. The 6 interceptions is tied with Walter Payton for most interceptions thrown by a non-quarterback in NFL history, while the 14 touchdowns is also the most among any non-quarterback in NFL history
Gifford once appeared as himself as a guest star on the television series, Hazel, in the episode, “Hazel and the Halfback”, which originally aired December 26, 1963. In the story, Gifford is interested in investing in a local bowling alley.
Gifford was officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 30, 1977.
Gifford is a Board Member for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is named after Ronnie Lott and is given annually to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year.