Vikings top Steelers 14-3 in Hall of Fame game
Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford dies
Backup quarterback Mike Kafka threw a touchdown pass and running back Joe Banyard ran for another score to help the Minnesota Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 14-3 on Sunday night in the Hall of Fame game.
Most of the regulars watched from the sidelines in the annual exhibition opener, including Adrian Peterson and Ben Roethlisberger.
Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 5 of 6 passes for 44 yards in his one series of work. The reigning Rookie of the Year’s night ended when the Steelers stopped the Vikings on fourth down midway through the first quarter.
There was a moment of silence before kickoff for Hall of Fame running back and longtime broadcaster Frank Gifford. The former New York Giants star died Sunday morning at age 84.
Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis waved a “Terrible Towel” during pregame introductions, with the decidedly pro-Pittsburgh crowd roaring its approval. The running back nicknamed “The Bus” stood with the rest of the Hall’s new class for the coin toss, the only moment of true star power on a night the bold-faced names still in uniform didn’t break a sweat if they even bothered to suit up at all.
Peterson’s return from a lengthy suspension will have to wait at least one more week, if not decid-
Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford has died. He was 84.
In a statement released by NBC News on Sunday, his family said Gifford died suddenly at his Connecticut home of natural causes that morning. His wife, Kathie Lee Gifford, is a host for NBC’s “Today.”
A versatile star on both offense and defense in an era when NFL players were starting to specialize, Gifford went on to a successful second career as a broadcaster on “Monday Night Football.”
Gifford was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1956 when he led the New York Giants to a league championship.
“We rejoice in the extraordinary life he was privileged to live, and we feel grateful and edly longer. The running back hasn’t played in an exhibition in nearly four years, a streak likely to continue. Peterson’s position on the depth chart is safe. The ones behind him not so much as the Vikings try to build on an erratic but at times promising 2014 behind Bridgewater and first-year coach Mike Zimmer.
Like Peterson, Roethlisberger stuck to shorts and a T-shirt. AllPro running back Le’Veon Bell and All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown put together a full dress rehearsal, even going through blessed to have been loved by such an amazing human being,” his family said in the statement. “We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time and we thank you for your prayers.”
Gifford was the centerpiece of a Giants offense that went to five NFL title games in the 1950s and ’60s. Beginning in 1971 he worked for ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” at first as a play-byplay announcer and then as an analyst.
Later in life he stayed in the spotlight through his marriage to Kathie Lee Gifford, who famously called him a “human love machine” and “lamb-chop” to her millions of viewers.
Gifford hosted “Wide World of Sports,” covered several Olympics — his call of Franz Klammer’s gold medal run in 1976 is considered a broadcasting mas- warm-ups. They spent the majority of the night hanging out, the only exercise the notoriously hardworking Brown enjoyed coming while he absentmindedly worked the exercise bike.
Bridgewater deftly guided the Vikings on a 10-play, 51-yard drive in the first quarter, hitting tight end Kyle Rudolph for a pair of 11-yard gains. Rather than attempt a short field goal on fourthand-1 from the 10, Zimmer opted to go for it only to see Jerick McKinnon stopped for no gain by nose tackle Steve McLendon, one of the terpiece — and announced 588 consecutive NFL games for ABC, not even taking time off after the death of his mother shortly before a broadcast in 1986.
While he worked with others, including Dan Dierdorf, Al Michaels, Joe Namath and O.J. Simpson, Gifford was most known for the eight years he served as a calm buffer between the folksy Don Meredith and acerbic Howard Cosell.
In its early years the show was a cultural touchstone, with cities throwing parades for the visiting announcers and celebrities such as John Lennon and Ronald Reagan making appearances.
“I hate to use the words ‘ American institution,’ but there’s no other way to put it, really,” Gifford told The Associated Press in 1993. “There’s nothing else like it.” handful of Pittsburgh regulars to actually take the field.
With Roethlisberger given the night off and usual backup Bruce Gradkowski dealing with a sore arm, the Steelers gave thirdstringer Jones an extensive look. The former Oklahoma player is trying to convince the team to keep three quarterbacks on the roster. While coach Mike Tomlin said early in camp Jones was on the “incline” he was going to reserve judgment until after seeing Jones face guys in differentcolored jerseys.