Vik­ings top Steel­ers 14-3 in Hall of Fame game

Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gif­ford dies

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY WILL GRAVES

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.