USC’s football season is just 16 days away, and as such we are going to take a page out of our good friend Trojan Empire’s book and dedicate this one to that jersey number.
So without further ado we will travel back the 1950s and meet a Trojan who wore No. 16 before he went on to NFL Success.
USC Legends: Frank Gifford.
Frank Gifford was born in Santa Monica 82 years ago today. (Seriously. It’s his birthday.) His road to USC took a minor detour when he enrolled in and played at Bakersfield Junior College for a year, as his grades out of high school were not high enough to go straight to SC. He worked hard and made the Junior College All-American team before becoming a Trojan.
While at SC, Gifford had an illustrious career. He was USC’s leading scorer in 1950 with 25 points and in 1951, with 74. He earned All-American status in that same ’51 season and led the Trojans in total offense with 1154 all-purpose yards. Aside from being a stud on offense, he also played on the other side of the ball and led the team in interceptions in 1950. A jack of all trades, Gifford also was the placekicker, and in 1949 his 22-yard field goal against Cal was the first by USC since 1935.In 1994, he became a USC Football Hall of Famer
In 1952, the New York Giants drafted him in the first round. In the pros he was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and the 1958 Pro Bowl MVP, a six-time All Pro Selection, a member of the 1950s All-Decade Team, and the Giants retired his No. 16 jersey. His career ended in 1964 and in those 12 years he had 3609 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns, and 5434 receiving yards, with 43 touchdowns through the air. After he retired, he went on to a career as a football broadcaster until 1997.
He and his wife, Kathie Lee, former host of Regis and Kathy Lee and current host of Kathy Lee & Hoda on NBC, met in 1985 on the set of Good Morning America. They would be married on Oct. 18, 1986 and–surprise!–they share the same Aug. 16th birthday. They have two children together, Cody–who currently goes to USC–and a daughter, Cassidy.
Gifford was a legendary half-back/defensive back/kicker for USC and his legacy will live on for years to come in Trojan Lore.