Legendary NFL broadcaster Frank Gifford passed away over the weekend at 84 years old. On radio Monday morning, Glenn delivered a touching tribute to Frank Gifford and shared an incredible story of what Frank did for fellow broadcaster Howard Cosell when Cosell was on death's door.
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it may contain errors:
GLENN: So yesterday morning, I heard that Frank Gifford died. And I was -- I was glad for him. But I was sad for Kathie Lee and the children.
Kathie Lee Gifford is a good friend of mine. And Tania and I were quite sad yesterday. The -- I went over to Kathie Lee and Frank's house. Oh, this must have been about four years ago. And we had dinner together. And I had never met Frank before. And I hope I'm not telling things out of school. Am I? Jeffy, should I not?
JEFFY: I couldn't find it anywhere.
GLENN: Okay. He was just getting old. And he had a hard time, you know, remembering some things while he was telling it. And I watched him -- I watched him struggle with his memory. And it was tragically sad. Tragically sad. And Kathie Lee was so graceful with it and so unbelievably loving. And Frank, Frank brought me into his office. His trophy room. And I wish the guy -- I wish you guys would have been with me. Because it didn't mean anything to me. But it was award after award after award after award.
JEFFY: Just the Hall of Fame NFL is all.
STU: A legend.
GLENN: And I didn't know anything about -- I know he played for the giants. And I knew he was part of Monday night football. But I didn't know anything else about his career because I don't follow football. But watching him in the room telling the stories of what football used to be like. Then we sat down to dinner, and I talked to him about Monday Night Football. And this man affected our culture.
I remember Monday Night Football with my father. I remember the sound of it and the -- I just -- Monday night in my house was Monday Night Football. That was like that for 70 percent of the country.
When they talked about the debate being the biggest debate ever, being this huge thing. That had a 24-share.
PAT: It had a 16-share.
GLENN: Sorry. Sixteen-share.
Think how big. Everybody was talking about that. Every Monday night, Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell and Don Meredith had a 70-share.
PAT: Yeah. The 16-share means that 16 percent of American TVs are tuned into that event at that moment. This is 70 percent of all TVs tuned into Monday Night Football.
GLENN: This is 70. Okay. So he was telling the story and he said, Glenn, wherever we went, we changed the conversation for two days. Everybody was talking about Monday Night Football, what was going to happen that night. And everybody talked about what we said the day before.
Nobody that is alive today has that kind of experience. Nobody.
So here's a guy who lived a life that no one has lived. Just a rare, rare person.
I talked to him a little bit about Howard Cosell. And I said, what was he like? He said, not a nice person. Not a nice person. He said, nobody really liked Howard. And he said, it was tragically sad. He said, Howard, when he was -- when he was kicked off of television, it was because he said something like, look at him he runs like a little monkey or something. Something like that.
GLENN: And Howard, apparently, according to Frank, did not mean it this way at all.
PAT: Not a racist guy.
GLENN: No, he's not.
PAT: Best friends with Muhammad Ali. How racist -- you know, Muhammad Ali loved him.
GLENN: He said when that happened -- he told me the story of when that happened and the times -- he started telling stories about Monday Night Football. And the times that they would drink during the commercials. And he said, we were drunk almost every single Monday night.
PAT: You're not kidding.
GLENN: No. No. He said they were hammered. The hosts.
PAT: Like Frank and Howard and Dan and Don were hammered?
GLENN: He said they were hammered.
STU: We have to try that on this show.
GLENN: Yeah. He said, every Monday night, we were hammered. He said, however, there was one night that we were more hammered than usual. And he said -- I don't remember which one of them threw up in a garbage can at their feet on the air. And the cameraman just -- one of them was talking and kind of gave a sign like, I think I'm going to hurl. So they switched over to someone else. And he said, we could hear. I don't know if Americans could hear it. He said, but we could hear him vomiting, he was so hammered.
GLENN: And he said, so the night that this happened, he said, you know, it's a live broadcast with 70 percent of all televisions listening and watching. And he said -- so there's constant arguing in our ears and telling us what to do and where to go and everything else. And he says, it's local and it's New York. And he said, and Howard said, what he said. Look at him he's running like a little monkey or whatever. And he said, everything became totally silent. He said nobody said anything. Nobody on the floor. Everybody's eyes just looked at Howard like, good God Almighty, man, what did you just say? And he said, then finally the silence was broken by somebody in our ear that said, go to commercial now!
He said, we went to commercial. And New York just went nuts. And said, Howard, you have to apologize. You have to -- you know, and Howard didn't understand what he said. He said -- he's like, I'm a friend of Muhammad Ali. He said, I'm the best friend to some of the biggest athletes in America. And I made them
STU: And his defense was something like that, he called his kids monkeys. His grandkids monkeys because they ran very fast. And that's what he was trying to get across.
GLENN: At that time, because Howard was not a likable person, nobody -- nobody talked to him.
STU: Nobody defended him. Nobody had his back.
GLENN: Nobody defended him. He was completely alone. So he tells me as Howard is getting close to dying. He's really on death's doorstep. He calls and leaves a message for Frank and says, Frank, I don't understand. And he's crying. I don't understand what happened to all my friends. I don't understand. Not knowing that he didn't have any friends. He just had people that were glomming on to him because he was Howard Cosell. And he said, I don't understand what happened. He said, I'm alone. Nobody will talk to me. I'm dying, Frank. Will you please come and visit me?
He almost didn't, and Kathie Lee said, it's the Christian thing you do. You got to do it. He said, he was a horrible guy to me. You know, and a horrible guy to everybody. But he did. And Frank told me, it was the best thing he ever did. He said, he went and he talked to him and sat with him. And he said he cried and cried and cried and didn't know -- really didn't understand. He went and visited him every week until he died. And nobody -- nobody knew what was going on. But even Howard's family didn't come to visit him. And it was in the end, just Frank Gifford, that went and did the right thing and comforted a man who was in his last days.
I am truly sorry for the loss of Frank Gifford because of his family. His family is wonderful. His wife is remarkable. Just a remarkable woman. And Frank Gifford was one hell of a guy.
Featured Image: NEW YORK - MARCH 25: Former professional football player Frank Gifford attends the Broadway opening of "Come Fly Away" at the Marriott Marquis on March 25, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)