The Campaign For DA

3.21.2015

The Death Of A ManThis Morning Who Troubled Me Because Of A Photo

Chuck Bednarik -- basically famous for one play. Or, probably more accurately, made famous because of a couple of incredible photos as he stood over Frank Gifford in 1960. Gifford didn't play the rest of the season or all of next season because of a concussion.



The photos* bugged me when I first saw them. I bet I was in my teens. Heck, it bothers me still. There is so much there. An intimidating guy. A helpless man. Maybe a dead man. Yet, a cowardly gesture accentuated by the ref having his back to the act.  If you didn't know the background you would speculate that possibly some assault like conduct had occurred.  I've pictured the two men as boxers in an impossible scenario of the ref being distracted instead of immediately sending the winner to his corner.

I wondered for a few years what Bednarik thought about that moment and then I finally saw this clip on TV. The final few seconds stuck with me.



Didn't like the guy before and didn't like him after that.

But one thing I can't find on the Internet, and I hope some network or website does today, is an interview of Frank Gifford from probably ten to fifteen years ago (maybe longer).  He had always said it was a clean hit, but the always professional and gentleman Gifford finally showed a great deal of irritation at the way Bednarik enjoyed describing the concussion he had caused. And, even better, Gifford contorted his face for the camera and impersonated Bednarik as he appeared at the end of above youtube clip. I'm so frustrated I can't find it.

(Did the concussion cause long term effects on Gifford? Exhibit A: He married Kathy Lee.)
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*In my initial post I zeroed in on the second photo. I had always viewed that one as Bednarik standing over Gifford and taunting him. A commenter said he was simply holding an injured arm. That may be possible. Let me research it.