cover image The Whole Ten Yards

The Whole Ten Yards

Frank Gifford. Random House (NY), $22 (285pp) ISBN 978-0-679-41543-5

Much like the Gifford we know from Monday Night Football , this autobiography, written with Newsweek journalist Waters, is easygoing, informative and anecdotal. Gifford's father, an itinerant oil field worker, led the family on an existence which was right out of The Grapes of Wrath (Gifford estimates that he lived in 47 towns before he started high school). Finally settling in Bakersfield, Calif., Gifford's life was turned around by his high school football coach, Homer Beatty. Beatty made Gifford into a star tailback and got him into the University of Southern California. Drafted by the New York Giants of the NFL, he was a member of the 1956 world champion Giants; was a participant in ``the greatest game every played''--the Colts-Giants championship game of 1958; and he played with, or was coached by, some of the heroic names of pro football: Charlie Conerly, Y. A. Tittle, Kyle Rote, Sam Huff, Tom Landry and the legendary Vince Lombardi. He relives the nights with Toots Shor and Jackie Gleason (``a great talent but a tragic man'') and provides funny and insightful profiles of his teammates in the booth: Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Roone Arledge. Inevitably, there is his wife, the infatigably upbeat Kathie Lee (of Live with Regis & Kathie Lee fame). A good, solid sports autobiography that will be enjoyed by football fans--maybe even fans of Kathie Lee. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)