Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford, who died Sunday at age 84, turned his NFL fame, charisma and movie-star good looks into a wide-ranging and successful second career.
Along with the more traditional former player route of broadcasting games, Gifford appeared in about a dozen films, hosted "Wide World of Sports" and covered several Olympics.
The allure of the broad-shouldered football star has long entranced show business. Here's a look at some other players over the decades who have crossed over into pop culture.
Karras was one of the NFL's fiercest defensive tackles for the Detroit Lions from 1958-70. After retiring from the game, he went into acting. His signature scene came in the 1974 comedy "Blazing Saddles," when he dropped a horse with a punch as the soft-hearted outlaw Mongo. He portrayed the father in the 1980s sitcom "Webster," along with his wife, actress Susan Clark. He also appeared in the "Monday Night Football" booth.
"Broadway Joe" had the big stage of playing in New York, where his larger-than-life personality was on display with his guarantee the Jets would win the third Super Bowl. So comfortable in the limelight, he famously wore pantyhose in an ad. Namath hosted his own short-lived syndicated talk show, and acted in movies and theater.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback won four Super Bowls in 14 seasons in the NFL. His movie credits include "Failure to Launch," ''Hooper" and "Cannonball Run" and he's guest-starred on a long list of TV shows to go along with his NFL broadcasting, where he is currently a studio host for Fox's pregame show.
Far better known now for a car chase and murder trial, Simpson was one of the top three most recognized faces in North America at the height of his football fame, according to polls taken at the time. He was the first pro football player to make the cover of "Rolling Stone" in 1977 and the second professional athlete to host "Saturday Night Live" in 1975. He had prominent roles in "The Naked Gun" movies in 1988 and 1991 and a classic rental car commercial that had the running back jumping over counters at an airport.
The Super Bowl-winning New York Giants pass rusher made a quick transition after retiring. He hosts the morning talk show "LIVE with Kelly and Michael" alongside Kelly Ripa. A studio host for Fox's pregame show, he also starred in a short-lived sitcom on the network.
Whenever he retires, the quarterback will have lots of options. Plenty of other athletes have hosted "Saturday Night Live" over the years, but it was only Manning and Derek Jeter who represented the sports world in a segment during the show's 40th anniversary celebration. With his self-deprecating style, Manning is all over TV ads and had a viral hit with brother Eli in their "Football on Your Phone" video for DirecTV.
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