Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth paid tribute to NFL legend and broadcaster Frank Gifford in Holmdel, NJ on Sunday following his passing that day at the age of 84.
"I want to talk about football today because one of my heroes, Frank Gifford, died today," said Roth during an extended intro to the band's cover of "Ice Cream Man." "Football has everything to do with who I am today and I would not be here without that. I played Pop Warner football religiously from the minute I was able to qualify until – like Menudo – I was too big and they kicked me out.
“I was no good, my enthusiasm far outweighed my abilities, and at least half of what I know I learned from Coach Kelly, Coach Brown, and my Dad was one of the coaches, too.”
“I grew up with a poster of Bob Dylan on the wall, there’s a picture of Jimi Hendrix on the wall, and there was a picture of Bart Starr, Vince Lombardi and Frank Gifford right next to them,” Roth continued. “The Van Halens know what I'm talking about. Every morning, starting in 7th grade, I wanted to be those guys – any of them.
“I'm going to play the rest of this for Frank and everything he stood for. Everything that makes America just super good, baby."
Gifford played 12 seasons for the New York Giants, winning the league's Most Valuable Player Award in 1956 as part of the team’s NFL championship that year. He appeared in eight Pro Bowls at three different positions – running back, defensive back and wide receiver – and was inducted into the Pro Footaball Hall Of Fame in 1977.
Gifford was the play-by-play announcer and commentator on Monday Night Football for 27 years alongside Howard Cosell and Don Meredith in the broadcast booth.
Van Halen are playing shows this summer across North America in support of their latest release, “Tokyo Dome Live In Concert.”
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