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Gifford Nielsen is a former NFL and All-American college football quarterback. He played for the Houston Oilers. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He announced his retirement as the sports director of KHOU-TV in Houston, TX, on March 30, 2009. His last newscast was Tuesday, March 31, 2009. He had enjoyed a 25-year career as sports director at Channel 11 in Houston before his retirement.
- "It was harder retiring from professional football than television," Nielsen said. "You work so hard all through your life to get to a position like the NFL, and when I finally made it, I was euphoric. Then, to be able to play for Bum Phillips and go through the Luv Ya Blue era, which I still believe was the greatest in the history of sports in the Houston area, it was absolutely something we cherish."
Nielsen was one of a string of stellar quarterbacks in the 70's and 80's who played for Brigham Young University. Others included Gary Sheide, Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Robbie Bosco and Ty Detmer. Nielsen was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
Nielsen was selected in the third round of the 1978 NFL draft by the Houston Oilers, the team with which he spent his entire NFL career. Nielsen played six seasons as a part-time quarterback. He played in 55 professional games and started 14. His career stats include 3,255 passing yards for 20 touchdowns and a 70.0 passer rating.
Gifford Nielson was called as President of the Houston Texas South Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2004. He has consistently been active in service for the Church. In April of 2013 Elder Nielsen was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ, and as such, is a General Authority of the Church. He will serve in this position permanently. Before this call, he was an "area seventy," overseeing the North America Southwest Area. Area seventies usually serve for a period of five years.
Nielsen was born October 25, 1954, in Provo, Utah. He and his wife Wendy have six children and live in Texas.