Gifford Nielsen – BYU / Houston Oilers QB from late 1970’s


I was a student photographer at BYU 1977-1979.   3 of us drove to Oregon State (Corvallis) for a game and it happened to be the one that ended his college career and dropped him out of the Heisman race, which he arguably lead at the time.   This is the photo we ran of him being helped off the field.   I had never seen the guy since that time and heard he was speaking to a singles group in SLC one night, and determined I’d see if he’d sign this for me.   Cool keepsake.  (He’s retired from KHOU and now is a full-time leader in the LDS Church, looking after things in the Pacific Rim for a couple of years.)


  1. Reply
    Hosting November 2, 2016

    Nielsen was the d pick in the third round of the 1978 draft By the Houston Oilers. He spent six seasons with the Oilers and started 14 games over that time. He didn t find much success only winning three of those starts.

    • Reply
      lstavast November 3, 2016

      Just getting there for a BYU football player at the time was a big accomplishment. They were pretty
      much coming from football obscurity (or worse). I personally think he was far less a QB than Marc Wilson who replaced him, but it was his moment in the sun. I shot him, Wilson and McMahon. Took the pictures
      at McMahon’s high school (Roy) when he signed with BYU. Also hit the Danny Ainge 1st 2 years in basketball. Thanks for taking a look 🙂

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