Wellington Mara

Wellington Timothy Mara (August 14, 1916 – October 25, 2005) was the co-owner of the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) from 1959 until his death, and one of the most influential and iconic figures in the history of the NFL. He was the younger son of Tim Mara, who founded the Giants in 1925. Wellington was a ball boy for that year.

Wellington Mara
refer to caption
Mara and his wife, Ann in 1954
Position:Owner/President/General Manager
Personal information
Born:August 14, 1916
Rochester, New York
Died:October 25, 2005 (aged 89)
Rye, New York
Career information
College:Fordham High school= Loyola School
Career history
As executive:
Career highlights and awards
Wellington Mara
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1943–1946
RankUS-O4 insignia.svg Lieutenant commander
Battles/warsWorld War II

Life and career

Mara was born in Rochester, New York, the son of Elizabeth "Lizette" (née Barclay), a homemaker, and Timothy James Mara.[1] He was of Irish descent. Mara was an alumnus of Loyola School and Fordham University, both New York City Jesuit schools.

In 1930, Timothy James Mara split his ownership interests between Wellington (then 14) and his older brother Jack. Soon after graduating from Fordham University, Wellington moved into the Giants' front office as team treasurer and assistant to his father. He became the team's secretary in 1940. After fighting in World War II, he returned to the Giants as team vice president, a post he retained after his father died in 1958. When Jack, who had been president since 1941, died in 1965, Wellington became team president.

For his first 37 years in the organization, he handled the franchise's football decisions. However, his growing involvement in league affairs led him to turn over most of his day-to-day responsibilities to operations director Andy Robustelli in 1974. He didn't relinquish full control over the football side of the operation until 1979, when George Young became the team's first general manager.

The Giants were hamstrung for several years by a strained relationship between Wellington and his nephew, Tim J. Mara, who inherited Jack's stake in the team upon Jack's death. By the 1970s, they almost never spoke to each other, and a partition had to be built in the owners' box. The Maras continued to retain close control over the Giants' day-to-day operations long after most other owners had delegated such authority. Only the fallout from the 1978 Fumble, in which a certain Giant win turned into a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on a last-second fumble, convinced the Maras of the need to modernize--among other things, by hiring Young and giving him full control over football operations.

Under Mara's direction the New York Football Giants won six NFL titles (including two Super Bowl wins), nine conference championships (including six Eastern Conference championships in the days before the NFL-AFL merger and three NFC championships post-merger), and 13 division championships. An eighth NFL title, third and fourth Super Bowl victories, fifth NFC championship (11th conference championship overall), and 15th division title have been captured since his passing under the leadership of his son, John, and co-owner Steve Tisch (who in turn is the son of Wellington's former co-owner from 1991–2005, Bob Tisch; Tisch also died in 2005, with his death coming three weeks after Mara's).

The Giants have also accumulated the third highest number of victories in National Football League history. Mara was also well liked by the Giants' players, and was known to stick by them even when they struggled with off-the-field problems. When Lawrence Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999 he credited Mara for supporting him even during the worst times of his drug addiction saying, "He probably cared more about me as a person than he really should have."[2] Taylor has since lived a clean life style and credits Mara with helping him fight his addiction.[3]

Grave of Wellington Mara in Gate of Heaven Cemetery
The grave of Wellington Mara in Gate of Heaven Cemetery

He had surgery in May 2005 to remove cancerous lymph nodes from his neck and under his armpit, but was initially given a good prognosis by his doctors who said the cancer had not metastasized, according to his son, John Mara, who is the Giants' co-chief executive officer.

Not long after Mara came to work with the team, the players--many of whom were barely older than him--nicknamed him "Duke" because they knew he was named after the Duke of Wellington, whom his father called "the fightingest of all Irishmen." The nickname stuck. The Wilson football used in NFL games prior to the AFL merger (1941–69) was nicknamed "THE DUKE" after Mara.[4] For the 2006 season and beyond, a new version of "THE DUKE" has been used in NFL games.

He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997. Mara was married to Ann Mara. His granddaughters include actresses Kate Mara and Rooney Mara.

In 2012, Mara was elected into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.[5]

Death

Wellington Mara succumbed to lymphoma in 2005 at age 89. He was interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York, after his funeral at New York's Saint Patrick's Cathedral.[6][7] He was survived by his wife Ann Mara (1929-2015), 11 children, and 42 grandchildren. His team honored him after his death by defeating the Washington Redskins, the team he always viewed as the Giants' biggest (and oldest) rival, 36–0 on October 30, 2005 at Giants Stadium.[7] The 80,000 fans in attendance gave his mention a standing ovation.

See also

References

  1. ^ "MRS. TIMOTHY J. MARA". New York Times. July 23, 1963. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  2. ^ sportsillustrated.cnn.com, Five for the ages: Pro Football Hall of Fame inducts five more members, accessed February 17, 2007
  3. ^ Dave Anderson, PRO FOOTBALL; Losing Himself to Find Himself, New York Times, November 28, 2003, accessed April 4, 2008
  4. ^ http://www.wilson.com/en-us/football/nfl/wilson-and-the-nfl/history/;jsessionid=F778176F5935A23A9E5C363660A75A0A
  5. ^ "The Newark Star Ledger".
  6. ^ Sandomir, Richard (October 29, 2005). "Mara Is Remembered as a Giant Among Men". The New York Times.
  7. ^ a b Hanlon, Greg (November 30, 2008). "Top 10 Moments in the Giants-Redskins Rivalry". The New York Times.

External links

1953 New York Giants season

The 1953 New York Giants season was the franchise's 29th season in the National Football League.

1998 New York Giants season

The 1998 New York Giants season was the team's 74th season in the National Football League. The team failed to improve upon their previous season's output of 10–5–1, winning only eight games and missing the playoffs. Perhaps the most memorable moment of the 1998 season took place during week 15, when the Giants defeated the previously undefeated Denver Broncos on a late touchdown pass from Kent Graham to Amani Toomer.

2005 New York Giants season

The 2005 New York Giants season was the franchise's 81st season in the National Football League. The Giants finished the regular season with 11 wins and 5 losses and came in first place of the NFC East. However, they would lose to the Carolina Panthers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Ann Mara

Ann Mara (June 18, 1929 – February 1, 2015) was an American businesswoman, socialite, philanthropist, the wife and later widow of Wellington Mara, and the matriarch of the Mara family, which includes New York Giants CEO John Mara, and her granddaughters, actresses Rooney Mara and Kate Mara.

Ball (gridiron football)

In Canada and in the United States, a football is a ball, roughly in the form of a prolate spheroid, used in the context of playing gridiron football. Footballs are often made of cow hide leather, as such a material is required in professional and collegiate football. Footballs used in recreation, and in organised youth leagues, may be made of rubber or plastic materials (high school football rulebooks still allow inexpensive all-rubber footballs, though they are less common than leather).

Charlie Flowers

Charlie Flowers (June 28, 1937 – December 7, 2014) was an American football player. He played for the Ole Miss Rebels of the University of Mississippi, and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997. In December 1959, he was signed by the National Football League's New York Giants. However, in order to retain his eligibility to play in the Sugar Bowl, he requested to keep the contract a secret until January 2, 1960. Wellington Mara accepted this request and the team did not submit the contract to Pete Rozelle for approval. Later in December, the American Football League's Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers offered him more money to play for them. He accepted their offer and withdrew from his contract with the Giants. The Giants attempted to enforce the contract, but their plea was rejected due to their unclean hands. He later played for the New York Titans. Flowers died on December 7, 2014, at the age of 77 following a long illness.

Duke (nickname)

Duke or The Duke is a nickname for:

Duke Aiona (born 1955), American politician

Duke Brett (1900–1974), American Major League Baseball pitcher (1924–1925) and minor league manager

Duke Carmel (born 1937), American former Major League Baseball player

Duke Cunningham (born 1941), American former US Navy fighter pilot and disgraced politician\

Duke Dawson (born 1996), American football player

George Deukmejian (born 1928), former Governor of California

David Dickinson (born 1941), British antiques expert and television presenter

Michael Dukakis (born 1933), former Governor of Massachusetts and Democratic Presidential nominee

Duke Ejiofor (born 1995), American football player

Duke Ellington (1899–1974), American jazz composer, pianist and bandleader

Nathan Ellington (born 1981), English footballer nicknamed "The Duke" after the jazz bandleader

Duke Erikson (born 1951), American songwriter, producer, musician and co-founder of the alternative rock band Garbage

Duke Esper (1868–1910), American Major League Baseball pitcher

Abdul "Duke" Fakir (born 1935), American singer, last surviving original member of the Four Tops

Duke Farrell (1866–1925), American Major League Baseball catcher

Dušan Fabian (born 1975), Slovak author

Duke Harris (born 1942), Canadian former hockey player

Robert P. Hedman, American pilot, Flying Tigers "ace in a day" (Christmas Day 1941)

Marmaduke Hussey, Baron Hussey of North Bradley (1923–2006), former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the BBC

Duke Iversen (1920–2011), American football player

Duke Jordan (1922–2006), American jazz pianist

Duke Keats (1895–1972), Canadian hockey player in the National Hockey League and other leagues

Wellington Mara (1916–2005), American National Football League executive and co-owner of the New York Giants

Duke Nalon (1913–2001), American race car driver

Duke Pearson (1932–1980), American jazz pianist, composer and bandleader

Duke Reid (1915–1975), Jamaican record producer, DJ and label owner

Duke Riley (American football) (born 1994), American football player

Duke Robillard (born 1948), American blues musician

Duke Roufus (born 1970), American former kickboxer and coach

Duke Sims (born 1941), American retired Major League Baseball catcher

Duke Slater (1898–1966), African-American college and professional football player, member of the College Football Hall of Fame

Duke Snider (1926–2011), American Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player

John Wayne (1907–1979), American actor

Duke Worne (1888–1933), American silent film director and actor

Financial history of the New York Giants

The New York Giants, an American football team which plays in the National Football League (NFL), have had a long, and at times turbulent financial history. The Giants were founded in 1925 by businessman and bookmaker Tim Mara with an investment of 500 US$, and became one of the first teams in the then five-year-old NFL. Mara passed ownership of the team on to his sons Wellington and Jack after the 1929 Stock Market Crash to insulate the team from creditors. At first the Mara sons owned the team in name only, but they took increasingly larger roles in the organization beginning in the mid-1930s. Tim Mara remained involved in the team's operations until his death in 1959, when his sons assumed full control of the club. After Jack's passing in 1965, his son, Tim, took over his share of the team.

Although the Giants were successful on the field in their initial seasons, they struggled financially. A key event in franchise history occurred in the 11th game of the Giants inaugural season. The Chicago Bears, led by star running back Red Grange, came to town attracting a then pro football record 73,000 fans, and giving the Giants a much needed financial influx. The following year, Grange and his agent formed a rival league and stationed a competing team, led by Grange, in New York. Though the Giants lost $50,000 that season, the rival league folded and was subsumed into the NFL. After these initial struggles, the Giants financial status stabilized, and they led the league in attendance several times in the 1930s and 1940s. By the early 1960s, the Giants had firmly established themselves as one of the league's biggest attractions. However, rather than continue to receive their higher share of the league television revenue, the Mara sons pushed for equal sharing of revenue for the benefit of the entire league. Revenue sharing is still practiced in the NFL today, and is credited with strengthening the league.

After struggling in the latter half of the 1960s and the entire 1970s, the Giants hired an outsider, George Young, to run football operations for the first time in several decades. The Giants on-field product and business aspects improved rapidly following the hiring. In 1990, Jack Mara's son, Tim, who was struggling with cancer at the time, sold his half of the team to Bob Tisch. This marked the first time in franchise history the team had not been solely owned by the Mara family. In 2005, Wellington Mara, who had been with the team since its inception in 1925 when he worked as a ball boy, died. His death was followed two weeks later by the death of Tisch.

The Giants are currently owned by the sons of Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch—John K. Mara and Steve Tisch. An estimate of the franchise's current value places it at $1.2 billion.

Gate of Heaven Cemetery (Hawthorne, New York)

The Gate of Heaven Cemetery, approximately 25 miles (40 km) north of New York City, was established in 1917 at 10 West Stevens Ave. in Hawthorne, Westchester County, New York, as a Roman Catholic burial site. Among its famous residents is baseball player Babe Ruth, whose grave has an epitaph by Cardinal Francis Spellman and is almost always adorned by a large number of baseballs, bats, and caps.

Adjacent to the Garden Mausoleum is a small train station of the Metro North Railroad Harlem Division named Mount Pleasant where 4 trains stop daily, 2 northbound and 2 southbound. Several baseball players are buried here.

Giants–Redskins rivalry

The Giants–Redskins rivalry is a rivalry between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. The rivalry began in 1932 with the founding of the Washington Redskins, and is the oldest rivalry in the NFC East Division. While often dismissed, particularly in recent times, this rivalry has seen periods of great competition. In particular the Giants and Redskins competed fiercely for conference and division titles in the late 1930s and early 1940s and 1980s. Perhaps most fans today recall the 1980s as the most hotly contested period between these teams, as the Redskins under Joe Gibbs and the Giants under Bill Parcells competed for division titles and Super Bowls. During this span the two teams combined to win 7 NFC East Divisional Titles, 5 Super Bowls and even duked it out in the 1986 NFC Championship Game with the Giants winning 17–0. This rivalry is storied and while it tends to be dismissed due to the Redskins' recent struggles, Wellington Mara, long time owner of the Giants, always said that he believed the Redskins were the Giants' truest rival.Despite flagging in recent years, in 2012 the rivalry intensified significantly, both on the field and off it: when, in March of that year, a special NFL commission headed by Giants owner John Mara imposed a $36 million salary cap penalty on the Redskins (and a smaller one on the Dallas Cowboys) for the organization's approach to structuring contracts in the 2010 NFL season, when there was no cap – which he publicly claimed was, if anything, too lenient, and should have cost them draft picks as well – the Redskins organization, particularly owner Daniel Snyder, were convinced that, by so disciplining divisional rivals, Mara had abused his league-wide office to advance his own teams' interests (the draft sanctions Mara sought were regarded as especially malicious, as such a punishment would have likely voided the pick-laden trade with the St. Louis Rams – completed three days before the cap penalties were announced – to acquire the #2 position, used to draft Robert Griffin III); in the week leading up to a crucial Week 13 Monday Night Football showdown eventually won by Washington, copies of Mara's quote, along with statistics implying that NFL referees were biased in the Giants' favor, were posted throughout the teams' facilities, and a smiling Snyder, within earshot of numerous media personnel, told a team employee that "I hate those motherfuckers" in the victorious locker room after the game.

John Johnson (trainer)

John "Mr. J" Johnson (March 31, 1917 – February 28, 2016) was an American athletic trainer, formerly for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL).

He began working for the Giants in 1948, and retired in 2008, after the Giants won Super Bowl XLII. He worked on the sidelines for 874 regular season games and 34 post season games. In addition, he worked as an athletic trainer for Manhattan College. He died in New Jersey at the age of 98 in 2016.

John Mara

John K. Mara, Esq ( MAR-ə (born December 1, 1954) is the president, CEO, and co-owner of the New York Giants.

Loyola School (New York City)

Loyola School is an independent Jesuit high school on the Upper East Side of New York City, founded in 1900 by the Society of Jesus. Originally a Roman Catholic boys school, Loyola became coeducational in 1973, becoming the only Jesuit co-ed college preparatory high school in the Tri-State Region. With a student enrollment of two hundred, the average class size of fifteen students promotes personal attention and individual participation. Loyola education fosters lifelong learning and aims to produce graduates who are academically excellent, open to growth, religious, loving, and committed to doing justice in service to others. The school is located two city blocks east of Central Park and Museum Mile on 83rd Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan. St. Ignatius Church is in the same complex and is used for various school functions. The church is listed as a NYC landmark and the complex is listed as a National Historic Place. St. Ignatius Loyola School is an elementary school that also shares the complex but there is no official link between the schools.

Mike Pope

Michael L. "Mike" Pope (born March 14, 1942) is an American former tight ends coach in the National Football League. He is best known as the tight ends coach for the New York Giants, serving on all four of their Super Bowl Championship teams.

New York Giants

The New York Giants are a professional American football team based in the New York metropolitan area. The Giants compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The team plays its home games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, which it shares with the New York Jets in a unique arrangement. The Giants hold their summer training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.The Giants were one of five teams that joined the NFL in 1925, and is the only one of that group still existing, as well as the league's longest-established team in the Northeastern United States. The team ranks third among all NFL franchises with eight NFL championship titles: four in the pre–Super Bowl era (1927, 1934, 1938, 1956) and four since the advent of the Super Bowl (XXI (1986), XXV (1990), XLII (2007), and XLVI (2011)), along with more championship appearances than any other team, with 19 overall appearances. Their championship tally is surpassed only by the Green Bay Packers (13) and Chicago Bears (9). Throughout their history, the Giants have featured 28 Hall of Fame players, including NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award winners Mel Hein, Frank Gifford, Y. A. Tittle, and Lawrence Taylor.

To distinguish themselves from the professional baseball team of the same name, the football team was incorporated as the "New York National League Football Company, Inc." in 1929 and changed to "New York Football Giants, Inc." in 1937. While the baseball team moved to San Francisco after the 1957 season, the football team continues to use "New York Football Giants, Inc." as its legal corporate name, and is often referred to by fans and sportscasters as the "New York Football Giants". The team has also acquired several nicknames, including "Big Blue", the "G-Men", and the "Jints", an intentionally mangled contraction seen frequently in the New York Post and New York Daily News, originating from the baseball team when they were based in New York. Additionally, the team as a whole is occasionally referred to as the "Big Blue Wrecking Crew", even though this moniker primarily and originally refers to the Giants defensive unit during the 80s and early 90s (and before that to the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s).The team's heated rivalry with the Philadelphia Eagles is the oldest of the NFC East rivalries, dating all the way back to 1933, and has been called the best rivalry in the NFL in the 21st century.

Preston Robert Tisch

Preston Robert Tisch (April 29, 1926 – November 15, 2005) was an American businessman who was the chairman and—along with his brother Laurence Tisch—was part owner of the Loews Corporation. From 1991 until his death, Tisch owned 50% of the New York Giants football team and shared ownership of the team with Wellington Mara.

Timothy J. Mara

Timothy J. "Tim" Mara (August 6, 1935 – June 1, 1995) was an American businessman and part owner of the New York Giants football team. He, along with his mother Helen and sister Maura Concannon, owned a 50% stake in the team from 1965 until 1991. However, Tim Mara was much more involved with the team than his mother or his sister were.

Tuffy Leemans

Alphonse Emil "Tuffy" Leemans (November 12, 1912 – January 19, 1979) was an American football fullback and halfback who played on both offense and defense. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978 and was named in 1969 to the NFL 1930s All-Decade Team.

A native of Superior, Wisconsin, Leemans played college football for Oregon's freshman team in 1932 and for George Washington from 1933 to 1935. He was drafted by the New York Giants in the second round of the 1936 NFL Draft and played eight years for the Giants from 1936 to 1943. He led the National Football League as a rookie with 830 rushing yards and was selected as a first-team All-Pro in 1936 and 1939. He was also selected to play in the Pro Bowl in 1938 and 1941 and helped lead the Giants to the 1938 NFL Championship and the 1939 and 1941 NFL Championship Games.

After his playing career ended, Leemans worked briefly as a backfield coach for the Giants and at George Washington. He also operated a laundry and dry cleaning business and a duckpins bowling alley.

Ward Cuff

Ward Lloyd Cuff (August 12, 1913 – December 24, 2002) was an American football halfback and placekicker in the National Football League (NFL) for the New York Giants, Chicago Cardinals, and Green Bay Packers. He played college football at Marquette University and was drafted in the fourth round of the 1937 NFL Draft.

As a fullback at Marquette, Cuff played in the first Cotton Bowl game, in 1937, losing to TCU. He was also Marquette's heavyweight boxing champion and held the school record in the javelin throw. Cuff played for the Giants from 1937 to 1945, won the NFL championship in 1938, and became the team's career scoring leader with 319 points before being traded to the Cardinals. He played one season with the Cardinals and one with the Packers. He led the NFL in field goals made four times. After his NFL career, Cuff coached high school football in Green Bay, was an assistant coach for the Oregon State Beavers football team, and later worked for The Boeing Company.His number 14 was retired by the Giants, although owner Wellington Mara gave Y. A. Tittle permission to wear it during his time with the Giants from 1961 to 1964. It was retired again in honor of both players.

Wellington Mara—awards and honors

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