Wellington Mara spent his whole life with the Giants. Once his father bought the franchise in 1925, when Wellington was nine, it became the family business destined to be passed down to the sons. Wellington got his nickname, “Duke,” from the players, and the official NFL ball was christened Duke in his honor in 1941. The youngest Mara watched most games from the bench until 1951, and he used his first movie camera to shoot the team’s first game films. When he moved up to the press box in the 1950s, Wellington would take Polaroid shots of the opposing team’s formations and drop them down to the bench in a weighted sock.
Wellington scouted college players for the Giants and ran the personnel side of the team, while his older brother Jack ran the financial side. It was a fruitful partnership for several years, with Wellington building the team through astute drafts and trades. In the mid-1960s, though, the system developed cracks. Wellington allowed the team to get old, and his brother Jack died, leaving him with added responsibilities. The team suffered, and so did Wellington’s popularity with players, fans, and ultimately with Jack’s son Tim, who owned the other 50 percent of the Giants. The Maras’ bitter feud contributed to the team’s decline on the field.
Once George Young turned the team around on the field, Wellington began to be viewed as one of the patriarchs of the league again. Indeed, his league-first attitude had been instrumental in assuring such
The passing of owner Wellington Mara in 2005 was mourned by millions of Giants fans.
At Super Bowl XXI, team leader Harry Carson delighted in throwing his beloved boss in the shower to share in the celebration of the long-awaited championship. That was one of six titles the Giants won in Mara’s life. For his lifelong contributions to pro football, Wellington was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997, where he joined his deceased father, Tim Mara.
Wellington Mara cared deeply about three things throughout his life: family, church, and the Giants. When he died, his loss was mourned by millions of Giants fans.
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It’s just an attitude, man. It’s a want-to, and guys had a want-to today.
Actress Kate Mara, granddaughter of Wellington Mara, sings the national anthem before the Giants took on the Redskins two days after the funeral services of the Giants’ longtime owner and patriarch.
The two-time defending Eastern Conference champion Giants came into this game against the Eagles off a 31-0 drubbing by the Steelers, in which New York was led by backup quarterback Ralph Guglielmi. That loss to Pittsburgh dropped the Giants to 1-1 and Guglielmi was cut, leaving only rookie Glynn Griffing behind 37-year-old starter Y. A. Tittle. When Tittle returned to action against Philadelphia on this day, it was more obvious than ever just how important he was to the Giants’ success.
With the wily Tittle back at the controls, the offense righted itself and swamped the overmatched Eagles. Tittle tossed two touchdown passes in the first half and led New York to three more scores in the first 11 minutes of the third quarter, putting the game out of reach at 30-0. The Giants defense intercepted five Eagles passes four off Sonny Jurgensen and one off King Hill and recovered a fumble as well in this easy victory.
On this day, versatile utility man Joe Morrison stepped in at fullback for the injured Alex Webster and had a career rushing day, running for 120 yards on 12 carries and three touchdowns. The third touchdown came in the fourth quarter after the Eagles had punched in a couple of meaningless touchdowns to make the score more respectable, and it was the sweetest play of the day.
Morrison’s final score came on a simple end run from the Giants’ 29-yard line. He took the handoff and went right, while both guards and left tackle Rosey Brown all pulled to run interference. Right guard Ken Byers brush-blocked Eagles linebacker Bob Harrison in the backfield, and Harrison could only get a hand on Morrison. Next, left guard Darrell Dess mostly whiffed in trying to block Tom Brookshier, but Morrison broke the tackle at the 35. Finally, with three Eagles closing in from the left, All-Pro tackle Brown clobbered defensive end Jerry Mazzanti at the 38 and sent him backwards like a skittering bowling pin into teammates Don Burroughs and Jimmy Carr, knocking all three to the ground.
It’s called a dive end run, and we must run it thousands of time in practice. Alex [Webster] has made this play go for years. The two guards pulled out and when Kenny Byers blocked their cornerback out, I cut inside and had a clear field. It’s a nice feeling, I’ll tell you.
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