Wellington Mara New York Giants

"I spent all my time with the players and coaches. The players used to call me 'Duke’ because of my name. I watched game movies and sat in on team meetings and at that time knew every assignment on the team, offense and defense. I don’t have time to do that anymore. And I’m not that close to the players either. They call Mr. Mara now.”

Wellington Mara  was a man whose entire lifetime was dedicated to the National Football League and his family-owned Giants.

The son of the late Timothy J. Mara, who was the Giants founder and a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Wellington Mara joined the Giants in 1937 as a part-time assistant to the president. He began full-time work in 1938 as club secretary and later served as vice president before becoming the team’s president after the death of his older brother, Jack, in 1965.

Mara’s extensive experience in organization, player personnel, trading and drafting helped produce 16 NFL/NFC divisional titles (two came after his induction into the Hall of Fame) and four NFL championships during his 68-season tenure that began with his graduation from Fordham in 1937. Even when he was a college student, Mara made a significant contribution when he drafted and signed future Hall of Famer Tuffy Leemans in 1936. Mara-engineered trades that brought such stars as Y.A. Tittle, Andy Robustelli and Del Shofner to the team were combined with his drafting of Frank Gifford and Roosevelt Brown, both future Hall of Famers, to mold the Giants into a dominant team in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

From 1956 to 1963, the Giants won six divisional championships and the 1956 NFL title. In more recent years, Mara’s Giants won Super Bowls XXI and XXV. Mara, who was born August 14, 1916, in New York City, was respected as one of the most knowledgeable executives in pro football.

From 1984 to 2005, he has served as president of the National Football Conference. He had served on the Hall of Fame and realignment committees, as co-chairman of the long-range planning committee and on the NFL Management Council’s executive committee. In previous years, he also was a member of the constitution, pro-college relations and commissioner search committees.