Friday, October 28, 2005


Football is a business known more for covetousness than a vow to the common good. Wellington T. Mara's decision that he took almost 4 years back on how the NFL should distribute its spoils remains not merely a variance in professional sports, but also continues to be the legacy that allows the league to flourish. Mara, who was the co-owner of the New York Giants, who willingly approved in the early 1960s that the league should equally divide money from the sale of television rights, breathed his last on October 26, 2005 at the age of 89. He died from cancer at his home in Rye, N.Y. Wellington when he was 14 and his brother Jack when he was 22 received the legacy of the team, which began a storied career in ownership. Mara was involved in every aspect of operating the Giants during his eight decades with the team. The only break in Mara’s Giants career was during World War II, when he like a true civilian served for more than three years in the Navy, seeing action in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters aboard aircraft carriers and emerging as a Lieutenant Commander.

It was Mara’s decision only that all NFL franchises, including ones from small markets, such as Green Bay, would have an opportunity to compete with teams from much larger markets, such as New York. His decision became more notable when it came at the expense of its own franchise, whose worth would have rocketed if it had sold exclusive broadcast rights to what was then the league's flagship team. Wellington’s father died in 1959 and Jack in 1965. Jack's son, also named Tim, inherited his father's share of the team, but Wellington Mara and his nephew began a feud that coincided with some of the team's most dismal seasons. His nephew, Tim sold his share of the Giants to Robert Tisch in 1991, but still the grace and enamor of Wellington Mara remained same. He was still the hallmark ownership figure of the franchise.


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