GIANTS' ANN MARA: LAST OF A DYING BREED
"The history of a thirty-eight year-old Tim Mara purchasing a New York football
team for five-hundred dollars (some debate it was two-thousand five hundred) in
October of 1925 is well-known to the educated Giants fan. So is the fact that a
thirteen year-old Wellington Mara (along with brother, Jack) was given
ownership four years later in 1929.
The history of the franchise and the Mara's is rich, but one person
that deserves mention and recognition is the ever-present matriarch and
protector: Ann (Mumm) Mara. Mrs. Mara remains a very visible fixture with her
boys in blue.
Many give the credit to Mara for having the Giants sideline on the
sunny side, when in actuality that dates back to Tim Mara’s wife Elizabeth in
1925 at the Polo Grounds—as recalled by Wellington himself:
“We were sitting on the Giants side of the field, and it was chilly.
My mother complained to my father that we were sitting in the shade. 'Why
couldn’t we sit where we’d be nice and warm?’ So, the next game, and from then
on, the Giants were in the sun.”
Tradition is huge with Big Blue as is maintaining a certain level of
continuity with the team as well as with the family; the Mara's never changed
this line of thinking. There’s no way Mrs. Mara didn’t remind Wellington of this
“sunny side” during the building and eventual opening of Giants Stadium in 1976
and again to John Mara
regarding the New Meadowlands Stadium/MetLife in 2010.
very first time on the field wasn’t until 2001, believe it or not, and it was at
home at Giants Stadium—after the 41-0 drubbing of the Minnesota Vikings en route
to Super Bowl XXXV. From then on, she never looked back. She got a taste of
that bonding and continued getting to know her “children”—eventually celebrating
again with them.
"Let me tell you about Green
Bay," she said. "This is before we even got to the stadium on Lombardi Ave.,
before it was Lombardi this and Lombardi that. This was at the hotel the night
before [in Appleton, Wis.]. They even had a Lombardi Steakhouse, with a letter
from my husband framed on the wall. All this Lombardi around you, no matter
where you turned, and all I could think was, 'Vinny used to sleep on our
couch!’… 1040 Park Ave. We didn't know at the time we had an immortal sleeping
on the hideaway."
Gotta love mama Mara! She doesn’t back down and she shows that she,
too, has the heart of a Giant. She was even hyped up a week prior post-NFC
Divisional win versus the Dallas Cowboys.
"What do I know?" she said, before she goes to Arizona for Super Bowl
Week. "I was happy enough after we beat the Cowboys. I thought that was our
championship game…All those Sundays, all the way back to the Polo Grounds. Who
could have known there could still be a few more like this?"
A few more, indeed. The 2011 Giants season gave her more to
celebrate—and more to show her loyal side over. This past January, Mrs. Mara got
on the field after the NFC Championship win versus the San Francisco 49ers and
poked at former NFL quarterback
(now FOX broadcast analyst) Terry
Bradshaw and shouted:
“Hey! Excuse me!” she said during an interview with Giants wide
receiver, Victor Cruz. “You never pick the Giants!” while waving her finger at
him—forcing the HOF QB to apologize and recover: “I’m sorry,” Bradshaw said then
(turning to the cameras), “I'm getting hammered for not picking the
Mrs. Wellington Mara is very much like her team and head coach
Tom Coughlin has confessed such.
“I know that in many ways, many times Mrs. Mara’s attitude is
reflective of the way that we would hope our team plays. She has great energy
and tremendous interest and she is so interested in the team playing well and
Much like the head coach, Ann Mara doesn’t let injury stop her either. She had a
fall and she broke her right shoulder after receiving Communion at Mass hours
after the Giants win in Candlestick Park.
“…But other than this,” she said, looking at her right shoulder in a
sling, “I’m fine now. I’m just sore, and black and blue.”
That didn’t stop her from flying to Indianapolis and watching her New York
Giants win and hoist another Lombardi Trophy. She was right there, too,