We perish because we know not… #TLENews
Ann Mara, the matriarch of one of pro football’s most prominent, respected families and a co-owner of the Giants, died early on Super Bowl Sunday. She was 85.
“She has been the leader of our family in every way, and we will miss her dearly,” John Mara, the team’s president and eldest of her 11 children with the late Wellington Mara, said in a statement issued by the Giants.
John said she had been hospitalized since the day after suffering a head injury in a fall on the ice outside her home in Rye on Jan. 18.
“After a few days, we were hopeful for her recovery, although we knew it would be a long road back,” John said. “Unfortunately, there were complications.
“She loved her family, and all of us were able to spend time with her in these final days. All 11 of her children and our spouses and numerous grandchildren were with her when she passed away.”
For decades, Ann Mara has been an influential and popular member of the NFL community, and her death on the morning of the league’s biggest game generated an outpouring of sympathy and fond memories on social media.
“I absolutely love this woman!” veteran safety Antrel Rolle wrote on Twitter. “She had a smile that would brighten anyone’s day. She was our fighter & backbone.”
Said commissioner Roger Goodell: “Mrs. Mara was a tower of strength, dignity and inspiration for her family and all of us in the NFL. Her family and the Giants organization have always reflected Mrs. Mara’s competitive spirit, integrity, and wonderful sense of humor.”
That sense of humor – and spunk – was on display in a moment that made her a folk hero for many Giants fans.
As Fox’s Terry Bradshaw attempted to interview receiver Victor Cruz after the NFC Championship Game three years ago, Mara confronted him on live national television, assailing him for never picking the Giants to win.
Three months later she was presented with an award from Fordham, Wellington’s alma mater, and said, “It’s wonderful to receive this award. The only sad thing is that Terry Bradshaw isn’t here to present it to me.”
Since the 2005 deaths of Wellington and his fellow co-owner Bob Tisch, Ann Mara and Tisch’s widow, Joan, have been the primary co-owners, something John and his mother referenced often.
After the 2013 season, John was asked whether his job was safe and said, “Not according to my mother, it’s not.”
In an interview with Newsday before last year’s Super Bowl, Ann said, “He might have been joking, but I wasn’t.”
She also said, “I still get as upset [as ever by losses]. I am talking to myself all night long. That’s where I miss my husband the most. I don’t have him to talk it over with – and blame.”
So why not blame John?
“He’s afraid to take my calls,” she said.
After another failed season in 2014, John was asked about his mother’s thoughts and said, “She is not very happy with me right now, believe me. She suffers through this probably even more so than I do. I am on notice as well.”
Now ownership of the Maras’ half of the team is expected to be divided among Ann’s children. John told Newsday several years ago that a plan for such a process was in place to keep the team in the family.
Born Ann Mumm on June 18, 1929, she met Wellington in 1952 and married him in 1954. In addition to her 11 children, she leaves 43 grandchildren, including actresses Rooney and Kate Mara, and 16 great-grandchildren.