New York Giants: 15 G-Men who changed the game forever

Odell Beckham, New York Giants. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Odell Beckham, New York Giants. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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2 – Wellington Mara

I’ll say straight out that Wellington Mara was the best team owner in New York sports history. Say what you will about Jacob Rupert, George Steinbrenner, Nelson Doubleday, or Tex Rickard, none of them hold a candle to him.

“The Duke” as he was known (a play on the Duke of Wellington), has already been mentioned several times throughout this article. His philanthropy and generosity have been well documented. Although it would surprise no one that most of his good deeds will never be found out.

Mara started with the G-Men as a ball boy at age nine after his father bought the team in 1925. He was the definition of working your way up from the bottom. When Tim died in 1959, Wellington and his older brother Jack took full control of the Giants. It was then the junior Mara started to assert himself in league matters.

As one of the marquis NFL teams the Giants received a greater part of the league’s television contract. When it was time to renegotiate the TV deal during the ’60s Mara pushed for an equal revenue sharing model. He knew that if the other teams in the NFL couldn’t compete on an even financial footing, the league might collapse.

At a time when franchises weren’t valued in the billions, and owners didn’t have enough money to buy a country of their own, a new financial model was necessary. Without a strong franchise in Green Bay or St. Louis who would the New York Giants play? There would only be a handful of teams in major cities. It was the revenue sharing plan he championed that made the league into what it is today a $17B dollar annual business. The NFL is balanced financially both off and on the field.

If anyone needed proof how much Mara meant to the NFL, just look a the official game ball, it’s called “The Duke” after the Giants patriarch.