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Wellington Mara

New York Giants
New York Giants co-owner Wellington Mara watches pre-game warmups on the sidelines before Dallas Cowboys win, 35 to 0, at The Meadowlands on September 4, 1995 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (AP Photo / Al Messerschmidt)

It is impossible to overstate the influence Wellington Mara had on the Giants and in the NFL. He was one of the most important and influential figures in the his-tory of professional football, a man credited with many of the ideas and innovations that have made the NFL the nation's most popular professional sports league. Mara is the most beloved and influential Giant in his-tory and one of the most significant figures not just in the NFL, but in American sports. He was a vital member of the franchise for each of its first 81 years until his death in 2005. Mara was instrumental in helping the Giants make 26 postseason appearances, including 18 divisional championships and six NFL championships, among them the Super Bowl XXI and Super Bowl XXV titles. Despite his ties to the team, Mara was recognized for always putting the league's interests ahead of what was best for the Giants. He was an invaluable contributor to the NFL as a member of many ownership committees. In 1997, Mara was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining his father, Tim Mara, as the first father-son duo elected to the Hall.